“The form, line, and content, whether in stillness or in motion, is intended to reflect with beauty and grace a state of perfect harmony, so that perhaps — even for a moment — you may awaken to the wonder of Being. Art is an alchemical processing of Life! My work is a visual–emotional record of a journey into the human spirit and its archetypes.”Ruby Lee
Ruby’s ethnic background is a diverse and cosmopolitan one — Chinese, Austrian, Japanese, American and British.
Her father was the son of an Austrian beauty and Chinese magician who created a sensation in Vienna when they were married there in 1908. Her mother from whom she inherited much of her drawing skills, was born in Shang’hai and raised in Japan, the offspring of a Japanese–American businessman and his Japanese–English wife.
Ruby’s paternal grandfather was Long Tack Sam, a Vaudeville star of the 1920’s and 1930’s, who shared the distinction with Houdini and Blackstone of being the only magic act to sell out New York’s Palace Theater for six consecutive weeks. Long Tack Sam’s trick of producing a bowl of goldfish after turning a somersault is still remembered as one of the stellar performances in the field of magic.
Ruby Lee was born in Hong Kong in 1948. With her family she migrated by sea from Japan via IndoChina, India, through the Suez canal, and across the Mediterranean to Marseilles; then by land across Spain and Portugal, Germany and Belgium. She began her formal schooling in England where, upon completing an Advance-Level education in 1967, she was awarded a scholarship to St. Martin’s School of Art in London.
In the company of bohemian poets, musicians and artists she took to the road with her sketchbook in hand; passing through Greece and Rome on her way to Nepal, she was psychedelicized in Jerusalem and her course was redirected to the United States. She arrived in New York City in 1969, and made her way to Northern California, where she “dropped into the counterculture of communes, tipis, rock music and the resurgence of interest in Native American ways and values. From the exposure to American Indian themes she drew the imagery which still impregnates her work.” — Elizabeth Whitney.
It was 1972 in San Francisco that she met the artist Popo, who became her mentor and was instrumental in the disciplining of her talents.
Between 1994 and 1997 she collaborated with Dmitri Stroganov in the creation of twenty canvases based on the Mayan glyphs that are inscribed in the pyramid at Palenque. These glyphs were interpreted and color coded in red, blue, white, and yellow by José Argúelles and are known as the “Twenty Solar Seals”.
Today, Ruby Lee focuses on expressing an exalted state of consciousness through sculpture.