Chay Ruby

Chay Ruby, artist

I graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. Currently working and living near Seattle, WA. First and foremost, art has always been my coping mechanism. It is the way I filter the world. My work explores the human condition in its most raw and emotional state. With a delicate balance of enticing color and traumatic imagery, I seek to inspire empathy and critical introspection. My modus operandi is “stay ugly” because in “ugliness” we abandon pretense and are thereby the most honest. When we stop being concerned with beautiful things, we start to see the uncomfortable truth in everything. Once we really see truth we can start to heal.  

Alcoholism

BLESS LIQUOR FOR KEEPING THIS FAMILY TOGETHER"

These monsters we hide. We hoard them in the dark, out of sight. Fearful that our scars might show, and might define us. Isn't it crazy? The way we fill up these little poisoned wells. You can tell which families are held together by this darkness. Split apart and held together all the same. The way you have to cling together in a storm. Except this storm stumbles and crashes through the house, stammering, yelling, and sobbing. You brace into each other, hoping the demon won't have the guts to show its face to a team. Sometimes this works. It's too bad really, that our vices tend to affect everyone around us. Like ripples and eventually waves. When the alcohol functioned as medicine.This vice held us together when it soothed and sang to us. This vice tore us apart when addiction clawed at our minds. We loved, despite. The dark would not conquer us.

Depression/Mental Health

"I'M SORRY I CRIED AT YOU"
Having to wear a medicated mask, being told the way you feel is unnatural, in need of medication. Having to apologize for feeling sad. The guilt of being a burden, of needing the crutch of medication. The stigma that mental illness isn't a "valid" illness, and that one should just "cheer up". Faking a smile so people think the drugs are working. The fear of being discovered as not actually being cured. This is both a personal experience and a commentary on America's attitude towards mental health. We live in a a society that is more likely to put you on a pill and forget you, than actually help you work through your problems and address the root of the problem. 

Sexuality

"I'LL BE WHATEVER YOU WANT, AS LONG AS IT'S NOT ME"
"WEARING BRUISES"
Having a sexuality that is "other" in a world that has historically ostracized those who would express their sexuality freely. Creating a fake identity to hide behind in order to fit in. Having to hide who you are for most of your developing years creates this dichotomy between the face you present to the world, and who you wish you could be. I'd also like to explore the raw danger of being LGBTQ even today. The risk of being "out" in Russia, for instance, is very dangerous. Men and women are routinely wearing bruises or (far) worse, for being themselves. These two pieces would explore the contrast of expressing one's sexuality while at risk of violence in our world. To be vulnerable enough to find love, but protected enough to not throw yourself into harms' way. 

Politics

"WE ALREADY BUILT THE WALL"
In our current political climate many people are wearing masks while the system has been corrupted and decimated. Acting like things aren't as bad as they are, we cry "fake news" when we don't want to see it, or accept it. We can't keep acting like this is fine. We have become too comfortable to protest while the world burns around us. The corruption happens so far from most of our daily lives that we feel unaffected by the changes because we've lost sight of the bigger picture. People don't realize the wall was already built. We've surrounded ourselves with them. 

Being "Other"

No matter how we may feel different, we often try to hide it. The paranoia of being discovered as "other" leaves many people hiding their true selves. In this way we're all wearing masks, too afraid to be vulnerable with each other. This is a theme that creeps into almost all of my work.