Sarah C. Rutherford Flies High at Wall\Therapy

One criticism leveled at Street Art events around the world (and they are around the world now) is that sometimes the invited artists work is stylistically or thematically so foreign to the local taste that the piece does not resonate, or worse, it rattles nerves. A seamless cultural match is not likely when you are bringing someone from, say, Belgium, to say, Rochester, and the fact that an artists style or content causes a friction of opinions is a fair critique, although not specifically a disqualifying one.

By its lineage, Street Art (or Urban Art as its known across the Atlantic) was at least in part spawned from the rather anti-authoritarian practices and ruminations of graffiti and its snotty little brother, vandalism. So you’re bound to get somebody roiled at some point with your art. Actually, if you are not pissing somebody off then you’re probably not trying hard enough.

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

The act of doing your work in the public sphere puts it into a new category of considerations than hanging it quietly inside on a private wall and, by George, every person is entitled to their God-given opinion about it. And there are the children to consider after all. To be fair, there can be a modicum of “fear of the invader” for any city that is suddenly swooped in on by visiting weirdo artists from foreign lands like Argentina, Ireland, South Africa, and Newark. There may also just be unhappy people who are sort of bored. But we digress.

Local Street Artists and graffiti artists who have been toiling for years and who actually know the flavor of the city very well sometimes can similarly get the impression that they’ve been overtaken and overlooked in favor of the imperial aerosol forces, even if they are happy they came.  That’s why it’s a smart organizer who takes pains to make sure that at least a few local talents are fully in the mix. It makes the whole feast richer, a great way to synthesize community, a positive way of evoking a host/guest dynamic among the artists and the organizers, and while the styles and interests are definitely going to be varied, the formula encourages a more genuine sense of cultural exchange.

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

At BSA we always value the courageous person who dares to engage the creative spirit and to bring it out to be seen by others, and we are happy to introduce you to a talent who has called Rochester home for seven years and who has been hitting up a wall this week alongside her visiting guests like the total pro she is.

Illustrator and fine artist Sarah C. Rutherford says, “This event often feels like a dream for me as an artist and community leader. I look around at the talented people who are visiting us and those from our city and I feel the power of our voices collectively shaping walls around Rochester.” Modest, too, but the girl’s no slouch.

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Over the past few years Rutherford has contributed her line drawing talents for a brewing company, a school of music, a cookbook, the Rochester City Newspaper and the New York Times Magazine. An urban explorer who trudges in the rubble like the best of them, she’s admired the work of Street Artist Swoon for many years and has left her own mark on decayed walls in hidden places and has constructed installations with found materials. She also recently nailed a three month painting gig with her friend Lea Rizzo that included seven flights of stairs and 28 walls in the Highland Hospital, so she can handle a brush.

Yet WALL\THERAPY has filled her with a gratitude, she says. “I am so humbled and grateful to have been included as an artist in this event.”

BSA asked Rutherford to talk about her wall.

“My piece involves a familial scene based around peregrine falcons. Here in Roc, we have a falcon cam that was established on the Kodak tower and now has been moved to the Times Square Building.

I also included fragmented pieces of the Rochester logo, as well as magnolias – a popular flower in this area.

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Finally, I loved this wall for the broken up canvas it provided me – an interesting frosted window with bars, a wood panel amidst the concrete. I included a wooden installation element, something else I am quite fond of doing. I have built this structure in 3-D form before, but it was fun to include it in this manner.  I’m hoping to experiment more with this in the future.

Overall, this mural is about the ones we love – the fierceness in which we protect them and the beautiful worlds we create for this love to dwell.”

Sarah says she wanted her mural to be rooted in this city as a matter of local pride, and because of her strong feelings of alliance with it. She sites as inspirational figures the co-curators of this years festival, Ian Wilson and Erich Lehman, as well as the rest of the Wall\Therapy crew and all the many volunteers.

We want to give special thanks to photographer Lisa Barker for sharing this photo essay with BSA readers.

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford for Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Sarah C. Rutherford. Her completed piece for Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Top image Sarah C. Rutherford. Work in progress at Wall\Therapy in Rochester, New York  (photo © Lisa Barker)

Take your phone and hit the road! Shoot your own pics and tag them @WallTherapyNY and @BKStreetArt – we’ll send them round the world! Click HERE for the updated Google map.

Check out our previous posts on WALL\THERAPY:

WALL\THERAPY 2013 Starts With FREEDOM in a Tunnel

WALL\THERAPY 2013 Daily Checkup and Scan of Founder Ian Wilson

Wall\Therapy 2013 Tuesday Update 7.22.13

Wall\Therapy 2013 Wednesday Update 7.24.13

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