July 23, 2013.
Next in the series of artist Q&A's is Ruby9.
One day during the run up to Art Basel Miami Beach 2012, I was walking around Wynwood. Camera in hand and just seeing what was going up. There were artists everywhere. I walked into the back of a fenced in parking lot. The ground was just dirt and rocks and the lot was strewn with trash and pallets and some small shipping containers that had been tagged. There were about a half dozen artists doing pieces there. From one end of the lot to the other is maybe fifty yards. As I am walking around behind a corner of the building that you can't quite see from the street is a striking young lady covered in paint with her hair up. I say hello, what is your name? I'm Ruby! came the reply. Startled would be a good description. I couldn't imagine there was someone painting in the corner of the warehouse let alone an attractive young woman. The questions were fast and furious. Who are you? I'm AK Foto. What camera is that? A Polaroid. Oh, take my picture! I couldn't refuse. So sit tight for a dose from the Great White North, Ruby9!
AK: What do you write? Are you in a crew?
R9: Hey! I write Ruby Nine! My birthday is July 9th so I picked Ruby after my birthstone. My best friend and I have our own crew called Les Graffilles because we are graffiti girls from Montreal, Canada!
AK: In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?
R9: I started painting in Montreal, Canada! I think I showed that girls can do letters just like the boys but I add Girly colors to prove I'm a girl. I also do girl characters that look like me but are more like the standard b-boy characters from New York with a more modern look! My goal is to portray today's fashion into graffiti. I think Montreal is similar to Europe but alot like New York so my style is an influence of both cities!
AK: Did you go to school or are you self taught?
R9: I went to fashion design school which gave me alot of time to sketch characters and practice my throw ups in textile class. I failed one class once because I never took notes I just drew! I think with graffiti it's just time and practice and once you have a good sketch, pow, you can throw it up!
AK: How did you get started in the arts and why?
R9: I started in boarding school. I had alot of energy and I felt like I wanted to do something and I was bored all my friends started drinking doing drugs I knew my life had more meaning then that so I asked my parents to send me to boarding school to figure out what I wanted to do. I had this cool art teacher that looked like Rob Williams and he told me I could draw any theme, so I picked graffiti! I fell in love with it never looked back! I sketched from 2006 to 2009 and I started painting in 2009!
AK: How long have you been working in the streets?
R9: I'm a 5th year. I'm from Canada so our seasons are very short 3 or 4 painting months... So 5 summers!
AK: Who or What inspires you the most?
R9: Fashion inspires me the most, real hip hop. Lil’ Kim inspires me alot! She’s a Cancer like me and shes a mix of street and high fashion. I kinda want to be the Lil’ Kim in the graff game. I really want to be a well rounded girl graff artist so I’d like to do pieces like Kem5 but with Girly colors. I would die to be at his level! Also he is constantly grinding and painting that's inspiring! I want my characters to be at the level of SOFLES in Australia! Throw ups like SEEN and ground ups like REVOK! I don't want to be known for doing one thing I want to be able to do many things and do them the best I can!
AK: What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?
R9: That were not in gangs and were just trying to bring light into your days and make the city prettier. I don't like tags on nice surfaces tags belong on Rugged walls and abandon stores that's alright but not homes and new buildings I'm with you guys on that one!
AK: Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?
R9: I'm a graphic designer for my boyfriend’s social media company and the site iget.it My boyfriend over pays me and buys all my paint. He really thinks it’s great that I dont smoke and drink and that I put my energy into something positive. Every artist girl needs to marry a business man that believes in her and is her biggest fan so that she only needs to work on her art and not worry about bills! He has to be cool though and love art not just a standard business guy, lol!
AK: What are you working on now?
R9: Wow, so much this month I’m doing a geisha on a Chinese restaurant backdoor! I’m painting a Iggy Azalea fashion illustration in an alley! Then going to New York to paint a mural for shake shack at tuff city styles. It’s so exciting I met one of the owners in an airport line up so he is sponsoring the mural! I also have to get 2 wild style pieces in. Wow, so much to do so little time!!! I'm going to Bahamas next week hoping to do some throw ups beside palm trees or ocean views!
AK: What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?
R9: Just to make people stop worrying about their problems and smile. Clean up the city a bit. I'd love to go to Nicaragua and clean up schools and maybe give hope to young kids to not go into drugs and gangs and take the artist journey cause it’s so beautiful and really more productive then destructive! I just want to help people forget about the bad that's going on in the world if I didn't have art in my life I'd be a raging environmentalist! Much love and stay up!
follow her on Instagram @Jasnine09