Darling NYC native, Ruby Redstone, now studying art history at St. Andrews in Scotland, opens up to Somegirls about living abroad, the path towards becoming an artist and the amalgamation of art influences that has helped define her as a creative.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEY PISACANE | @BOYUOMO
YOUR ART IS STIMULATING AND UNCONVENTIONAL — WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO BE ARTISTICALLY BOLD?
Thank you!! I feel like I'm still figuring out the specifics of my style as an artist, but my study of contemporary Japanese art is the singular unifying thread in my work--Takashi Murakami, Toshio Saeki, Yoshitomo Nara, Aya Takano, Mr., and I could go on...Pretty much everything I do has some sort of Japanese superflat influence in it, and I try to play a lot with the idea of ero guro, which is the mixing of eroticism and violence. Of course, I'm an outsider to all of this, so I feel like I play with that idea quite a bit as well.
What made you want to pursue an education in the arts?
I was just talking with my mom last night about how when I was six or seven years old, my art teacher called my parents in for a meeting to show them that I had made a crayon copy of da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. My parents thought it was the funniest thing ever. I was in trouble for drawing a penis at school, but it was only because I was trying to copy a Renaissance master. It still makes me laugh--I wish I could find the drawing. So, in a sense, I've always loved art history. For a long time I thought I would work in fashion. I was a shoe design intern at Marc Jacobs all throughout high school, and I spent a ton of time working for various photographers and at Opening Ceremony. Eventually I realized that I cared way more about the inspiration behind the clothing or the images I was helping to make than the actual finished products--I took a sort of backwards path into the bigger picture of art history.
I actually got offered a spot at a school in London to study Fashion Illustration, and I turned it down. Illustration has always been one of my greatest joys, but I'm also secretly super fucking nerdy. I wasn't ready to give up that side of myself, and I'm so glad I didn't. I think there is a terrible trend these days of kids going to art school because they think it'll be cool, and they end up accidentally knocking off other artists and pitching the ideas as their own. Becoming an artist takes an immense amount of dedication and commitment, just like anything else. Before you start, you have to have a reverence and respect for art and understand the rich history of this human tradition that has come before you!
How has living in a different country impacted you as a creative?
One of my old bosses told me that it's good to live in the suburbs sometimes because it gives your ideas room to grow. I feel like that's definitely true here in rural Scotland. Maybe it's not even so much about room but about having an abundance of time. Here I can sit down and paint for five hours straight or spend an entire day at the library, which would absolutely never happen at home.
At the same time, I'm super connected to New York, and I get homesick a lot. I end up putting little love letters to New York in my drawings. It's cliché, but there really is no other place with the same energy and the same drive to be constantly creating and renewing. I do think being away from the city makes me appreciate it more, so when I'm in Scotland I try to turn the energy that I'm usually devoting outwards to the city inwards, to push myself to focus and produce good work
WE LOVE THAT YOU CHRONICLE YOUR MUSEUM VISITS VIA INSTAGRAM — YOU'VE SEEN SOME AMAZING ART! DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE/ONE YOU RECOMMEND GOING TO?
I joke about it a lot, but I really do try to use social media to share my passion for art history. I want to get people talking about non-white, non-male, and otherwise unconventional artists, and I love pointing out little details and pieces that people usually overlook at museums.
The Met Breuer has put on two absolutely incredible shows since it opened. The Kerry James Marshall show that just closed there was easily the best show I have seen in recent memory. In terms of curation, I love the Brooklyn Museum. They're doing so much experimental work to change the way works get categorised and displayed in a museum--go check out 'Infinite Blue' there right now to see it in action. I went on a bit of a pilgrimage this summer to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas which was awesome. It's a haven of all this groundbreaking American art in the middle of the woods in Arkansas. The collection is truly spectacular, and I'd say half of what was on display was by female artists and artists of colour, which felt so important in this very conservative area of the country. My favourite museum in the world is probably Galleria Borghese in Rome. My best friend/roommate and I had to walk through most of it twice because we were crying too much the first time to properly look at everything. It's indescribably beautiful.
IS THERE ANY ONE PERIOD OR MOVEMENT IN ART THAT MOST COMPELS YOU?
As I mentioned before, I'm working on a dissertation in contemporary Japanese art. In a lot of ways, Japan is experiencing a rebirth of Pop Art and producing work that is so profoundly new. I'm really interested in how this is changing the traditional East/West dichotomy that we tend to use in art history, and I really want to bring recognition to more East Asian art in contemporary art discourse. But I think I'd need a second interview to talk about all this... ;P