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The story behind Ruby by Emma Allen

Ruby - a short film by Emma Allen

Ruby – a short film by Emma Allenbub


AFTER locking herself in a room for five days, London based artist and face painter Emma Allen emerged with an amazing short film called Ruby. Since publishing the original video on vimeo in August 2013, the film has been viewed by more than three hundred thousand.
An animated self portrait, Emma says ruby was inspired by the idea of samsara (reincarnation) after the passing of a much loved great-aunt.
We LOVED Ruby and you will too. Watch it below then scroll down to read what Emma had to say about it in an exclusive Q&A with Emma Allen.


Q&A with Emma Allen, face painter and artist behind Ruby

Describe the video and concept behind Ruby?
Ruby is a short film exploring the idea of rebirth, samsara. It’s a face painted animation, an animated self portrait.
What was the motivation for creating the project? 
I had been experimenting with animation for  a while but they were all just with my snappy little camera  blue tacked to a table. No lighting and just a bit budget looking. I wanted to  make one with higher production values. So I did a few days work experience with Asylum films and they kindly gave me tips on animation and showed me how to use the camera and computer program, and lent me equipment.
The storyline was inspired by my great-aunt in Sri Lanka with whom I was very close to. She had a full life and was much loved, had such an effect on everyone and inspired me endlessly. At 93 she was amazingly fit and well but after she had a fall a year ago, she deteriorated quickly. It was so hard to watch her suffer, knowing she was not going to recover but also the thought of her dying and everything that was her, just disappearing, was hard to take. She died in June this year (2013).
She was a Buddhist and the idea of ‘samsara’ (death and rebirth) was part of her life.  The  film is a meditation on that philosophy, a way for me to deal with her passing and honouring my wonderful great-aunt.
How long did it take and what products and tools did you use (inc software)?
5 days – setting up, painting and shooting . I used a mix of grimas and Dimond fx and paradise paints and then i sent to to my friend Alex Try to do the post production on it with music , etc on Da Vinci resolve 
Have you ever done anything like this before? Would you again? 
yes and yes
What would you do differently?
Oh so many things! For a start hopefully on the next long one I can persuade a model and a photographer to get involved so I can just concentrate on painting!  I would also  build a box so the background is sturdy , you cant really see on the final film but the back drop kept falling apart ! But we will see .. Next time !
Are you a face painter, make up artist, visual artist, and/or other working artist or just a hobby? 
I’m a professional face painter, and artist
It’s been popular online, especially within the face painting community, have you been surprised by the interest generally? Has it been picked up by mainstream media yet?
I have been completely blown away by the interest it has had. It’s really touching . You make these things  because you have a plan in your head you want to do and don’t know if any one will want to see it or if you have just gone a bit bonkers . So the reaction has been amazing actually overwhelming and reassuring the what your doing isn’t completely ridiculous!There has been interest from mainstream media but nothing solid yet.
– Thanks for taking the time to share your story with The Face Painting School Emma. We look forward to seeing what you come up with next. To see some of Emma’s other work, scroll down – there are more videos below :) Kate

About Emma Allen

Emma is an artist working in a range of mediums,  from sewing, murals, 3D art works and animation to make up and  face and body painting  with over 8 years experience in face and body painting. She also have an arts charity based in Sri Lanka, running arts workshops for disadvantage children
Emma works in fashion, theatre and film doing special effects and makeup as well as face painting at kids parties, face and body painting in nightclubs and other types of celebrations. She’s based in London, UK.
You can visit her website here:




This entry was posted on June 17, 2014 by in Inspiration, news and feature stories and tagged , , .
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