Geocaching as inspiration for art: An interview with pipiruby

Recent visitors to the Korea Comics Museum in Bucheon, South Korea have enjoyed a creative introduction to geocaching, thanks to user pipiruby (Ruby), who was one of just six artists chosen from a hundred entrants to participate in the “Colorful Diversity Cartoons” exhibit.

Ruby has found over 80 caches and hidden five of her own since discovering geocaching a few years ago. We asked about her new hobby and how she shared it with others by way of her art.

Thanks to GeoDesertTiger, one of Korea’s community volunteer reviewers, for the translation of our questions and Ruby’s answers!

How did you learn about geocaching?
A few years ago, I stumbled upon geocaching through an Andrew Clements novel called “The Map Trap.” When I searched for geocaching on YouTube, I felt like I had discovered a new secret world. I like exploration, treasure, and adventure.

What are your favorite geocaches?
I like Traditional Caches, Mystery Caches, and large containers. I wish to find those creative, fun caches I read about, like one in Germany with a Harry Potter motif.

How do you describe your artwork?
I draw comics and illustrations both digitally and by hand in a sketchbook. I express the inspiration that arises within me through various paintings. I love exploring and discovering new things. Everything I discover in everyday life becomes the source of my creation. Because I get pleasure from creating and drawing stories, geocaching is one of the elements that helps me create.

What prompted you to apply for the “Colorful Diversity Cartoons” exhibit?
This exhibition was hosted by the Korea Manhwa (cartoon) Contents Agency. I entered some comics as part of a government-supported project, and thankfully I was one of the six artists chosen. I had the opportunity to participate in the exhibit and include my geocaching experiences.

Why did you choose geocaching as the subject of this work?
Geocaching became a very new world for me, and I wanted to express this as an artist. I wanted to let people know the charm of geocaching by sharing my geocaching adventures.

How would you describe your artwork at the exhibit?
The exhibit is my exploration journal in the form of a comic book based on geocaching. This comic book won’t be officially published until I complete its revision.

First, I am a beginner in geocaching, so I do not present my comics as a ‘geocaching guide’. This is a cartoon about what I have experienced, felt, and discovered while geocaching. I drew the small joys I gained from geocaching. This cartoon shows each area in Seoul where I geocached. In a rapidly changing world, there are places here that I think should remain unchanged, so I drew it as is before it changes. It is like wanting a cache to stay forever.

What did you want people to gain from viewing the work?
I wanted to let people know that there is a secret world called geocaching, and to share the joy of exploration and adventure through geocaching, how geocaching is done, and what they may find.

What feedback have you received?
Guests have told me that they installed the Geocaching® app after viewing the exhibit. Some people have expressed their fascination and amazement with the geocaches in the display.

Do you have future plans to include geocaching in your art?
Yes, I will continue incorporating my geocaching, the adventures I experience, and the places I visit. Soon, I will start up my unfinished graphic novel again.

“Colorful Diversity Cartoons” is on display at the Korea Comics Museum in Bucheon, South Korea until April 21, 2024. Ruby’s portion of the exhibit includes a temporary sample book, drawings on the wall, her travel drawing books, and some sample geocache containers. She also shares much of her artwork on Instagram.