Anna Rutherford won’t be stopped by painful condition
For this rising artist and Jenks High School grad, a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis simply means adapting — not quitting.
Anna Rutherford does a live painting Feb. 22 at Royce Myers Art Ltd., 1706 S. Boston Ave. The Tulsa native now lives in Chicago.
Anna Rutherford hasn’t yet had a chance to settle into her new place in Chicago. The 28-year-old abstract painter just moved to the Windy City yesterday.
For the past two years, the native Tulsan called Santa Fe, New Mexico, home. “At the time, Tulsa’s art community wasn’t anything like Santa Fe’s,” Rutherford says. “I wanted to expand my art and be around established galleries. Everyone in Chicago is involved in the arts community, even the politicians.”
Despite her changing address, Rutherford has always been represented by Royce Myers Art Ltd., which she says keeps her connected to Tulsa.
“I love coming home,” says Rutherford, who started painting as a young child and began showing her work professionally in her teens. “It’s amazing what Tulsa’s art community has become. It’s incredible what the Kaisers have done. It’s great for everyone.”
Rutherford says she always wanted to be an artist, but faced a major obstacle when, as a Jenks High School student, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She says it impacts her work in numerous ways, but she has turned it into inspiration.
“It was hard,” she says. “I learned to stop when I need to. Use skinny brushes some days. You have to alter what you do. I started to incorporate it into my work. It’s me and it’s personal, so it’s there.”
Her next move is unpacking, then she will resume growing her brand beyond paintings. She recently launched a clothing line, Ara Inc., that features her artwork. “The clothing is a painting,” Rutherford says. “You don’t have to stick with one thing as an artist. This is just the beginning.”