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About Paul

Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who often combines media, integrating visual art with sound, original compositions, and live performance. His work is the product of a rich interactive process through which he investigates human rights issues, historical events, community impacts, and basic human emotions surrounding his subject matter. Much of his current work focuses on the prison industrial complex and the many issues that accompany incarceration. Rucker has received... more

Public Art Commisions

I've been commissioned to create public art. Here are a few of the works:
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Museum of Flight pedestrian Bridge - Tukwila, WA
The 32-channel permanent sound installation commissioned by the Museum of Flight in Seattle presented the opportunity to integrate sound in a one-of-a-kind structure. The 40-minute program of soundscapes, field recordings and new compositions offered a new delivery method for my art. This piece incorporates such elements as recorded Boeing airplanes on the assembly line, the Blue Angels in flight, and new compositions.
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Human Rights Legacy - Tacoma, WA
Civil rights, and human rights for all, are a reoccurring theme in my art. A past public art project involves the community of Tacoma, WA and the city’s human rights legacy. Before the artwork is created for People’s Park, I met with numerous community organizations and completed residencies as a teaching artist at two elementary schools, a middle school, and the Boys and Girls Club. For the past four months, I’ve enjoyed finding new ways to creatively engage the community and encourage dialogue on the important issue of human rights in the past, present, and future.
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Vintage Aircraft Association - Seattle, WA
Vintage Aircraft Association commissioned me to create a film based on my experience flying in a B-17 bomber (only 10 actively flying). As part of this work I've also flown a helicopter, and a 1920s bi-plane.

  • Up in the Air - Works based on flight

    Since I was a child I’ve had a fascination with planes and flight. When I was 12, I was a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the US Air Force that promotes aerospace education. A regular activity for the squadron was weekend flights. For the past few years, I’ve integrated flight into my art. This picture of me in the 1920’s Bi-Plane was part of a public art project sponsored by 4Culture in which I created work based on the walking trail system in King County.
  • Trails Project

    I was commissioned to create a series of events along the trail system in Washington State. I wrote compositions based on the long walks. I performed along the trail with a 1/10 sized cello picture in the image before this example. This composition was written to reflect on the stillness of nature in the early morning.
  • Trails Project

    I was commissioned to create a series of events along the trail system in Washington State. I wrote compositions based on the long walks. I performed for campers, hikers and others along the trail with a 1/8 sized cello picture here.
  • Human Rights Legacy - Text for Benches

    Poetry was written by students during residency in the community.
    PDF icon Human Rights Legacy - Text for Benches
  • Human Rights Legacy

    Civil rights, and human rights for all, are a reoccurring theme in my art. A past public art project involves the community of Tacoma, WA and the city’s human rights legacy. Before the artwork is created for People’s Park, I met with numerous community organizations and completed residencies as a teaching artist at two elementary schools, a middle school, and the Boys and Girls Club.
  • Museum of Flight audio program

    Composed, recorded, arranged by Paul Rucker 32 channel sound installation. Paul Rucker - Cello Hans Teuber - Alto Sax
  • Public Art Commisions 2007- Present

    I've been commissioned to create public art. Here are a few of the works: Museum of Flight pedestrian Bridge - Tukwila, WA The 32-channel permanent sound installation commissioned by the Museum of Flight in Seattle presented the opportunity to integrate sound in a one-of-a-kind structure. The 40-minute program of soundscapes, field recordings and new compositions offered a new delivery method for my art.

Gallery Installations / The Empathy Project / Misc. Other Works

The Empathy Project, February 21 - March 16, 2014
As the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Research Fellow and Artist in Residence, I invited MICA students, faculty, staff, and neighbors to participate in The Empathy Project, an interactive exhibition and a series of conversations and performances.

Other works in this section include sonic Interpretations of gallery installations, glass work, and work around guns and violence.

  • Excessive Use

    Excessive Use 190gsm paper Bullet holes Plywood Target holders 2013 Excessive Use – a series of works on paper created with the 44 caliber Glock 22 semi automatic pistol. Like Soundless Series, pieces in Excessive Use are named by the city and date of the event. Excessive Use January 1, 2009 Oscar Grant III Oscar Grant III was fatally shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer, Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009.
  • I Started to Make a Gun...

    I Started to Make a Gun 3D printed Liberator gun Custom colors Permanently incomplete 2013 I Started to Make a Gun – explores emotions related to creating a potentially deadly device with a 3D printer. I used the filed readily available online to make the gun. I intentionally did not complete the gun...
  • Options - Glass work

    While in residency at Pilchuck Glass School in 2010 I created a series of sand casted items.
  • Seussaphone

    In 2010 I had the honor of being invited for a residency at the Pilchuck School of Glass. During this time, I had two and a half weeks of experimentation with I medium I knew little about. I created musical instruments from blown glass – such as the Seussaphone shown here – and exploring other techniques such as sand casting, print making, mold blown and cold working. The Seussaphone – so named for its resemblance to an instrument one might find in a story by Dr. Seuss – is a one-of-a kind instrument that is played like a bugle, but lower in pitch.
  • One Less Thing to Worry About (Source Material)

    Original target commercially sold. After the 911 call came out in which we find out that Trayvon was folowed, someone in the US started selling these targets. I modified this target to create One Less Thing to Worry About.
  • One Less Thing to Worry About

    One Less Thing to Worry About Digital print Safe Concealed weapons permit Glock 22 semi automatic pistol 3 full clips of ammunition (45 rounds) 2013 One Less Thing to Worry About – an installation utilizing the image of a widely sold target that I drastically modified. The image has the likeness of a hooded individual carrying Skittles and watermelon juice cocktail. The safe securely contains my concealed weapons permit, a Glock 22 semi automatic pistol, and 3 full clips of ammunition (45 rounds). (30 rounds in Maryland- State Law: You can't have a clip with more than 10 rounds)
  • Sonic Interpretations - Boroque Room

    Every object has a sound. I enjoy performing in galleries and creating live, improvised sonic interpretations of artwork, whether it’s paintings from the Renaissance Period, or modern sculptures. I have performed live sonic interpretations of works such as Nick Cave’s sound suit exhibit, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, sculpture by Alexander Calder, and various paintings throughout the Baroque Room of the Seattle Art Museum. I've also performed Sonic Interpretations at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  • Sonic Interpretations - Nick Cave Exhibit

    Every object has a sound. I enjoy performing in galleries and creating live, improvised sonic interpretations of artwork, whether it’s paintings from the Renaissance Period, or modern sculptures. I have performed live sonic interpretations of works such as Nick Cave’s sound suit exhibit, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, sculpture by Alexander Calder, and various paintings throughout the Baroque Room of the Seattle Art Museum. I've also performed Sonic Interpretations at Yerba Buena in San Francisco, as well as the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  • The Empathy Project - Gallery

    Digital Media Station: Participants can upload and share digital images and movies. In the background, visitors receive massages. Performing, writing, sharing of art was encouraged in the space. Organized and spontaneous conversations took place regularly with tea and lunch served. A weekly open mic took place on a custom built stage. Unplanned spontaneous events happened all throughout day. Dance, performance art, music, and poetry.
  • The Empathy Project - Open Mic

    February 21 - March 16, 2014 As the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Research Fellow and Artist in Residence, I invited MICA students, faculty, staff, and neighbors to participate in The Empathy Project, an interactive exhibition, and a series of conversations and performances. The events are intended to continue intercultural conversations in the community about diversity, difference, and global perspectives. In an interview, I explained some of my thinking related to the project: “It’s vital for artists to step outside their comfort zones.

Sound Series

Like the Soundless Series, the Sound Series is a series of wood sculptures representing civil rights events in history and the people involved. Unlike the Soundless series, however, these events do not include murder.

  • Work in Progress (studio shot)

    This image shows work post-milling, before finishing.
  • In Progress - After finishing

    Showing the process. This is the Padouk wood after it has gone through the milling process, oil and stain. The purfling has also been added.
  • In Progress - Before finishing

    Showing the process. This is the Padouk wood after it has gone through the milling process.
  • Process- CNC- 3D Model

    I use CNC technology to create many of my sculptures. This is the model for my standard solo cello. I can mill almost any material. The types of wood used in this project are spruce, maple, pine, layered plywood, bamboo etc. Digital model
  • Work in Progress - Side view

    11 layer plywood Dimensions: 16x16
  • Work in Progress

    Bamboo Dimensions: 16x16
  • Work in Progress

    Birch Dimensions: 16x16
  • Work in Progress

    13 layer plywood Dimensions: 16x16
  • 1967 - Sound Series - Loving vs. Virginia (male)

    (One of a pair of pieces.) Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state's anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as "white" and people classified as "colored".
  • 1967 - Sound Series - Loving vs. Virginia (female)

    (One of a pair of pieces.) Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), was a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state's anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as "white" and people classified as "colored".

Interactive Musical Performances

I created a series of interactive performances that allow the audience to direct live music by manipulating different mediums including clay, watercolor, graphic score puzzles, instant messaging, and custom scratch tickets.

  • Rooftop Cello Performance

    Performance during Seattle Art Museums REMIX. In the Olympic Sculpture Park 2013.
  • Puzzle Pieces - Close up of puzzle

    Puzzle Pieces is a live interactive piece for musicians, and audience participation. Graphic music scores in jars are assembled by the audience, and then performed by musicians.
  • Puzzle Pieces

    Puzzle Pieces is a live interactive piece for musicians, and audience participation. Graphic music scores in jars are assembled by the audience, and then performed by musicians. Arts in Nature Festival 2010.
  • Clay Pieces

    Cello concert of improvised compositions inspired by original clay sculptures created by the audience. This image is from the Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2010.
  • Clay Pieces

    Cello concert of improvised compositions inspired by original clay sculptures created by the audience. This image is from the Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2010.
  • Scratch Sound

    Scratch Sound Scratch Sound is an interactive performance utilizing custom-made scratch tickets that determine the mood of the improviser. Audience members are given scratch tickets with three circles and 10 possibilities including 8 basic emotions: (acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise). Not all cards are winners; some scratches will reveal that you must “Try Again.” If “2X BONUS!” is exposed, the participant scratches another circle and receives double that emotion!
  • Scratch Sound - Gallery Performance with Quartet

    Scratch Sound Scratch Sound is an interactive performance utilizing custom-made scratch tickets that determine the mood of the improviser. Audience members are given scratch tickets with three circles and 10 possibilities including 8 basic emotions: (acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise). Not all cards are winners; some scratches will reveal that you must “Try Again.” If “2X BONUS!” is exposed, the participant scratches another circle and receives double that emotion!
  • Water Pieces

    Young participant bringing up her piece to be interpreted sonically.
  • Water Pieces - Audience Painting

    Before I play a musical composition based on the water color painting, I hold the image up and show it to the audience.
  • Water Pieces

    I created a series of interactive performances that allow the audience to direct live music by manipulating different mediums including clay, watercolor, graphic score puzzles, instant messaging, and custom scratch tickets. Water from Rattlesnake Lake was used along with leaves, twigs, grass, and branches to paint pieces that I interpreted on cello. Participants were provided with paper and non-staining watercolor paint.

Interactive Sound, Images and Video

I create interactive sound installations using touch pads, infrared beams, lasers, photo cells. In addition, I explore the use of graphic musical scores and non-traditional notation to create new compositions.

  • Graphic Music Score

    Graphic musical score based on synesthesia. This is #1 in an ongoing series. I used a modified music notation program to create these scores.
  • Bumbershoot Poster - Sustenance

    I not only created the poster, I composed a short three movement composition to go along with the visuals. I'm playing cello, keyboard, processed toy piano.
  • Bumbershoot Poster - Sustenance

    I was selected to create the 2011 Bumbershoot Fine Arts poster. “Sustenance” is a combination of photos and music notation, where the raindrops are musical notes and the clouds are phrase markings used in musical notation. A representation of a three-movement composition, it consists of contrasting parts titled nourishment, endurance and strength. The accompanying musical composition will be available as a free download beginning a week prior to the festival.
  • Wall of Pieces

    “Wall of Pieces,” which was on display at Consolidated Works in Seattle , involves 88 images that correspond to 88 keys on a keyboard. Each key plays a composition I’ve composed over the past 25 years. Multiple compositions can be played at one time to create soundscapes of cacophony. MIDI Piano Paper Wood 88 sampled compositions
  • Busker

    “Busker” is a performance art piece. This is a 2 minute excerpt from a 40 minute performance near a busy intersection. During the performance not a single note is played.
  • Sounds Like...

    Sounds Like… Sounds Like… is a sound installation without sound. The four pairings of large images and video are based on the classic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each pairing also represents a significant event in US history relating to Americans of African descent, and their experiences. From broken promises associated with 40 acres and a mule, to the horrors of lynching, and the murder of Emmett Till, as well as honoring the spirit of those who fought for their rights. Video Images
  • CATALYST

    CATALYST, which was recently shown at the Jack Straw New Media Gallery in Seattle, WA employs a touch screen using xy technology (x being the horizontal coordinate and y being the vertical coordinate on the touch pad): where you touch the screen determines which aspects of the video/audio are altered. Touch Pad New Composition Video Counterfeit Money
  • Four Score

    Four Score is a play on words, utilizing both Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and four graphic musical scores. Viewers are given MP3 players that contain four corresponding compositions and arrangements. Four Score Year completed 2009 Graphic Music Scores (Paper) Sound (MP3) Dimensions 40 x 60 Four Score is a play on words, utilizing both Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and four graphic musical scores.
  • Happy Ending Machine

    “Happy Ending Machine” enables viewers to rearrange the instrumentation by breaking laser beams. Each laser beam corresponds to a different instrument (saxophone, bass/piano, drums, and guitar), which starts and stops by hand movement. The participant is the Conductor with full control. 100mw Lasers Photo cells Custom Plexiglass Smoke Machine LED lights Arduino Controller Mac Mini
  • Eleven Conversations

    Eleven Conversations is an interactive sound and video installation that allows the viewer to manipulate a video of eleven different cello performances by waving a hand over an infrared beam. The sensor responds to the proximity and speed of the hand. The different compositions mimic different types of conversations, discussions that involve conflict, nostalgia, sadness, and small talk. The use of a low-pass filter processing the audio in real-time creates the illusion that the performance is slowing down and speeding up as it is manipulated by the listener/viewer.

Music Composition/ Poly Metronomic Markings/Ensemble/ Chamber

Music Composition, ensemble recordings, chamber works.

  • Middle Passage - Multiple Metronomic Composition

    String Quartet performed by SAINT HELENS STRING QUARTET. I used 3 violins instead of 2 violins and viola. This work is based on transatlantic slave trade. The Middle Passage was the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade.
  • Middle Passage - Multiple Metronomic Composition

    String Quartet performed by SAINT HELENS STRING QUARTET. I used 3 violins and 1 cello instead of 2 violins 1 viola and 1 cello. This work is based on transatlantic slave trade. The Middle Passage was the stage of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to the New World as part of the Atlantic slave trade.
  • Day Two

    OIL CD Day Two Improvised CD Hans Teuber - Alto Sax Paul Rucker - Cello Track Listing Day Two 6:57 OIL 4:16 Pussy in the Sky 3:12 Napal 0:55 Some Are More Equal 4:11 Palmetto 4:59 Feed Your Enemy 1:39 Somber Time 3:46 Day One 11:49
  • Oil CD

    Oil CD Has Teuber - Alto Sax Paul Rucker - Cello Track Listing Day Two 6:57 OIL 4:16 Pussy in the Sky 3:12 Napal 0:55 Some Are More Equal 4:11 Palmetto 4:59 Feed Your Enemy 1:39 Somber Time 3:46 Day One 11:49
  • History of an Apology

    Jazz Suite based on the Tuskegee Experiment. Full CD is located here for free: http://paulrucker.com/projects/recordings/history_of_an_apology I also created a comprehensive webpage about the Tuskegee Experiment: http://paulrucker.com/activism/tuskegee_experiment For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 600 black men—399 in the late stages of syphilis and 201 in a control group.
  • All the Things I Thought I Didn't Want

    ALL THE THINGS I THOUGHT I DIDN'T WANT Work Sample Description This composition utilizes poly-meter and poly-tempo. All the lines except for the lead melody share the same tempo of 120 bpm (beats per minute); the quarter note equals one beat. The lead line is playing at 80 bpm and the dotted quarter note equals one beat. On the chart you can see that the lead line does not line up with the other measures regularly.
  • All the Things I Thought I Didn't Want

    Work Sample Description This composition utilizes poly-meter and poly-tempo. All the lines except for the lead melody share the same tempo of 120 bpm (beats per minute); the quarter note equals one beat. The lead line is playing at 80 bpm and the dotted quarter note equals one beat. On the chart you can see that the lead line does not line up with the other measures regularly.
  • CD History of an Apology

    Jazz Suite based on the Tuskegee Experiment in which 600 men from rural Alabama were used as human guinea pigs to see the effects of untreated syphilis. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. The Public Health Service started working with the Tuskegee Institute in 1932.

Soundless Series -

The Soundless Series is a series of wood sculptures I created to acknowledge victims of racially motivated violence. None of the works mention the names of the victims or the perpetrators, but include only date of the death. All the pieces in Soundless Series are truly soundless except for the Whistle Boxes that “wolf whistle” every 67 minutes. The works as a whole represent the historical and continuing struggle for civil rights.

  • October 12, 1998

    October 12, 1998 Matthew Shepard Matthew Wayne Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered near Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998. He was attacked on the night of October 6–7, and died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12 from severe head injuries. During the trial, it was widely reported that Shepard was targeted because he was gay.
  • 1965

    Saleam Triggs Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1965 Little known civil rights death. The body of Mrs. Saleam Triggs was found mysteriously burned to death. Pine Red Encaustic Blow torched Dimensions: 16x16
  • June 7, 1998

    June 7, 1998 James Byrd, Jr. James Byrd, Jr. was an African-American who was murdered by three men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer, and John King dragged Byrd for three miles behind a pick-up truck along an asphalt road. On June 7, 1998, Byrd, age 49, accepted a ride from Shawn Berry (age 24), Lawrence Russell Brewer (age 31) and John King (age 23). Berry, who was driving, was acquainted with Byrd from around town.
  • March 25, 1965

    Viola Fauver Gregg Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist from Michigan. In March 1965 Liuzzo, then a housewife and mother of 5 with a history of local activism, heeded the call of Martin Luther King Jr and traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Selma, Alabama in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Liuzzo participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics.
  • May 15, 1916

    Jesse Washington, a teenage African-American farmhand, was lynched in Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916, in what became a well-known example of racially motivated lynching. Washington was accused of raping and murdering Lucy Fryer, the wife of his white employer in rural Robinson, Texas. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime, but during his interrogation by the McLennan County sheriff he signed a confession and described the location of the murder weapon. Washington was tried for murder in Waco, in a courtroom filled with furious locals.
  • June 21-22, 1964

    There are three pieces in this work. Displayed in a a horizontal grouping. Mississippi Civil Rights Workers' Murders Earl Chaney Andrew Goodman Michael "Mickey" Schwerner Three American civil rights' workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, were shot at close range on the night of June 21–22, 1964 by members of the Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff's Office and the Philadelphia Police Department located in Philadelphia, Mississippi.
  • August 12,1955

    Whistle Boxes (August 28, 1955) (Wolf Whistles every 67 minutes) Emmett Louis Till Emmett Louis Till was an African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was from Chicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in Money, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W.
  • Work in Progress

    Work in Progress. Padouk wood. This wood changes color when exposed to light. Dimensions: Multiple sizes around 16x8
  • June 12, 1963

    Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an African-American civil rights activist from Mississippi involved in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi. After returning from overseas military service in World War II and completing his secondary education, he became active in the civil rights movement. He became a field secretary for the NAACP. Evers was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council. As a veteran, Evers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • September 15, 1963

    In the early morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Frank Cash, and Robert Chambliss, members of United Klans of America (a Ku Klux Klan group) planted a box of dynamite with a time delay under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, near the basement. At about 10:22am, twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” when the bomb exploded.

Stories from the Trees - Lynching Postcards - Lynching Installations

Stories from the Trees reimagines vintage postcards of lynchings with animation, live restaging of attendants, new composition, and live performance. Based on one survey, 4,742 African Americans were murdered by lynching between 1882 and 1968. Others were lynched as well, but not nearly in the same numbers- including people of Caucasian, Chinese, Latino, and Jewish descent. This project brings to life the different scenarios of lynchings, events where communities gathered with women and children proudly watching these atrocities. The images draw from postcards that were made from photographs of lynchings as common practice.

Funded by 2014 MAP Fund Grant

The history of lynching in America is a chapter in our history that seldom gets addressed. There are similarities between death by lynching and the flood of shootings and killing by other methods in present day America. In sync with the extrajudicial quality of lynching, today’s murders often go unprosecuted, or, if they go to trial, often end in acquittal of the accused. The psychological impact of lynching remains with us today. People of color fear vigilante justice. These crimes frequently go unpunished, whether committed by citizens or by the police. This inequity is a legitimate concern.

My desire to create Stories from the Trees comes from the need for more people to hear the stories about what happened in a not so distant and shadowy past.

  • Strange Fruit from Four Score Installation

    This score is a graphic musical depiction that calls to mind the trees in the Southern part of the U.S. that were once used in lynchings. I grew up in South Carolina, where many of these trees still stand. A play on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, and four graphic musical scores. The viewer is given an MP3 player and listens to corresponding compositions and arrangements. Each score measure 42 inches x 60 inches. A video of the full work is located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hLG0xrhSoc Digital Still
  • Leo Frank Lynching - 1915- Work in Progress

    Lynching of Leo Frank Currently working on installation about the Georgia lynching of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank in 1915 who was accused of rape and murder. Leo Max Frank (April 17, 1884 – August 17, 1915) was a Jewish-American factory superintendent whose murder conviction and extrajudicial hanging in 1915 by a lynch mob planned and led by prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia, drew attention to questions of antisemitism in the United States.
  • May 25, 1911

    Lynching of Laura and L.D. Nelson Laura and L.D. Nelson (born 1878 and 1897) were an African-American mother and son who were lynched on May 25, 1911, near Okemah, the county seat of Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. Laura, her husband Austin, their teenage son L.D., and possibly their child had been taken into custody after George Loney, Okemah's deputy sheriff, and three others arrived at the Nelsons' home on May 2, 1911, to investigate the theft of a cow.
  • Lynching of Laura and L.D. Nelson - Original Lynching Postcard

    Lynching of Laura and L.D. Nelson Laura and L.D. Nelson (born 1878 and 1897) were an African-American mother and son who were lynched on May 25, 1911, near Okemah, the county seat of Okfuskee County, Oklahoma. Laura, her husband Austin, their teenage son L.D., and possibly their child had been taken into custody after George Loney, Okemah's deputy sheriff, and three others arrived at the Nelsons' home on May 2, 1911, to investigate the theft of a cow.
  • WIND - from Sounds Like....

    WIND from the installation Sounds Like..., I use music notation to represent a lynching. Early on I thought the actual images of lynchings would be too horrific to use in my art, so I opted for a more subtle approach. Two years later I started working with actual lynching postcards. Sounds Like… is a sound installation without sound. The four pairings of large images and video are based on the classic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Each pairing also represents a significant event in US history relating to Americans of African descent, and their experiences.
  • Lynching Postcard - Work in Progress

    This video shows the separation of layers. I'm currently animating this video to be part of a performance piece funded by MAP Fund. I'm animating 10-15 postcards and will perform new original composition in a staged production entitled Stories from the Trees.
  • October 15, 1938 - Work in Progress

    Lynching in Louisiana colorized The lynching of W. C. or R. C. Williams, his body hanging from an oak tree, lower body covered with kitchen apron, blood streaming down legs suggests castration, onlookers include white men and young children. ________ News Report: Lynch Law - Ruston, LA The shot riddled body of negro W. C. Williams hangs from the towering oak tree less than 150 yards from where the murder and assault for which he was killed were committed. A mob of 300 persons administered lynch law after Williams admitted that he had clubbed mill worker Robert N.
  • October 15, 1938 - Work in Progress

    Lynching in Louisiana pre-colorized, Work in Progress The lynching of W. C. or R. C. Williams, his body hanging from an oak tree, lower body covered with kitchen apron, blood streaming down legs suggests castration, onlookers include white men and young children. ______ News Report: Lynch Law - Ruston, LA The shot riddled body of negro W. C. Williams hangs from the towering oak tree less than 150 yards from where the murder and assault for which he was killed were committed. A mob of 300 persons administered lynch law after Williams admitted that he had clubbed mill worker Robert N.
  • Stories from the Trees - Stills from submitted video

    Lynching postcard circa 1915. Pre-animation and still from animation.
  • Stories from the Trees - Animated Lynching Postcard

    Stories from the Trees reimagines vintage lynching postcards with animation, live restaging of attendants, new composition, and live performance. Based on one survey, 4,742 African Americans were murdered by lynching between 1882 and 1968. Others were lynched as well, but not nearly in the same numbers- including people of Caucasian, Chinese, Latino, and Jewish descent. This project brings to life the different scenarios of lynchings, places where communities gathered with women and children proudly watching these atrocities.

Extended Technique short Documentary - Performance/Lecture Videos - TEDx - Interviews

I studied double bass in elementary school, and I loved playing on different parts of the bass to create unusual sounds. This fascination extended into adulthood, and at the age of 30 I started to play cello. The music I create on cello involves extended technique, prepared cello, and electronics.

Although I'm classically trained and have performed with orchestras for years, I embrace my own style of playing in which I roll the bow across the body of the cello with the horsehair in between, play below the bridge pizzicato, bend harmonics, and slap the body of the cello. Through the selected talks and performances included in this section, I explain my approach to cello playing and how I combine it with visual art.

The videos in this section include various performances as well as talks/demonstrations in a variety of settings.

  • March in the Sky

    This is my audio/video interpretation of a flight on board the Experimental Aircraft Association's B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" -- Filmed in 2010 at and above The Museum of Flight and the surrounding Puget Sound.
  • Art Zone TV Interview

    Interview about Museum of Flight public art commission.
  • TEDx Tacoma, WA

    Why do we assume all the elephants like peanuts. I was invited to speak at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA for TEDx.
  • Strange Fruit

    Site Specific performance. I gave 50 cello concerts over a period of a year and a half as part of a grant from 4Culture in King County in WA State. They commissioned me to create a video shot in multiple locations.
  • Creative Capital Presentation

    Presentation of funded project.
  • Verve TV Interview.

    Interview about music, visual art, teaching and mentoring.
  • Improvised Performance - Blue Mountain Center - Prison Issues Residency

    Jorge Antonio Renaud and Paul Rucker at the Blue Mountain Center. This was an impromtu performance where the two of us decided to perform together without any rehearsal. In 2009 I attended a Prison Issues Residency at Blue Mountain Center in New York. Over a period of two and a half weeks, I met with 17 other artists, and activists working on prison related issues. After 6 years, we still keep in contact with each other.
  • TEDx Berkeley 2014 How an artist copes with reality

    I was invited to speak at TEDx Berkeley, the largest TEDx in the country with an audience of 2000.
  • Performance Video

    An unknown audience member shot this video and posted it on YouTube. I'm performing at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.
  • Extended Technique short Documentary

    As an artist, I’ve embraced non-traditional ways of doing. As a self-taught cellist, I’ve developed my own style of playing that developed from years of experimentation. I studied double bass in elementary school, and I loved playing on different parts of the bass to create unusual sounds. This fascination extended into adulthood, and at the age of 30 I started to play cello. The music I create on cello involves extended technique, prepared cello and electronics.

PROLIFERATION / Prison Work / Performances in active prisons and Alcatraz

Art can tell stories. For years I would talk about injustice by reciting numbers and statistics. When you say, “We have over 2.3 million people in prison,” it’s a large number to comprehend. Doing research at a prison issues-themed residency at the Blue Mountain Center in New York, I found some maps that I felt could help tell the story. This project uses animation to show the proliferation of the US prison system as seen from a celestial point of view. Over a thousand copies of the video have been given away to individuals, educational institutions, police, teachers, and government officials.

I’ve presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and have collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.

I'm currently animating this slave density map that shows the slave population in 1860. The highlighted red areas show slave density of areas with 50% or more. Along the Mississippi River, slave density was over 90% in many counties. The state of South Carolina and Mississippi had more slaves in the state than free.

My prison work draws parallels between the prison industrial complex and slavery.

  • Alcatraz Residency

    I've performed and lectured in prisons across the country. Due to restrictions in those facilities, cameras or recording devices are not allowed. This shot is from Alcatraz during a residency with the We Players Theater Ensemble. Performances, lectures, visual art, and theater took place throughout the facility, and on the grounds.
  • Lecture/Performance on Alcatraz

    I’ve presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and have collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons and also inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.
  • Slave Density Map (1860)

    Original Slave Density Map from 1860. This data is based on the 8th Census of the United States.
  • Slave Density Map - 1860 Census

    I'm currently animating this slave density map that shows the slave population in 1860. The highlighted red areas show slave density of areas with 50% or more. Along the Mississippi River, slave density was over 90% in many counties. The state of South Carolina and Mississippi had more slaves in the state than free. This data is based on the 8th Census of the United States that took place in 1860.
  • Constitution Day: Bars and Stripes Forever: Inequalities and Incarceration in America

    Constitution Day: Bars and Stripes Forever: Inequalities and Incarceration in America Maryland Institute College of Art Panel discussion featuring: Baltimore-based author, journalist, and television writer/producer David Simon, Moderated by WYPR’s The Signal producer Aaron Henkin, social innovator Susan Burton, who has dedicated her life to helping formerly incarcerated women re-enter society, and artist and activist Ashley Hunt, who uses video, photography, mapping, and writing to engage social movements and investigate the prison system. PROLIFERATION was featured at the beginning of the
  • PROLIFERATION - Animation Still

    This is a screen shot from PROLIFERATION. Near the end of the video. Timeline: Green Dots: 1778-1900 Yellow Dots: 1901-1940 Orange Dots: 1941-1980 Red Dots: 1981-2005
  • PROLIFERATION - Animation Still

    This is a screen shot from PROLIFERATION. Green Dots: 1778-1900 Yellow Dots: 1901-1940
  • PROLIFERATION - Animation Still

    This is a screen shot from the first few minutes of PROLIFERATION. The green dots are prisons built before 1900.
  • Prisoners of the Census Data - 2005

    This research was done by Rose Heyer of Prison Policy Initiative. This information was used to create the data visualization piece PROLIFERATION. When creating art work you hope will be influential to change, or a catalyst for conversation, it's important to use accurate information.
  • PROLIFERATION

    Video animation of the growth of the US prison system set to music. Art can tell stories. For years I would talk about injustice by reciting numbers and statistics. When you say, “We have over 2.3 million people in prison,” it’s a large number to comprehend. Doing research at a prison issues-themed residency at the Blue Mountain Center in New York, I found some maps that I felt could help tell the story. This project shows the proliferation of the US prison system if seen from a celestial point of view.

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Paul's Curated Collection

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