This piece was very special to me at 7 feet by 5 feet the painting was dedicated to Ms. Ruby who passed away at the young age of 18 after a fight with cancer. An amazing woman that I was so fortunate to meet through the eyes of her family, friends and amazing community. The bookstore Couths Buzzards Books at 83rd and Greenwood in Seattle has placed this piece where her beautiful artwork was displayed the last two years. She was a talented photographer and chose to highlight the “shadows of cancer” and the daily life she led while going through treatment.
Above is the detailed poem that Theo wrote about crows and their symbolic value in this reality.
Ruby is represented in the painting as well as Ruby’s bass guitar, keyboards she played, the megalodon an extinct shark that is fierce and represents her power animal. There is also red feathers, a yellow brick road, and a beautiful and intricate poem inside of the tree that is a poem Ruby’s father Theo wrote. Theo is the reason the whole project took off as he would meet me weekly and tell me stories about Ruby and the life she had. I also learned of his travels and inspiration for creating a bookstore. It is so much more than that.
Below are a couple of different links about Ruby where you can see her artwork and hear from her community.
The Hidden Shadows of Cancer, Ruby’s Art and Childrens Hospital
King 5 Showcases the Legacy of Ruby
The piece has a lot of symbolic meanings as it shows who Ruby was and the community that continues to live out her spirit through open mics, jams, community gatherings such as Spanish club and books clubs. Its a place for the people of the neighborhood to have a cup of coffee, read a book, greet a neighbor or make a new friend. Its a special place with a special heart. Ruby’s mother, Kate ironically worked for Children’s Hospital for almost 25 years as a clown making children’s days as she ignited the hospital rooms with laughter and love.
I loved making this piece as it is the reason why I make artwork. I believe that the spirit of our loved ones can be relived, valued, remembered, and healed through making and viewing art. I believe that the images can make us alive again and remember that to die is not to die, but to live in the hearts that we leave behind. This piece hit home for me and I could not of been happier to leave Seattle on a high with the piece now permanently installed in the Bookstore. Be sure to check it out, say hello to Theo and Kate and get to know Ruby through my art.
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