An Interview with fugitiverabbit, the Master of Bo Watercolor Art
Updated: Feb 15
If you've seen a gorgeous painting of Bo that appears to be a watercolor, you're probably looking at one of the creations of fugitiverabbit.
She takes the imagery of Bo's specials and transforms them into surreal and haunting artwork.
She also imbues the most iconic visuals in Inside and the Inside Outtakes with a sense of magic and wonder that I absolutely adore.
As such, I knew that I wanted to learn more about these beautiful paintings, and the artist (her real name is Ruby Ball) was more than willing to discuss her art, her inspirations, and why Inside came out at just the right time in her life (I know the feeling!).
Here's my interview with Ruby, which has been edited and condensed for clarity purposes.
Bo Burnham Historian: Hi, Ruby! Thanks for chatting with me about your art.
Ruby: Of course! It's no trouble at all.
BBH: Fantastic! First, can you please provide some background details about yourself.
Ruby: Hello! My name is Ruby Ball, and I currently call Buffalo, NY home. I have a Bachelors in painting from Arizona State University, and I’m 30 years old.
Right now I’m a full-time freelance artist and illustrator, and I’m so thankful for it.
BBH: That’s so cool that you are a full-time artist—you’re very lucky to do what you love!
So how did you get started with your art? Are you formally trained?
Ruby: Honestly, I started painting because of my Mom. I used to wake up early as a kid and we’d watch Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting together and she’d paint along.
I’m formally trained, but I started painting and drawing well before I went to school, and I honestly think I’ve learned way more outside of school than I ever did during school.
BBH: Isn’t that always the case?
I studied English, but learning Excel on my own has been the most useful thing for my career as a copy editor haha.
What mediums do you prefer to use for your art?
Ruby: This is a hard question because I love so many mediums, but my favorite is watercolor.
Right now, I work primarily digitally, but I still emulate my watercolor style when I’m working that way.
BBH: They appear to be so realistic though! I had no idea digital painting could look like that.
What are your art influences? Are there any particular artists who inspire you?
Ruby: One of my favorite artists is Camilla d'Errico, her work is all around my studio. Her use of bright color and surrealism to convey an array of emotions has always left me feeling so inspired to make my own work.
Other than that, I find a lot of inspiration from my art peers and friends.
BBH: That’s fantastic.
When did you become a fan of Bo? Have you known about him for a long time or did you discover him through Inside?
Ruby: Being a 30-year-old person means I basically grew up with Bo.
He was my first YouTube video with “My Whole Family...” and I vividly remember waiting patiently for it to load on my dial-up connection to show my brother because my whole family thought I was gay. (I was and am. lol)
BBH: That makes sense. YouTube started when I was in college/grad school, so I never followed its celebrities until now haha.
I love that you used Bo’s music to express your sexuality…at least something positive can come from the video that now makes him cringe!
What inspired you to make art about Bo? And what is your general process from concept to the final product?
Ruby: The art I make usually comes from an emotional place, and that’s ultimately what happened here.
Even though I’ve been a Bo fan for 15+ years, these paintings were my first pieces of Bo fanart and it was Inside and the way it made me feel that caused me to paint these.
I’ll try to keep this short, but I’ve never felt so seen by a piece of media before.
While I related to the collective trauma that was 2020, I also personally suffered a bad loss in April of 2020 when my Dad died unexpectedly. Watching Inside felt like catharsis for me when I desperately needed it.
That’s when I painted the first three of these paintings.
Then, right before Inside Outtakes released, my Mom passed unexpectedly in 2022. It honestly felt like Bo was just there when I needed him, and thats when I did the last portrait piece.
I think Inside will always be really special to me because of how it helped me process my grief.
BBH: Wow, that’s very powerful. I’m glad you found solace in his specials.
Bo really is healing the world with his comedy!
So what's your favorite piece of Bo fanart that you've made? Least favorite?
Ruby: That Funny Feeling is my favorite I think, and the first blue one is my least.
Honestly just because I can see all the mistakes I made now that I'm a better artist.
BBH: It's serendipitous that you mention the watercolor of That Funny Feeling because it's mine as well.
TFF is my favorite song in Bo's masterpiece, and you capture it perfectly here. Your painting is emotionally charged and expressive as well as gorgeous.
Why did that song speak to you in particular?
Ruby: I know the song itself isn’t necessarily about grief, but it felt really relatable to grief for me? I say that with a question mark because I’m honestly not sure, but it just spoke to me.
Even now I can’t listen to the song without crying a little.
BBH: I completely get that...it encapsulates the current moment so perfectly.
By the way, did you see Alicia included your beautiful art in her one-year Inside anniversary video? You've made the big time!
I also adore the watercolor piece that depicts Bo sitting in the chair that has a beautiful rainbow effect.
How did you conceptualize that one?
Ruby: I really love playing with color and lighting and there was so much gorgeous lighting and cinematography in Inside I just had to try and replicate the feeling of it.
It also just felt really relatable with being in such a literal dark place and looking for some sunlight.
BBH: That's so lovely!
Please tell me one fun fact about yourself. Do you have any specific hobbies or interests people don't know about?
Ruby: A fun fact is that I co-parent two rabbits, a dog, and a whole bunch of fish. Every time we go to the store for pet food we’re in danger of adding to our zoo!
I have too many hobbies, but I mostly play video games and learn easy songs on my guitar.
BBH: You’re an animal lover who plays the guitar! That’s awesome.
What's your favorite Bo song/special? You can name more than one.
Ruby: I love all of songs from Inside but I have a special place in my heart for "From God's Perspective."
BBH: Fantastic choice!
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Ruby: Not currently, but I will hopefully later this Spring!
BBH: Great—I can’t wait to see more of your art!
How can fans best support you? Are any of your pieces for sale? And do you have social media that you'd like to plug?
I’m primarily on Twitter for the moment, @fugitiverabbit, but I’m on Instagram and Tumblr under the same name.
I also run a photo reference resource for artists at fatphotoref.com if anyone’s interested in reference photos of fat people!
BBH: How cool...I love body positivity!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Ruby, and best of luck with your art career!
Ruby: It's my pleasure!