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Some believe that nature heals, that the warmth of a sunrise can soothe the soul, that salt water can wash away worries. Artist Sean D. Ruttkay is one of those people. But when he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2005, like most new graduates, Ruttkay wasn’t entirely sure how those ideas would shape the future or what those ideas might bring. That all changed when he embarked on an ocean-crossing, trip through the islands of the Pacific with a high-resolution camera and water-housing. Surfing some of the world’s most sought-after waves and traveling through nature’s most pristine landscapes, Ruttkay snapped frame after frame, and quickly realized his destiny.

Today, Ruttkay brings his life’s work, from vivid pounding surf to tranquil tropical waterfalls, into focus.

“I do focus a lot on water,” Ruttkay says. ”I think it’s one of those elements that every person, regardless of orientation, has a natural affinity with and if I can somehow capture water in its natural state, it will be instantly stimulating to the viewer.”

Stimulating, some might say, is an understatement. When Ruttkay’s vision is at its most remarkable is when he enlarges his images to grand proportion and enhances them using a variety of artistic methods. Ruttkay creates all of his large-format installations in his barn like studio in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

“When I am in my studio I am working in the most creative stages of my process.” Ruttkay explains. “It is here where decided which direction I want to take a piece.”

In Ruttkay’s vernacular, “direction” in art production is code for creating a piece that is either hyper-realistic or mind warping abstract. His hyper-realistic pieces are created by using transparent compounds that add texture and the illusion of movement. Ruttkay’s abstract pieces are developed using a variety of material and application techniques.

From the water, to the studio, to the installation, whether it’s vivid realism or avant-garde abstraction, Ruttkay is sure to tantalize your visual senses and soothe the soul in the process.
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