The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Visiting Artist Cody Rutty Leaves Lasting Mark on Campus

Cody+Rutty+working+on+the+canvas+he+gifted+Williston.
Cody Rutty working on the canvas he gifted Williston.

Cody Rutty working on the canvas he gifted Williston.

Cody Rutty working on the canvas he gifted Williston.

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The third visiting artist of the Grum Project, Cody Rutty, has just completed his stay at Williston; his canvases and engaging personality left behind a strong impression.

Rutty arrived at Williston on Sunday, April 2nd, and spent 13 days on campus. His art piece, a large oil painting with a focus on shapes and movement, was finished on Friday, April 14th and was given to Williston as a present.

Cody Rutty’s artistic interest dates back to high school. After studying architecture, virtual technology, and design at the University of Idaho, Rutty decided to pursue fine art as a career. At the age of 27, he is now a full-time artist mainly based in Boise, Idaho.

Rutty has an exceptionally distinguished style. His paintings and drawings are usually based on abstract images consisting of geometric shapes. With complicated divisions of the canvas, striking details, and a fascinating use of colors, Rutty is able to create a flow of movement and a sense of space far beyond the limitations of the two dimensions.

Cody Rutty’s work 16″ x 12” paper mounted to panel 2016. Credit: Cody Rutty’s Instagram.

The piece Rutty worked on at Williston, a 60′” x 40” oil on canvas painting, was inspired by his stay on campus. Natania Hume, the Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, said Rutty’s work found its footing in the student experience.

“He thought about our students and how as teenagers they are at the beginning of their life journeys, so there are a lot of references to journeys, childhood, and also some objects that always occur in his work,” said Hume. “We are excited to keep this work as his response to Williston, our community, and the time he spent here with us.”

Rutty’s work comes solely from his imagination. “The content of a piece happens pretty quickly. It’s more of a snapshot of sense,” he said. “[The] imagination process, to get it consistent, almost needs to be done in one sitting, at least for me, so the piece can be cohesive, and have a certain flow to it.”

Rutty said his confidence at the canvas comes from years of practice and careful training.  “I think it comes after many, many attempts, some failures, and some successes,” Rutty said. “I think a good analogy is that a person who is really good at the piano can improvise. Leading up to that point is many years training.” At the same time, he said he will continue to experiment with new elements and challenge himself.

Rutty really enjoyed his stay at Williston. Besides working on his art piece in the Grubbs Gallery, Rutty also worked with many of Williston’s students and classes. He participated in the Williston Arts Scholar class in particular, helping individual students with their independent projects.

“The faculty and students are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” said Rutty. “Saying they’ve made me feel welcome is an understatement.”

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Visiting Artist Cody Rutty Leaves Lasting Mark on Campus