A free, collaborative coloring book by Nia and Fuko is waiting for you! Click the link below to participate:
THE RESILIENT CORE OF
A SOFTENED SHIELD
Fuko Ito + Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge
SEE THE VIRTUAL SHOW
Recently, we’ve noticed thorns and sparks growing within us, causing pain within our emotional and physical bodies. We’ve noticed a perennial of painful love blossoming within our core. This emotional tolerance has kneaded a doughy heart, capable of enduring the overflowing tides of an eroding ego. There continues to be days of anguish and sparkling anxiety. To ease these sensations one must manifest a softened shield, to protect the self from the thistled vines that creep into the soft, tender pocket. May the sheen of your armor deflect that which seeks to cause you heartache, may your armor glimmer in the glow of your day.
Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge
Nia Danielle Lovemore Rutledge is an Oklahoma-born artist and youngest child of Fay and Mark Rutledge. Rutledge is an interdisciplinary artist currently practicing in Kansas City, MO. Nia Rutledge’s first love was graphite illustration as a child. She now has gone on to receive six years of training in graphic design and writing. Nia Rutledge has self-taught the arts of oil painting, animation, guitar, coding and experimental film. Rutledge currently has musical performance pieces under the names of Kinky Spooky, NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE and ARKADE KYTTY all incorporating poetry, rap, experimental film and animation. Rutledge has coded a video game under the title of “Honey Gold” and has various other RPGs under construction. Nia Rutledge has desires to commit more of her practice into illustrating, and painting. In her past times, she enjoys studying Japanese and Spanish, reading poetry, admiring the mini highland cow, practicing yoga and picking flowers.
My artwork very much so exists in the realm of Afrosurrealism. Within my work I explore themes of unrequited love, escapism, the effects of emotional pain on the body, cycles of trauma, the adoration of the divine feminine, eroticism, and the destruction of our natural environments. My work speaks to the pain that is self-soothing, the confusion that is learning to love in a world that does not believe you are deserving of love. My work reminds me that my ancestral black skin is not a crime and is not shameful, that my naturally vivacious body and luscious fat black girl lips are not lewd, and is no one elses to own. My body and soul are beautiful and tender and to be cherished as such. Through my work, I morph painful memories into beautiful landscapes. I create portals into the future so that I may find myself teleported into an alternate dimension where I may come in contact with my true self. A place where I can love my true self. With this, I hope that others may fall in love. With this, I hope that others consequently believe that I am deserving of their love. With this, I hope that one day I will truly fall in love myself.
Fuko Ito hails from Kobe, Japan where she grew her love for storytelling through reading books and comics. She moved to the US to study printmaking and drawing and currently resides and works in Lexington, KY as an artist and educator. Through drawing and storytelling, Fuko hopes to take her viewers onto a plushy, heartfelt journey to an imagined, soft alternate universe inhabited by a community of naked and radically soft creatures known as fumblys.
Fuko’s creative practice in storytelling reflects on personal and collective experiences of coping, forgiving, and mending interpersonal fissures. She is driven to make images that imagine a softer and more compassionate world while reflecting on the social implications and struggles of living among a community of emotional beings. In her studio as well as her teaching practice, visual representation of compassion and dignity is at its core.
Plush is a texture that is both soft yet firm — it is able to absorb trauma and mend itself back into shape. Fuko imagines our hearts and emotional capacities to have the same visceral effect of being bruised and healed like plush. In her drawings, she portrays naked, vulnerable creatures called fumblys in its plushy ecosystem. fumblys fill their infinite ecosystem with plush to save themselves from the collapse, fall, and heartache they experience from living among themselves.