Cover Artist: Ruby Thompson

By Ruby Thompson

If you’ve picked up an issue of this newspaper in the past four years, you have seen at least one thing that I’ve drawn. When I came to Evergreen, the Cooper Point Journal was just going back into print form after being solely web-based, and the editor-in-chief at the time was starting everything over from practically nothing. Right now I’m looking at my stack of newspapers, and I am amazed by how much the CPJ has changed, and how much my illustration and artwork has evolved.

My identity as an illustrator is separate from my identity as an artist. Illustration is problem-solving for me: I have this box, and within it I have to complement this article in an easy-to-understand and aesthetically pleasing way. It has never stopped being a challenge, which is a big part of why I have continued to do it.

In my own art practice I examine how we categorize things in all aspects of life—scientific taxonomy, subcultures, and personal spaces are just a few subjects within the larger whole. This is a subject that I have been passionate about going back to when I was a child, and was more concerned about properly naming and organizing toys than actually playing with them. It comes from my mother, who still has a large cardboard box full of paper people that she created as a teenager and can still remember their names. It also comes from my father, who keeps a spreadsheet of when different life events happened, going all the way back to his birth.

Both of these identities have grown tremendously over the past four years, and although they are separate, they inform each other and without one or the other my art-making process would be unrecognizable. I have just a few issues left to illustrate before I graduate, and I’m going to make them count.