Ruby McLeer

Where did your appreciation and passion for art begin? Who or what inspires you? Additionally, how do you hope to evolve your art and practice?

My passion for art really started ever since I was young enough to hold a crayon and scribble on a piece of paper. Growing up in Brooklyn, art is deeply rooted in the culture. It is also conveniently deeply-rooted in my family, with my dad being a quadruple threat with the arts and my mom being a graphic designer and video editor. Where I would like to take my art is a hard question to answer for the simple fact that I am still early in my artistic journey. But wherever I take it, I would like my art to stay true to myself.

What drew you into painting specifically? Beyond painting, is there another medium that you would be interested in exploring?

What drew me into painting was, like many artforms, that it captures the beauty in life. And most importantly it captures what the artist believes is beautiful. In painting, you can capture that in many different techniques and textures. But in a literal sense, what got me into painting was coming to my dad’s art studio and watching his process of painting a picture, abstract or graffiti. Soon after, I started to play around with the paints in his studio trying out new styles, and eventually, forming my own.

Whether it’s a chill up your spine or a quick flinch, the feeling that someone is constantly watching you when no one is there is something that many of us have felt at one point in our lives. Your work Tree Eyes (2023) illustrates this sentiment perfectly, using ringed patterns that are so often found naturally on trees and transforming them into eyes that pierce. What were the origins for this piece and were there any changes that you’ve encountered throughout the process of creating it?

Growing up as a city kid, living in populated places, obviously there's always people around. However, in the core of New York, nobody is really focused on you, watching you. Everyone is doing their own thing. But in nature it's quiet. It's too quiet. Quiet enough to hear your own heart beat. It's almost eerie, like someone’s watching you. I was thinking about this concept of the eeriness of nature, and my favorite trees: aspen trees. I began to sketch a charcoal study of these trees. A couple of them, with all different sinister uncanny elements until I eventually converted them to a painted format, which I named, “Tree Eyes”.

Court Tree Collective was the first time you’ve ever publicly exhibited and congratulations on your first sale! What were the emotions that you felt when you first heard this news and how did it feel to be the youngest artist in this exhibit? Moreover, how did it feel to have your friends and family come support you and your work on opening day?

It's truly been a privilege to have my art at Court Tree Collective gallery alongside other amazing artists. Everytime I go to Industry City, I pass by Court Tree Collective to admire the always breathtaking art displayed. If you told me a year ago that my art would be displayed there too and that I would be the youngest artist whose work was shown, I would have thought you were joking. When I found out that my art would be included in an art show, my jaw was on the floor. I was so unbelievably happy and thankful. I was ecstatic. However if I had to be honest, I was also nervous because I didn't know what people would think of my art. When so many friends and family showed up to see it, I was reminded that there was nothing to be worried about because no matter how it turned out, the people I love most were there to be by my side. A week later when I found out my art was sold, I was beyond surprised and honored that someone out there appreciated my art.

What are some goals or dreams that you hope to achieve, both artistically and personally?

The goals in my life will always change because as a human you're always changing and growing. And so are your plans and goals for the future. But as of right now, for my art, I would like to develop my own art style and build a portfolio. I would also like to dabble in other art mediums. Another thing I would like to do is get myself out there more and step outside of my comfort zone, artistically and personally. Another personal goal is to work on my cooking skills and hopefully in the future start cooking for other people besides my family. Skateboarding is something I am passionate about, so I am learning new tricks day by day. Deeper into my personal goals, I would like to really get myself known and noticed because I want to leave an impact.

Last great piece of media (show/book/movie/music/etc.)?

A piece of media that I really enjoy is the band The Smiths. I like The Smiths because of their music style and I like that it has heart. When I hear music by The Smiths, chills engulf my body. I also like how catchy their music is, but they also still manage to put full emotion into their music. Everything from the lead singer's voice, to the lyrics, to the drums, to the guitar-- it's all amazing. A particular song I like is “This Charming Man” because of how beautiful the singer's voice is and how the background guitar really puts the song together. It's majestic to put it in words. I really love The Smiths.

Click Here ︎ to see Ruby’s work.

Interview by Tiffany Kang.

Court Tree Collective was established in 2013 by a group of artists and creatives with the primary purpose of representing and supporting the work of emerging and established contemporary artists. Since its opening Court Tree Collective has been a staple to south Brooklyn’s emerging art scene and in a short time has exhibited a number of important exhibitions. In addition they have curated a number of exhibitions at satellite locations throughout the states and abroad.

We are a family-run art gallery specializing in emerging artists to offer a unique and intimate experience for art enthusiasts. Court Tree Collective showcases outsider art, which often defies traditional artistic conventions, alongside works by up-and-coming artists to add depth and diversity to the gallery's offerings. Visitors can expect to encounter raw, authentic expressions of creativity that challenge perceptions and ignite curiosity. By nurturing rising talent and championing unconventional voices, the gallery plays a vital role in fostering a vibrant and inclusive art community.

Our gallery is curated by artists for artists, which fosters a dynamic and supportive environment where creative visionaries can thrive. With firsthand understanding of the artistic process, the curators can showcase works that resonate deeply with both artists and audiences. This curated space celebrates diversity, innovation, and experimentation; it provides a platform for emerging and established artists to connect, collaborate, and showcase their talents. By upholding a community-driven approach to curation, the gallery becomes a vibrant hub for inspiration, dialogue, and artistic exchange.︎



Industry City
51 35th Street,
BLD #5
2nd FL, Suite B236
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Mailing Address

Court Tree Collective
728 41st Street #1F
Brooklyn, NY 11232



Gallery Hours

Thurs - Sat 12 - 6pm
Sun 12 - 5pm
*and by appointment

The 36 St subway station {D, N, R, trains} is the nearest one to Industry City in Brooklyn

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