Get to Know: Ruth Speer!
We sat down with Ruth to discuss topics such as her first artistic memories, how she spends her days in the studio and the thoughts behind her release with us, "Magic Always has a Price," plus more below:
Could you tell us where you're from and where you are now?
I was born in England but have lived on both the east and west coasts for most of my life! Oregon is my home now, and I love it.
What are your first artistic memories?
Drawing with my mom and sisters - I was drawing all the time!
Did you go to school for art?
I'm currently a junior, getting my BA in painting with an art history minor.
Do your subjects in each of your paintings share a world, or is each piece its own universe?
I've never thought about that! I suppose they could all exist in the same world, but each one is meant to be looked at as a separate story within that world.
Could you tell us a bit about your release with us, "Magic Always has a Price?"
"Magic Always Has a Price" is a step in a new, intentional direction I'm taking with portraits - storytelling is really important to me, and I want to make sure that each woman I paint clearly has her own story going on, rather than being a ornamental figure. I could talk at length about this, but the female subject and her history as a decoration is something I don't want to continue. So in this piece I wanted to invite curiosity as to what's going on - why is she holding a mask? Why the scarred armor? What are the ruins? I love the explanations people have come up with about it!
What's a typical day in the studio like for you?
I usually have classes morning until afternoon Monday through Friday, so evenings and weekends are my studio hours. A Saturday that I've kept clear for working in is like the best gift - I look forward to it all week! I'll usually get up, have breakfast and make coffee, straighten up my work space, and spend some time just looking at what I'm working on and figuring out next steps before starting to paint or sketch. I'm working on a lot of different projects at the moment, and it's nice to switch off every few hours between oil painting on a big piece, watercolor on a smaller piece, and planning/admin/social media bits. If I'm uninspired I love watching artists like Minnie Small, Fran Meneses and Sha'an d'Anthes who share their processes on Youtube - somehow listening to other creative women talk about their work gets me excited to make like nothing else!
What's your favorite part of your creative process?
The absolute magic bubble of painting time when I'm alone, have a full cup of coffee, can blast whatever weird music I feel like, and somehow just glide through the process. This takes a lot of other factors to happen, though - a few hours of work to get in the rhythm, an empty day, an empty studio, peace in my mind, all my homework done - so it's usually a lot more hiccup-y, which I still love.
When you're not painting or creating, what do you like to get up to?
A lot of my other time is spent in classes or doing homework at the moment, but outside of school and creating I love being outside, book stores, thrifting, spending time with my friends and family, and finding new historical dramas and fantasy to read and watch.
What's a book everyone should read?
The book they loved most as a kid. And then figure out why it stuck with them!
Any words of advice for our readers?
I feel like the biggest thing I've figured out so far about being an artist (and a person), at the ripe old age of 21, is just that: Figuring stuff out. If you want to do something, you can't stop and look at the space between you and where you want to be and immediately focus on how it's too complicated and you don't know how. The gumption part is what leads to everything else, whether it's learning a new medium, working through a painting, starting an online store, marketing, shipping, taxes, everything that's scary to think about because the "how-to" box of it in your brain is empty. Not all at once, and with kindness and grace for yourself! But it's so worth it!
"Magic Always Has A Price" (Above) will be released Thursday, April 12th at 1PM PST in our shop.