Paul Rucker

Paul Rucker

Photo by Wendy Johnson.

What Does Paul Rucker Not Do?

A self-taught visual artist, composer, and musician, Rucker finds inventive ways to combine mediums. His music (created on cello, from improvised to strictly notated) and visual artwork (incorporating infrared beams, lasers, touch pads, glass instruments, sound, video, photography, animation, and large-format prints) push boundaries. About 5 years ago he started a work entitled Project 12. For a full year, he presented one new visual art exhibition each month and performed 40 concerts. Rucker says this was an exercise in endurance, one that he’s continued since.

From his debut album, History of An Apology which interprets the horrific syphilis experiments of the Tuskegee Incident, to current work in Tacoma focused on the city’s human rights legacy, Paul’s practice effectively tells stories, shakes things up, and inspires dialogue.

A central focus of his ...nging injustices of the Prison Industrial Complex. In addition to regular performances for the incarcerated, his animated video, Proliferation, maps the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system, combining visuals and an original score.

Recently awarded a grant from Creative Capital, he is building on this exploration in a new work , Recapitulation, which will demonstrate the parallels between slavery and contemporary prisons. Although slave and convict have different names, these labels share similar limitations and expectations.

Since his 1998 arrival in Seattle, busking as a cellist in Pioneer Square, Paul’s connection to the area has deepened. He credits art with keeping him focused and out of trouble when he was younger. Perhaps that is why he also contributes so much time to working with and empowering youth in the region.

Whatever the media or the message, Paul is doing something that has the potential to make an impact on the lives of others.