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Ruby Jones wearing Sunday Morning bum huggers

Ruby Jones

I wanted to create something that made people smile. I considered the time I feel happiest, which is often on a Sunday morning. In my head I imagined when you're going around the house, doing a bit of tidying, having some coffee, got some music on...

Meet the Artist Part 1: Ruby Jones

Portrait photo and video by Stephen Tilley Video edit by Tiny Knight


Meet the Artist Part 2 : How Ruby Jones is Great Full...

On following my passion… 

I come from a family of quite a lot of artists. Since I was a kid my favourite thing was drawing – I could do it for hours on end. 

I  went to Massey University’s College of Creative Arts for a semester but I didn’t enjoy it and dropped out and went back to Dunedin to study Occupational Therapy. I intended to do OT work after graduating but I started working in television, [and found being] surrounded by creative people was difficult to pull myself away from. Now, living in Wellington, I freelance as an illustrator and work three nights at a media company.

On my illustrative style…

I think I’ve developed a style without even really thinking about it. When I look back at my illustrations from when I was a kid, you can still see exactly the same sort of style as now... I have always just drawn people - nothing else has ever really interested me. And so there's just been a gradual development over 20 or so years.  

On how I approach my creative projects…

If I sit down and really try and think, "I have this idea, how will I make it work?" – it doesn't usually work so well. I do try and just wait for an idea to naturally come to me. And often it will. I might hear a line in a song or read something in a piece of writing and that might spark an idea for me. Or hear someone else's story. Often it will be other people's words that actually bring something to life for me.

On working through a creative block…

Music definitely helps. I try not to force anything and just immerse myself with other people's work, like music and films. Whenever I get stuck, I just completely try to stop even vaguely coming out with ideas and instead do a completely unrelated [activity] such as cooking or exercise - something just to take me away from the pressure. 

On being inspired…

So much of my work has come from music. When I go back through my work, there are phases that associate to what I was listening to at the time. For example, I loved using this deep blue for a few months, and that’s when I was really obsessed with Lorde's album, MelodramaBlonde by Frank Ocean has also been inspiring.  

On a favourite artist…

One book that has had the biggest impact on me is Just Kids by Patti Smith. I’m currently reading another book by her: Year of the Monkey. Her books are beautiful and she writes in a way where nothing else matters but that moment there and then which she's talking about.

On a discipline that propels me forward… 

I try to keep the same daily routine because my biggest fear is ending up just sleeping until midday. Obviously it's important to let yourself rest and I love doing that but I try to keep a pretty strict routine for myself. I know that I'm someone who can't work all through the night and I'm pretty much terrible after 8pm so the earlier I get started with things, the more productive I am. And then I treasure sleep-ins more when they’re not every day.