Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Ruby Soho. I'm a self employed artist and maker of large-scale props and crazy machines and vehicles. I co-run an arts company called liberty productions, creating things like art cars, and circus sets for performances. We've got a show we're touring at the moment, created to raise awareness about displaced people and featuring a stegosaurus that has morphed with the refugees' luggage. It's built on a golf buggy and it has a very strange personality. I also make things on commission for other companies - like Gail - a giant snail based on a mobility scooter.
What makes you different?
I make other people's ridiculous ideas a reality. I can and will create whatever crazy idea the client wants and quite often make it significantly more practical in the process. I'm known for making really unusual things that other people maybe can't make, and I'm willing to make mistakes. People underestimate how important that is, but it's part of the creative process. In my line of work, every project is completely different, so you never know for sure if something's going to work. You just have to say yes to it and then find a way to make it happen.
If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?
I reckon I would go to ancient Egypt, around 2500 BC. I’d love to find out how they managed to engineer those pyramids.
What’s your superpower?
The ability to survive (and work) on less than 4 hours sleep a night. I wasn't born with that one, I've developed it over the last year or so, aided by my night-owl toddler - or the 'rave baby' as I call him. I'm actually looking forward to the time when I can hang up my cape and become an ordinary mortal again.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
Choose your jobs wisely. That gets easier with experience of course - I've learned over the years which projects to say no to; which ones are going to be doomed from the start. You have to learn to play to your strengths and the things you know you can do, but it's also important to expand your skill base and keep trying and pushing. Don't undersell yourself - (That's one I still struggle with to be honest)- but also don’t panic about when the next jobs going to come in, because it always will.
What book would you recommend and why?
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Why? It’s just a great book - It's got everything - Dark humour, raw sex, smelly ancient Gods... not to mention the secret of immortality. And of course, lots and lots of beetroot. I love beetroot.