Monday, October 24, 2016

Canvas 10.24.16



Someday Your Pain Might Be A Meme (and Maybe That's Okay)

If you're a frequent purveyor of internet memes and shareable Content™, you've probably encountered work by Rubyetc. She's most famous for her pieces featuring her cartoon self, pictured below.

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Rubyetc, aka Ruby Elliot, a 22-year-old London-based artist has amassed close to a quarter of a million Tumblr followers in recent years, and has a book coming out this November. I first came into contact with her work a few years ago through her light, purely comedic pieces. 

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Most of her famous pieces are drawn in the above style: sort of scratchy and sketchy, rough around the edges. It works very well for the character and the tone she's going for, but it's not all she can do. She has a series of 'Line Drawings' predominantly of animals (many of them sleeping).

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My favorite pieces, however, are from her "Visual Diary" series. They're very personal and revealing, as well as visually dynamic. 

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These pieces resonate with me for a variety of reasons. Partially I like the Visual Diaries for purely aesthetic purposes: I like the layering, the colors, the striking nature of the works--almost an assault of color and pattern, I like that it feels like something I haven't seen before; but I also like the feeling I get looking at these pieces. Maybe like isn't the proper word, but there's an intensity to these pieces that draws me in.  I feel like I can connect with the artist, and understand to some extent what she was going through for some moment in time. 

Intensity in her work isn't something that frightens Elliot; she has been very frank when it comes to mental illness, even in her comics. 

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Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Elliot began her blog as way to express her feelings of anxiety and depression. Interestingly, it is precisely this aspect of her work that seems to have skyrocketed her into fame. Across the internet, many have found solace in Elliot's artwork. "I’ve never seen it as my prerogative to be an activist about this stuff, but it’s a part of my experience so I explore it visually," said Elliot in an interview with Moist Magazine "I didn’t realise it was going to resonate with so many people! I’m really glad when people tell me that it’s helped validate their own experiences or feel less alone. That’s a really positive thing to have come out of quite a dark place."

And resonate it has. Elliot's first book It's All Absolutely Fine: Life is Complicated, So I've Drawn it Instead was sold at auction to Orion Publishing and is set to release in the UK later this year. I'm excited to get my hands on a copy when it's released stateside in January (pre-order here). Until then, I'll satiate myself with Elliot's blog and her drawings of Magical Edith. 

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-r.d.



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