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Conversations with James Ruby

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Ruby. 

Hi James, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After receiving an enthusiastic reaction to a painting, I completed in 2010 of my beloved dog, Smooch, I decided to use my canvases to further explore the bond we share with our loyal four-legged friends, not realizing I was launching a business that would continue to grow organically every year. After twelve years and more than 500 portraits that hang in private collections around the world, I’m grateful to have always had a waiting list and a growing, loyal and supportive following. 

I’m also fortunate to have received the never-ending support of family and friends and hundreds of clients that have entrusted me with multiple portraits, including a wonderful family that has honored me with commissioning more than twenty portraits. My clients are the best people and many have become great friends. 

I have also been lucky to have had rewarding partnerships with galleries and media exposure that has been invaluable. 

As I continue exploring the loyal friendships we cherish with our dogs, I’m fortunate to begin each morning motivated to get to work with my little buddy, Newburgh napping by my side, dependably alerting me when it’s time to put down the brushes and go on our daily walks through the nearby park. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As with any business start-up, I have certainly faced obstacles. After successfully navigating the early financial and organizational challenges of a fledgling small business, I’m still always promising myself that I will find a better work/life balance. Working from a small home studio, my job is more of a lifestyle, as opposed to 40-hours-a-week employment. I never would have imagined that I would allow my career to preventing me from pursuing a romantic relationship but unfortunately, it has. 

I’m determined to correct that and find that balance. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My creative vision is informed by the bond I’ve shared with my dogs throughout the years. Discovering how others reacted to my early dog portraits has been the catalyst to my journey of capturing the relationships we have with our furry best friends. With hundreds of completed portraits for clients throughout the world, I continue that exploration, always mindful of the importance of the loyal friendships we share with our dogs. Working in oil on canvas, my pet portraits are a combination of loose energy, meticulous brushstrokes, and traditional layering techniques, with the objective of achieving richness and depth in my paintings. I hope influences of Pop Art and contemporary realism are prevalent in my work, as I aim to create portraits more intimately connecting and emotionally touching than a traditional painting of a canine. 

With the overwhelming majority of my work is commissioned portraits, I’m mindful of the importance of each completed canvas that leaves my easel, with the intent that it becomes a cherished piece of a client’s home. 

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
With the majority of my income generated through commissioned portraits, I have decided to partner less with galleries and focus more on self-promotion using social media and other resources. Galleries can provide essential opportunities for artists and I’ve had successful partnerships with some outstanding venues but those relationships require nurturing from the artist. Rather than disappointing gallery owners with my inability to provide them with new work to show, I decided it was a good time to step away from the gallery scene. Also, I love having complete control over every transaction of my work and the interaction with the client. 

Someone recently asked me if I had an interest in exploring making my work available as NFTs. I have done a little research, but it’s something I still don’t fully understand enough to invest my time in. At this moment, it feels like the wild west to me. I’ll revisit the possibilities in the near future. 

For now, my energies will remain focused on commissioned portraits and licensing opportunities. Art trends will certainly evolve but I think physical, tangible art will always remain the preference of collectors. 


  • $550 for a 10″ x 10″ oil on canvas portrait
  • $750 – 11″ x 13″ oil on canvas portrait
  • $750 – 12″ x 12″ oil on canvas portrait
  • $950 – 12″ x 15″ oil on canvas portrait
  • $1200 – 15″ x 20″ oil on canvas portrait

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