Ruth is an artist with a cult following, bringing a palpable love of color to her work. She uses playful color palettes and vivid combinations that jump off the canvas and really elevate the mood of the viewer Much of her work is inspired by nostalgic scenes based on vintage Kodachrome photographs. Her playful use of a synthetic palette paired with depictions of mid-century America have drawn comparisons to the pop movement of the 1960s. Ruth holds a degree in painting from the Glasgow School of Art, and her work has been exhibited across the US and Europe.
It’s no surprise that your work is so influenced by swimming and water, these are clearly passions of yours. Can you talk a bit about how you incorporate ocean/pool scenes in your works and why you are so drawn to this subject?
Firstly, I’ve always drawn/painted/ created from a young age. In a very hands on way.
I trained to paint, and although I use digital as part of my planning process, my final works are paintings. I guess you could call me an ‘old school painter’ – that is my main passion and I’ve been doing it forever!
I also love water, swimming, pools, places that are designed for fun and pleasure and escape. I work from home and my studio looks out across the sea. I frequently try and create ‘utopian visions’ or places of pleasure from my imagination, drawing upon that Victorian idea of holiday getaway, but I look to personal imagery too to create my compositions.
I recently did a bunch of work based on Hearst Castle and the pools up there, or the idea that Hearst had for this place of pleasure.
It was inspired by an old letter I found in the beach house in Santa Monica between the architect Julia Morgan and businessman William Hearst. It was the roaring 20’s and they were designing his weekend getaway as a hideaway for Hollywood’s rich and famous: he wanted a zoo, wonderland, animals, zebras, he had a landing strip etc., etc… it inspired some large paintings.
I use colour a lot in my work to emphasize ‘more is more’ – the wilder and brighter the better for me!
Your practice is primarily oil paint, is there a reason you like this medium over others?
I actually use a mix of acrylic and oil, so I map out in acrylic and build up. Oil gives great texture, the pigment lasts and doesn’t fade, and I guess this is the process I have developed. I use pure fluorescent pigment and when you see my work ‘in the flesh’, the paint and colour really does bounce over the canvas. Some of my favourite colours to work with are greens and light greens. In fact, this Van Gogh of Madame Roulin’s baby (they were friends when he lived in Arles) is one of my favourite paintings:
As someone with a more traditional practice, I’m curious to hear what creating these NFTs was like for you. First of all, why were you interested in being involved in the project?
I have a traditional practice, but my mindset is very growth oriented. I wanted to be involved because I just loved the idea of creating the avatars in an atmosphere of guidance and support from the community. I spoke with a lot of people about NFTs throughout the development of this project to learn more. I think that lack of knowledge can be scary for people. A lot of potential barriers were overcome.
Working within a timeframe and parameters in this kind of way was also really fun and exciting. It contributed to a new type of freedom, exploration and discovery. That has to be a good thing, right?
You had a multi-step process in creating your avatars. Can you elaborate on how you created them?
First, I mapped out digital plans in photoshop. Seven of the avatars were painted and photographed. From there, each painting was printed twice and I reworked all of the finishing touches on the prints by hand using hand cut stencils and spray paint.
Will you have physical works for sale as part of this project as well?
Yes, I will. The original pieces will be sold on Saatchi. They are great fun in their own right, they just take up more space.
Do you have any thoughts to share or advice for artists who are thinking about getting into NFTs for the first time?
Get involved! It’s a really exciting creative space, there are loads of interesting debates and discussions on you tube about NFTs and the art world – what’s stopping you?