Emerging Artist QA | Ruben

A message for the generation above me is that we need to protect the younger generation of queer youth

Tell us a bit about you…

Im Ruben, a seventeen your old trans artist from Carlisle. I currently work digitally with character and sticker design mostly. although I also do traditional mixed media in a range of styles. Currently I am interning with Queer Cumbria and we are working on a portfolio of work to approach children’s book publishers.

How old were you when you discovered your love of art?

I discovered my love for art at the age of 2 according to my mum. I just non stop drew as a child. I think growing up with a mum who is also an artist definitely helped my skills. But I really started to take off with my work when I was 11 or 12 , as I would just draw every day as like a coping mechanism. 

Does your queer identity impact your approach to art?

l think that my queer identity infuses with my approach to art, for example my motivation or my inspiration come from a lot of LGBTQ+ spaces. Everything I do with art is probably approached with a queer lens. My work might not be “explicitly” queer but my life experiences as a queer person is a part of who I am and therefore part of what I create. 

Do you think creativity and queerness are interlinked?

Definitely, queerness and creativity can go hand in hand. Being queer is creative, even if you’re not producing traditional art. Creativity can be also seen as writing, theatre and more, this is all a form of art and creativeness which allows a safe haven for a place to be heard and seen. 

Is Cumbria a supportive place for queer artists?

Yes and no. Unfortunately Cumbria being mostly traditional can be a negative for queer people. I think a lot of queer people in Cumbria don’t know about the limited experiences or spaces that are available. But when you find these spaces, it can be truly magical and amazing. 

What would you like to see more of as a young artist in Cumbria?

I would love to see more events for queer people in general, especially for queer young artists.

What is your dream job or project?

My dream job, is a producer of some sort. I would love to have my work put into the media as like a show or a movie as I have a personal fictional story that I’ve been working on for 6 almost 7 years. It’s unrealistic, but I think creating a comic is the best start as writing isn’t my strongest. 
I would also love to work with queer youth with art alongside illustrating. 

Time travel! Back or forward and why?

If I could go to the past, it’s personal to me, but I’d like to speak to my nana to tell her all my achievements with my art. She was my biggest supporter and I want to make her proud even if she’s not here anymore. Like my art was only the beginning when she was around, I can only imagine how happy she’d be now! 

We bet your nana would be amazingly proud of you! What would your message be to the generation before you?

A message for the generation above me is that we need to protect the younger generation of queer youth. I think the older generations voices and stories really matter right now as it becomes more scary to exist with the current state of the world.

And the next generation to come?

A message for the next generation, is to not give up fighting for your rights or your creativity .There will always be resources and spaces available no matter what. Be proud of yourself and your work. 

What message do you need to tell yourself right now?

A message to myself would be, try and look after yourself more. The future is far off but it shouldn’t scare you right this second, just enjoy life and enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you want with your work. 

An end note to give the reader?

Love yourself, it’ll be okay, and don’t give up fighting.

All Art @defective_model