Are you the type of person to romanticise the little things - a cosy evening chatting the night away over a glass of wine with a friend, or a morning coffee sat outside a cafe in your local neighbourhood? Well let us introduce the perfect artist for you. Ruby Hughes (or @sshepaints on Instagram), creates graphic, painterly artwork that celebrates life’s smaller moments.
Setting up her brand during the pandemic as a way to connect with others, she was overwhelmed by how much her work resonated. “I started sending them around and then noticed people were sending them to each other as well, as a way to say ‘I miss you’. From that, I realised how powerful art can be, or my art could be, and it grew from there,” Ruby tells us.
We sat down with Ruby to chat about her inspiration, what gets her through a day in the studio, and her favourite tipple.
Hi Ruby! Have you always been creative?
Yes I’d say so. I’m pretty dyslexic so my brain works in a different way. I have always loved making, painting, photographing - just creating things.
How did your brand begin?
I actually started it during lockdown. I wanted a way to connect with people so I started painting people drinking Aperol Spritz and sipping coffees. I started sending them around and then noticed other people were sending them to each other too - it all grew from there.
What inspires your work?
It’s often mundane everyday things - cups of tea, a morning chat, what you talk about with your girls when you’re sipping wine or a favourite recipe. There is so much beauty in everyday life and I hope my work highlights that. I also get super inspired when I travel - watching the locals having espressos in the morning, and generally just how people interact - I want to paint it all!
You paint a lot of food and drink motifs - what’s your signature dish and tipple of choice?
Love this question. I’d say a simple Pomodoro pasta is my staple. No fuss, just good quality tomatoes, cooking them slowly and that’s all you need, and maybe some sardines on the top. For a tipple I’d say wine is my favourite. A dry pale rose, or an Italian white.
How do you create your prints?
I draw them digitally on my iPad, which sounds super high tech, but it isn’t really. I’m awful with technology, but love this. Plus, it's quick, which I love. The initial idea is usually what takes a while, and thinking of the wording to go alongside the image. Then from there, I like to not think about it too much and go with the flow to create the final design.
What does a typical working day look like? Any albums or podcasts that get you through?
Lots of cups of tea, and walking the dog before heading to the studio is always a great calm way to start the day. I share a studio with my boyfriend currently, so we have lots of fun and we are always laughing. We help each other with our work too, which I feel really lucky to be able to do.
I’m obsessed with podcasts so I have to have something on in the background. I love Off Menu, Desert Island Discs - all the classics.
What’s been a real highlight for you since starting the brand?
I recently just sold out an event for a painting and wine evening - it felt very surreal that people would actually buy a ticket to spend an evening with me. But also, honestly, seeing photos of my work in people’s houses will never get old.
What’s up next for you?
Developing the brand - organising events, pasta, wine and painting evenings! I have a run of napkins and table runners coming out which is super exciting. I hope to keep building the community and adding different layers to it.
Follow Ruby at @ssshepaints, or visit her website.