The printmaker, photographer and illustrator says it’s all about the narrative.
A member of the Vanguard Artist Collective – the acclaimed supergroup of Black Detroit creatives – Rashaun Rucker is a prominent figure in Detroit’s artistic community. Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Rucker considers himself a product of North Carolina Central University and Marygrove College in Detroit.
As an artist and photographer, Rucker is known for his linocut prints, drawings and photographs. He carries his strong artistic voice into each medium, where his work is graphic and bold, presenting a look into Black life, captured with raw authenticity.
“My art is very narrative. I’m a storyteller,” Rucker says. He attributes this mind frame to his work as a photographer with the Detroit Free Press for more than 10 years. “Whether it’s drawing, printmaking or photography, it’s all about the stories that I’m telling.”
Much of Rucker’s work recalls moments in his life or his family’s. In his recent exhibition, Up From the Red Clay, with Ferndale’s M Contemporary Art, Rucker reflects on his family’s past in North Carolina. It included works such as “Black Love at the County Fair,” in which he depicts his grandparents as teenagers in a photo booth.
Rucker also recently participated in Wayne State’s In the Air: Voices From Detroit and Beyond exhibition; his work was placed on a billboard above HopCat in Midtown. He’s earned more than 40 national and state awards, but, even with these accomplishments, Rucker has much more planned. “It’s cool to just be recognized for making the kind of work you want to make, and not trying to follow a trend,” he says.
He is currently in residency with the International Studio & Curatorial Program in Brooklyn through mid-summer, while also preparing an exhibition with the University of Michigan later in the year. “Doing relief carving is kind of a niche thing, and I’m proud to have that success doing something I love to do.”