Perhaps one of the most intriguing and mesmerizing qualities of an artists’ spirit is the ability to see the world in a completely different light. Through their eyes, everything is art—be it the right light bouncing of a brick or trash squished into a storm drain. Take a look at how the talented Ellen Rutt sees everything around her through the lens of her instagram account.
Based out of the ever offbeat Detroit, the murals and graffiti splashed around this colorful city filled her with a love for art that fully encompasses the viewer. Ellen works on a large scale quite often. Take a look at a few of her past projects here.
I got to watch as Ellen sprayed a few finishing touches onto this bewitching mural. Active lines dance around the surface with colors abuzz, inspired by a clipping from Life magazine published in the 1940’s. This piece sits in the middle of the Eastern Market District, accompanied by many other murals and giants works.
Tips for Mural Painting from Ellen Rutt:
- Give yourself at least twice as much time to paint it as you think.
2. It might look dorky but always have a headlamp, a work belt, and a respirator. If you’re really in the zone and it gets dark, a headlamp allows you to keep working, the work belt keeps you from constantly going up and down ladders unnecessarily, and the respirator is just good to have whenever you use aerosols.
3. Ask people to help you. It’s super fun to work with other people and it’s way easier to carry ladders and big buckets of paint with more than one person.
4. Sketch it out ahead of time. If you plan ahead in the beginning, it will get easier to improvise later on.
5. Get comfortable with the idea of peeing outside. It’s actually super fun.
6. Also BRING RAGS!!!!! LOTS OF RAGS. If you are clumsy like me, you will inevitably spill paint, or step in it, or just somehow get it on your face.
A word of advice from Ellen to other young women hoping to get out there and leave mark on their community:
“Just go out and do it! Start small, maybe paint a wooden fence, or see if a neighbor will let you paint their garage door. Once you get one project under your belt, it’s much easier to approach people and propose something larger. Plus, you will learn soooo much after the first time.”
Ellen is wearing Carhartt Women’s Milam Shirt, Weathered Wildwood Jacket, Slim Double Front, & Watch Hat.
I think there are a lot of women (myself included) who often feel as though they are without a voice; be it in the workplace, the construction site, on the range, in social media, or during everyday life. It can be infuriatingly overwhelming to stand against the dialogue that already dictates those venues and arenas: the ideas that men are better leaders, women can’t perform as well in tough, blue-collar jobs, or even that women are better suited to clerical tasks rather than being out on the field.
Women, let’s stick together and raise our voices simultaneously to create a new discussion. We are capable. We are strong. We can swing a hammer or wield a crowbar. We can be contractors and painters and cattle ranchers and mechanics and engineers. We can do whatever job we want. We can lead, and we can do it well. WE CAN.
That brings me to Meegan Czop and the folks at Rebuilding Exchange. Many women there fill roles that are typically considered a man’s job. Meegan spends time on the ground scavenging through demolition sites for materials that can be resold through the non-profit to the public for re-use. It’s a tough job and she’s often the only woman to step foot in the work zone.
I tagged along on a trip she made to a Chicago warehouse that was ruined by fire a few months ago. With a jump in her step, she explores areas that would make most people nervous. A job that requires an adventurous spirit requires a special person. Meegan is changing the dialogue of what women are capable of with the elbow grease she puts into every day, the hard work she does to preserve and better the community, and the way she defies stereotypes with confidence and competence.
Meegan is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance Verdon Polo & Series 1889 Slim-Fit Double Front Denim Dungaree
I’m in Salt Lake City, visiting the Carhartt store in the nearby suburb of Murray. The location has an outdoor recreation theme tying the space together. Old motorcycles suspended from the ceiling and antique machinery are displayed throughout the store. The fun spirit is extended through a jukebox in the middle of the room and a graffiti mural on the back wall. If you’re in the area, you need to swing by and see the great location.