Art Showcase : Ruby Johnston

Meet Our Streets Now’s newest illustrator, Ruby Johnston. I asked her a few questions to know her better and understand the motivations behind her work. Read on for our chat!


Hi Ruby! It’s great to have you on the blogs team! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?


Hi Lily, thank you for having me! So I am currently a second year fashion student at Kingston School of Art. I am passionate about anything art and design and love going to a gallery with my friends when I can catch a break from my course.


Have you always been artistic? If so, when did you discover that this was a passion of yours?


I have. I know it is a bit of a cliche, and something most creative people say but it is true. As a child, being the first born, I always wanted my parents to play. My mum used to get out the ‘making box’, essentially the recycling, and I could sit there for hours building and creating things in my own little imaginative world. I also vividly remember writing in a diary that my dream job was to be a fashion designer.


Biggest inspiration in art & design?


It changes everyday. A lot inspires me. The most recent inspiration has been Seetal Solanki who is the author of Why Materials Matter and founder of Ma-tt-er. She has been a huge inspiration to me regarding my passion for sustainability. Studying fashion is something I often struggle with as the industry can be so damaging, and would love to develop my practice more towards the innovation of sustainable fabrics and materials to combat this.


What inspired you to work with OSN?


I have followed the work of Our Streets Now for some time now, much like many of the other volunteers. I really wanted to help contribute to the amazing work the team does and when the opportunity came up to be able to use my creative skills to help, I just went for it. I am so glad OSN took me on as it has been an amazing experience so far to be part of a team of such passionate young women. I have a lot of respect for them.

Talk me through the process of creating the art for the OSN’s article on inclusion of austistic girls in feminism.


So I like to start all my illustrations by reading what our lovely writers have written and doing some of my own research into the subject matter. In my research for this post, I learnt that a rainbow coloured infinity sign is the most widely accepted symbol for autism. I thought of the classic tumblr phase every young girl seemed to go through and the friendship infinity poses that flooded the internet. I wanted to recreate this image to reflect the inclusion of autistic girls that the text discusses.

How did you learn how to use these programmes?


I learnt how to use Adobe Illustrator last summer through my degree course. We were taught how to create spec packs digitally through a series of recorded lectures, as this was in the first lockdown. I have adapted these skills, teaching myself how to create my own creative illustrations. I got a lot of practice creating images for friends and family.



What is important for you to consider when making artwork?


It is important to me to consider the message I am trying to portray. When designing for Our Streets Now’s blog I want to make sure I reflect the author's intentions and that they are happy with what I have created. I feel that visual content is very important to reach the aims of an organisation so my work fulfills this purpose.


What do you love most about creating art?


I just love being creative and getting to express myself through something I enjoy. I love speaking through artwork and my artwork having a purpose. I want to be able to use my creativity for good whether that’s helping to end PSH or just making someone smile.


What are your plans for your art in the future, both with OSN and generally?


I hope to continue creating the visual content for the blog. The team has been so great in allowing me flexibility to create my designs around my studies, so it wouldn't make sense to end this collaboration. I have also just started a small business @reggiexgeorge with a friend where we will be selling locally sourced and made accessories in Kingston Upon Thames. Generally, I am still not certain on my career path, like most people my age, but love creating clothes and art, anything that can make people smile. But I definitely want to change the industry for the better, making it more inclusive, sustainable and just. I want to do something that makes a difference and grow old being confident that I have left my mark on the world.



aaand speed round to finish!


Cats or dogs?

Dogs (but don’t tell my family’s cats)


Ability to fly or read minds?

Fly for sure!


Travel back in time or to the future?

Back in time.



Thanks so much for chatting with me, Ruby! We can’t wait to see what’s to come.



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