Emily Rutledge



Although I grew up in a small Southern town, it was always a city where I felt most alive, inspired by the haphazard visual fabric.  Mangled handbills and posters form accidental collages.  Marker “tags”, spray paint stencils and graffiti give a voice to those lacking one.  Tattered logos, text and color collide to create an urban panorama.  Sometimes fragments of people are seen – eyes, mouths, that hint at the transitory nature of life and the impermanence of the world in which we live.


Currently living and working in Chicago’s warehouse district, I title my body of work, Urban Origins Art.  It is an exploration of the beauty, richness and stories present in urban decay.  I scavenge the city’s diverse neighborhoods looking for raw materials for my work.  The text from wheat paste posters, handbill images and tags are reworked and combined with acrylic, image transfers, spray paint and graphite.


My encaustic work enables me to encapsulate the found objects I gather.  Because encaustic is wax and pigment that is fused with a heat source that hardens quickly, it provides an interesting juxtaposition to the very impermanence of the street scene.