by Maggie See
A transplant from Kentucky, spending the last 18 years here in Athens, GA has sent Ruth Allen on a path filled with art, yoga and the companionship of a pretty awesome little white hound named Cotton. She says, “He has a BIG personality and is a great source of inspiration. I love drawing the black kite he has over one eye and the ‘snowman face (of anxiety!)’ in the spots on one of his ears. He is such a character, and a big talker, too.”
You’ve probably seen her art gracing the walls of The Grit, Earthfare, KA Artist Shop, the Lyndon House’s 40th Juried Show, the Flagpole cover and Hip Vintage. And shortly, you can find her work in the form of a 4 ft. by 8 ft. mural in the College Avenue Parking Deck, as one of the nine pieces installed for the “Art Decko” project organized by the Athens Area Arts Council. Creating the mural for Art Decko has inspired her to go even larger, and she’s got some pretty good location ideas up her sleeve (but we won’t spoil those just yet!).
Her style as an artist is easily recognized by anyone lucky enough to have seen her work. She uses lines and colors in truly insightful ways, prompting the viewer into their own backstory for the image. She creates in a humble but intelligent way, weaving the digital with the analog, pulling material from what she knows best. “Nearly everything I draw or paint comes from my experience of the world around me and my reactions to and interactions with it. People, conflicts, animals, flowers, love, birds, trees, trips, everything.”
As far as plans for the future, that’s a hard call to make when you’re living so wholly in the present. Ruth says, “I try not to push things, so much as be receptive to opportunities when I notice them. Because they are always there, it’s just maybe not always visible.” But it’s safe to say this yoga teacher is always working on ideas. She did spill the beans a little on some potential wearable Ruth Allen gear in the future and some home goods, along with a fully-printed, published children’s book (beyond her own hand-sewn version, which, honestly, sounds pretty cool).
To keep up with Ruth Allen and her artistic adventures, you can find her work in real life hanging in Mama’s Boy at the Falls in May and at Flicker in June. You can also follow along on Instagram and Etsy at @10tinbluebirds and on Facebook at facebook.com/RuthAllendrawsandpaints.