Rich Ruby shines

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Local artist Emma Butler’s portrayal of Wakatipu landscapes has landed her a lucrative deal which could propel her work into international circles.
 
Butler, 30, has just signed up with Christchurch art publisher Image Vault for her “Ruby” series, inspired by local surroundings and colours.
 
The publisher, which now manages the commercialisation of Ruby onto greeting cards and art cubes, has taken some of Butler’s originals to a huge art trade show in Birmingham, England for display this week.
 
The deal took Butler by surprise – she only phoned Image Vault two weeks ago. 

“I just rang them by chance and said, ‘I’ve got this character, would you be interested?’. I sent it through to them and they loved it,” says Butler, who hails from Leeds in Northern England. 

She could only send one Ruby original to the UK because the rest of her work is on show in Arrowtown this weekend.
 
“Because it was such short notice, they wanted to send that one now to give customers a taste with the view to coming back and creating a series.” 

Ruby is a character based on Butler and her feelings about the Wakatipu when she first settled here in 2007.
“She first came about when the trees turn all the lovely colours – it was really me saying ‘Oh my God, wow, I’ve got to get this colour down’ – but I did it through this little character called Ruby.
 
“So she’s often riding her bike or walking her dog and totally got what I call the ‘awe and the wonder’ of the natural scenery around her. She’s quite a fun little character.
 
“She doesn’t look anything like me…it’s not necessarily me but she definitely expresses how I feel about the place.” 

Butler’s acrylic on canvas Ruby exhibition is on at Arrowtown’s Off The Wall Gallery from today till Monday.