board meeting: ruby sgueglia

Ruby Sgueglia is a Hudson Valley based multimedia artist and illustrator who received their BFA from Parsons School of Design and is now pursuing their MSW. They hope to develop a personal and professional practice that uses an emphasis on the bodily nature of emotion to help people discover new avenues of communication and begin to repair the spiritual and physical wounds caused by a societal obsession with mind/body duality. Having lived along the Hudson River their entire life, Ruby has a deep bond with the land and the wilderness that is strengthened and showcased in much of their work.

Do you feel like being an artist has defined you as a person with passion?

I think to say that my passion comes from my being an artist implies that I have a lot more agency over my drive to create than I actually do. I’ve always said about being an artist that I am one because I just literally cannot help it. It is just what I do, you know? Where my passion lies is really in the way I feel about art that is outside of me, the potential for feeling and communication and documentation within art. I love to talk about it and read about it and surround myself with it. Which isn’t to say that I don’t also love being an artist and making my work because I absolutely do but my passion for art is something I have to nurture and always work towards whereas my identity as an artist comes from a place that is outside of my conscious mind and desires a lot of the time.

At what age did you know that you were in fact an artist?

When I was very young my parents nurtured this identity. It was really important to them that I didn’t let go of my love for making and I felt like a real, actual artist in my earliest memories up until I was a teenager and I stopped feeling so sure that that was what I was. It took me a long time, maybe a year into my BFA to allow myself to take up that title again.

Where do you derive your inspiration from?

I owe a lot to the landscapes of the Hudson Valley, the colors of nature here and the meanings I have attached to the Hudson River as I have grown up besides it and continue to do so. The thing that really motivates me to begin to make a new piece is other artists and their work. Nothing is more exciting to me than getting a peek of someone else’s process.

Describe the feeling of not knowing what next to create, and you're process to break through the block?

I am really at the mercy of my subconscious when it comes to creating. If my brain is telling me that now is not the time to make work, I really just have to wait it out until it’s time to put something on a page again! Thankfully I don’t have this blockage issue when I am working with a client because I will always have a prompt when working on commissions but when it comes to the work I make for myself I almost never know what is going to come out - I just put my hand on the paper and I let my subconscious guide me.

When do you hold on to your vision and when do you compromise your vision to work with others?

I feel like it is such a gift to work in the field of visual communication, there is so much you can say and do with an illustration or a sculpture or a quilt that you can’t say or do with words (and vice versa) and really when it comes down to it my professional vision is to help people bring their ideas to that visual space and I enjoy being almost like a conduit in that way, which is all a very long way to say that I almost never find myself making compromises when I work with others.

What is the view outside your window?

Right now the view outside of my window is a ground level view of my yard and the woods behind my home.

What is the best food combination possible?

Apples and peanut butter. No question.

What trend would bring back to life?

Low rise jeans. And bootcut jeans. All late 90’s denim styles. I am very passionate about bootcut jeans.

What are you most proud of?

This one has stumped me a little bit. I think I am the most proud of my artistic evolution. There isn’t one piece in isolation that I think is my most amazing work. It’s really just the sheer length and quantity of my body of work and my limitless desire to be a maker that I am proud of! A lot of what I make is a little bit crap but I get joy out of making it anyways.

Is success in the process or in the result?

It’s crazy how much of your mind and body are involved in the art making process. The way that ideas can flow in your mind and through your body and then become physically, visually articulated and that creates this beautiful full circle connection is just so amazing to me. The final product is always going to be a stagnant thing - at least in the world of illustration - and the viewer / artist is the changing thing so after a while the way one feels about a piece is bound to change and often that change is one that goes from pride to ambivalence but the moments of making are so rewarding and fleeting and for that reason they can’t be spoiled, and that’s where I really feel success and pride.

shop her board here | follow her work here