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Boise is home to a burgeoning artistic scene. Artists from different genres are collaborating in interesting, and sometimes challenging ways, pushing Boiseans to new understandings of art.With the shadow of the Great Recession still hanging over them, a group of emerging artists have decided to make Boise their springboard – potentially changing the city’s cultural landscape forever.We'll introduce you to these five Boise artists who are making a name for themselves. Plus, find behind-the-scences photos and video, and learn more about the artists at our blog.00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff727c0001Name: Anne McDonald aka Frankly FrankieArt form: Burlesque danceAnne McDonald fell in love with burlesque almost ten years ago. A few years later, she formed The Red Light Variety Show and has been pushing the envelope with her dance and performance art ever since. Anne – whose stage name is Frankly Frankie – leads the Frankly Burlesque show every Sunday in downtown Boise.Anne’s headed to NYC for some special cabaret training this summer, where she hopes to book a couple of shows before returning to Boise.Hear her story.00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff727e0002Name: Jake FulliloveArt form: FilmFilmmaker Jake Fullilove is full of ambition. At 21-years-old he’s already started his own film equipment rental company, and is in post-production for his first short film. "Spring Garden" is a psychological thriller filmed in Boise last summer. Jake says it was his most challenging (and exciting) creative project yet. Jake wants to help put Idaho – and Boise specifically – on the filmmaking map. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72800000Name: Danny KerrArt form: MusicMusician Danny Kerr is an in-demand guy. He composes music and does sound design for film projects, plays bass in a young rock n’ roll band, regularly packs the dance floor when he DJ’s at the Neurolux, and runs the sound for touring and local bands playing at The Crux. He’s also been sitting on his second solo album for months, making sure it’s perfect before releasing it to hungry Brother Dan fans. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72820000Name: Cody RuttyArt form: PaintingCody Rutty made painting his fulltime job a couple of years ago. Since then, he’s sold work to people from all 50 states and more than 20 different countries.Cody studied architecture at the University of Idaho before deciding to follow his childhood dream of being an artist, but the drafting board still influences his work. He’s been an Artist In Residence through the city’s Arts and History Department, and has an upcoming solo show at State and Lemp this June. Hear his story. 00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff72840000Name: Heidi KraayArt form: TheaterHeidi Kraay is one busy playwright. The 30-year-old’s latest play is called “DIRT,” and it runs through May 31 in Boise.Heidi is also a Theater Lab teacher, helping teens learn how to write, produce and perform their own plays at Boise Contemporary Theater. This summer she’s participating in the renowned Seven Devils Playwrights Conference in McCall, and she was recently accepted to a MFA program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.Hear her story.This series was made possible by a grant from the Boise City Department of Arts and History.

Why Painter Cody Rutty Plans To Stay In Boise, Even If His Work Leaves

Frankie Barnhill
for Boise State Public Radio

Cody Rutty knows all about peace and quiet.

A couple of years ago, the Boise-based painter retreated to the tiny town of New Meadows. He rented a studio out of an old brick bank building, and started cranking out painting after painting. At age 26, Rutty made art his fulltime job.

“Really all I had to do was paint. I had a studio and just a lot of materials and there weren’t a lot of people," Rutty says. "I had all the windows curtained off. Yeah, it was quite the adventure.”

The young painter says his stay in the quiet mountain town was a pivotal time in his life and career.

“I learned a lot especially about work ethic, self-discipline, direction and what I’m actually capable of doing."

A relationship took Rutty to New Meadows, but after that relationship ended he stayed. And he began to develop a new painting style. After bathing his canvases in bold colors, the painter began meticulously filling in every shape with white oil paint. He aptly named the resulting work the “White Series.”

Rutty studied architecture for a couple years at the University of Idaho. He was good at it -- he had a 4.0 GPA while taking a math-intensive course load. But he later decided to pursue his childhood dream of being a painter, and he transferred to Boise State to study art. Anxious to get his career started, he dropped out.

Even though he’s happy with the path he chose, Rutty’s drafting background continues to make an impression on his art.

“Architecture is very much the physical manifestation of art that we get to actually use and experience,” he says.

Credit Frankie Barnhill / for Boise State Public Radio
for Boise State Public Radio
Rutty was commissioned to create this piece for CTA, an architecture firm in Boise's new 8th and Main building. The artist drew on his architecture background for inspiration.

Rutty builds his paintings, incorporating fractal geometry and chaos theory. He’ll take a recognizable figure like a horse or a sailing ship and layer it over strong lines, creating shapes with bright colors in between -- with his signature white paint overlay often coming into play.

The young painter's style has impressed Noble Hardesty, another Boise artist and one of Rutty's mentors.

“All that fractal work is pretty amazing," says Hardesty. "I think it takes a certain type of brain to be able to pull that kind of stuff off. And it looks whimsical and that’s pretty genius work.”  

Hardesty says it’s been fun to watch Rutty come into his own in the last few years.  

“He’s in touch with something, he’s got his finger on a pulse [of art] that people are really into right now," Hardesty says.

Hardesty says making a living as a fulltime artist is never easy. But he thinks Rutty is developing the self-discipline and confidence to make sure his work hangs on walls for years to come.

Credit Cody Rutty
"Persistence Peaks" is a recent commission Rutty completed.

But the question of where those walls are is an entirely different issue.

Rutty says when he first was getting started, he relied a lot on Boise art buyers. But now he puts a higher value on his art, and that’s meant higher prices and fewer local sales. Thanks to the Internet, almost all of his work now goes out of state -- and even out of the country. Rutty sells work through his website, and he generates interest through Facebook and Instagram. 

“If you want to be a fulltime artist you’re going to have to broaden your horizons," says Rutty. "If I were just relying on Boise -- if I didn’t have the Internet -- then I would be doing something else.”

He says Boiseans aren’t scrambling to collect art from up-and-coming artists the same way people in bigger cities do.

Credit Kate Grosswiler / for Boise State Public Radio
for Boise State Public Radio
Painter Cody Rutty in his studio.

So, why does he stay? The painter says he’s inspired by artists in other genres who’ve decided to stay, and he wants to help push Boise further as an art-savvy city. Even if someday soon all of his work is sold out-of-state -- which could happen soon -- he can’t imagine calling any place but Boise 'home.' 

“This is the time to build something," says Rutty. "There’s a lot of people dreaming in this city, and this is where I started to dream when I was so much younger. People are dreaming big and starting small; that you’re not just going to change the current affairs of an artistic culture, but you’re actually going to building the very foundation.”


Today’s profile is the first in a series we’re calling “Artist Statement.” The Boise City Department of Arts and History is providing funding for this project. Tune in next Friday morning for a profile of a young playwright on the rise.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill was the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast.