RUBY MAGAZINE & GALLERY
Irana Douer is an Argentinian artist based in Buenos Aires. Since 2005, Irana has been running Ruby Mag, a magazine featuring the work of artists from different countries, which led her to the publication of the Ruby Book by Gestalten in 2011. Recently, she has also translated the magazine concept into a gallery and shop space where she curates the work of like-minded artists and designers.
Photographer and Irana’s friend Mariana Pacho López paid her a visit at the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Colegiales to document her space.
Photos by Mariana Pacho López
Tell us about Ruby, how did it all start?
Ruby started as an online publication in December of 2005. I put together around 8 artists from different countries in a monthly edition and every once in a while, whenever I could afford it, I would do some printed publications to document all the artists that had appeared in the magazine.
In 2011 I had the good fortune of editing a book with Gestalten publishing house from Germany and had it printed. It featured 65 of the over 500 artists that had appeared in Ruby until then. We launched the book at Malba museum, which was really important to me because of the magnitude of the place and the personal value of the book. And then I presented my project to participate in arteBA, which is the biggest art fair in Argentina and I got selected. That was exciting too since I didn’t have a physical place, but the jury thought the project was interesting and let me had a stand in barrio Joven, which is the young galleries area. I didn’t think of Ruby as a gallery then but I had to select which artists I wanted to take and represent and it became a very interesting experience.
After that, I planned the opening of a place for art shows which would also include a small store with things done by artists. Most artists, at least young ones, do not live from just selling their pieces so they do other things and they can bring them to Ruby. I’m a big fan of the arts and crafts idea and that is what I tried to do.
What do you enjoy about running your own gallery space?
I’m actually learning about it, I don’t know much but I really enjoy getting to know artists whose work I love and having my own space to show and do whatever I want. It is a lot of work and sometimes it frustrates me too. It’s a big mix of emotions.
What did you like the most about creating the Ruby Book?
I enjoyed making a selection of what I thought was the best of all the Ruby issues. Every time I see the book I’m proud of it and still love what I selected so that makes me happy. Your taste in art can change throughout the years and what you liked a few years ago you might not like now and so on, although I’m very proud of what the book represents.
Also, I did all the editing, curation and contacted the artists, which was all really great. Learning to use Adobe InDesign and all the software to put it together was also an incredible part of the process. Proving myself I could do something new and awesome. It was a big effort, a lot of work but very satisfying.
What are some of your inspirations? What other artists do you admire?
To me, inspiration comes from everywhere – it could be something I saw, experienced, read, whatever. I’m very visual so most of the times it comes from something I see and then I kind of day dream about it or transform it in my head.
Tell us a little more about the girls in your drawings.
The girls in my drawings are mostly myself. I tend to illustrate interests, dreams, things that happened to me or that are in my head. I usually say my drawings are some sort of an illustrated diary.
What does Buenos Aires offer you as an artist?
I don’t know, I guess it is the same in every city, I don’t think there’s anything in particular that is outstanding for an artist here. The only thing I do appreciate from Buenos Aires is that it has a lot of talented people and artists that get to do amazing things with so little. People always manage to achieve their projects no matter what, if we consider we do not have the same facilities as first world countries have.
Recommend us a few places we shouldn’t miss when visiting Buenos Aires
Besides all the touristy places and neighbourhoods, I think you should contact someone from here and just ride your bike or walk around the less known areas. Come and visit Ruby too, Colegiales is a beautiful place with nice cafés, houses and it’s also very calm.
Also, if I were you, and if you have time, I would go to every traditional pizza place and eat their special pizza. There are tons of awesome places. Also have ice cream. I think Argentinian ice cream is the best.
But what I would really recommend is to find some locals and ask them to show you around their favourite places. Buenos Aires is huge and each neighbourhood has something really cool to offer.
Go to all the small galleries and stores. Go to a house party. Go to a show.