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Ruby Hahn on Being an Abstract Artist


Article by Megan Fetters

Photography by Megan Fetters Creative

There are many questions that arise as we step into the mind of an abstract artist to discover what goes into the creative process behind contemporary piece of art. Ruby Hahn shares her secrets behind what makes a successful abstract artist in Billings, Montana, a city heavily based in Western art.

Ruby Hahn, born and raised in Billings, Montana, has always lived a life revolved around art.

“Ever since I can remember, I was always really into art. My answer to, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' was unfailingly 'an artist.' My parents have always had an eclectic collection of art, which, at a young age, I was always intrigued by. Growing up, childhood rooms were covered in doodles and murals."

Summer art camps were a regular part of Ruby’s life, and art classes were always the best part of her day. Ruby began developing her own distinct style in late high school, where her art pieces heavily relied upon working with colors. Color began to flood into every perception of the world around her, inspired by natural elements such as oceans, mountains and rocks. Creating Pantones—where she directly drew colors from her images to seek inspiration through nature, personality and specific spaces—tied together every artistic concept she employed and shaped her artistic career, where she develops colorful, minimalist and vibrant abstract art.  

Abstract is a word few people know how to visualize, discuss and understand, especially through the eyes of an artist. Ruby shares what the word abstract means to her.

“Diving into the idea of abstraction in college was where everything started to make sense."

Ruby's base of knowledge of art and abstraction truly began with her studies at Montana State University – Billings.

"I studied every corner of art—cultures, history, theories and techniques—practicing them day in and day out. Everything I knew about art started to tie every artistic concept together and evolved as the minutes passed by. To truly understand the word abstract is to know every corner of art itself."

Ruby’s artistic career is always revolving around contemporary art. Artists such as Mitch Govel and Emma Linsdrom have been unique inspirations to Ruby's abstract art. In her artist statements, Ruby discusses the little things that come together, rearrange and reassemble to give us the awareness of the vast. (You can find Ruby’s entire artist statement on her website.)

“I like to think of my abstract painting as a series of little details that come together to form a whole art piece. I achieve these details by using mixed media to create reactions within. I want the viewer to look closely, notice the details, and step back to understand the whole. It really is a lot more than just abstract paint pours. Each move is made with intention. I use my understanding of color theory to decide what goes where. My creative mind takes over, and I decide on specific color choices based on my vision of the piece."

Ruby believes that pursuing your passion as a career will always come with both challenges and successes.

"Overall, my successes have far outweighed my challenges. I have been involved in many fundraisers, benefits and exhibitions within the community. The best feeling in the world is when I hear people talk about how much they appreciate my art. It truly outweighs any challenges of being an abstract artist."

As Ruby unravels her mind as an abstract artist, her personality shines through.

"I really like to travel and explore, and I believe that is evident in my pieces. After I spent some time in Sedona, I noticed I would gravitate toward sienna, red, brown and golds. After being in Hawaii, I used a lot of lush blues and greens. I pick up on Pantones that I was discussing earlier in the interview everywhere I look. I also think my pieces are influenced by what music I am listening to at the time. I have a very diverse music collection ranging from Tame Impala to Migos. My personality is portrayed through my pieces because my soul is poured into every piece of art I have ever created.

"Abstract art to me is ever-evolving and is different to every set of eyes that lays on it. Digging into my mind is digging into the original perspective of my art, but I know that each viewer sees my art differently through their own knowledge and experiences, and that's the pure beauty of abstract art."

Check out Ruby Hahn's art on her website, Instagram and on Facebook.

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