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Artist Profile: Zachary Rutter

By November 13, 2020Blog

Rivers of Steel Arts is excited to launch the 2020 Mon Valley Featured Artist Series. Showcasing some of the exciting creative professionals working across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, this monthly blog highlights an artist each month—from a variety of boroughs—to provide a snapshot of the region’s growing cultural vitality.

artist standing with heart sculptureAbout Zachary Rutter

For the month of November, we are excited to showcase the work of local artist and muralist Zachary Rutter.  Originally from West Mifflin, Pennsylvania Zac’s creative career got its early start in the Mon Valley where he was also part of the original conversations leading up to the Homestead First Fridays arts and entertainment series.  Rutter now lives in Munhall borough and has developed a highly recognizable style best known for spreading the message of love and positivity, something we could all use a little more of these days.  

A Message from Zachary

About My Work

My name is Zachary Rutter. I am a professional artist from the Mon Valley community of West Mifflin. I am grateful to have been from this area and have since accomplished several large projects around the community including multiple interior/ exterior murals in Homestead, West Homestead, Rankin and Glassport, as well as a concrete sculpture in Braddock, and large canvas installations at both West Mifflin High School and CCAC South Campus. However, my current studio space is located on Friendship Ave. in the East end of Pittsburgh. It is referred to as Studio Friendship to friends and fellow creatives in the area. We often host musicians at my space to record a series on YouTube called Friendship Sessions, which features different musicians performing songs while I create a painting! It’s kind of like a cross between NPR’s Tiny Desk performances and the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.

The love affair between art and I officially began when I received my first comic book as a child. I was immediately encapsulated by the colors and action of the pages. Comics have been a huge inspiration in my life ever since. My art is meant to promote a message of love and positivity. My main motif is an image of a bright red heart that features multiple exploding squares that shoot off in each direction. This image was inspired by the works of Keith Haring and can be seen repeatedly throughout my art. Many have begun to be referred to as the Sun Heart. You may recognize the heart from a large Port Authority Bus that drives all around the city of Pittsburgh. This sun heart is the symbol of a movement I started called the Spread Love Army. This movement is at the core of everything I do. I want my art and my message to bring people together as soldiers of the Spread Love Army in order to close the gap between strangers and neighbors and in return build a stronger community. 

Being an artist is definitely one of the hardest, and stressful endeavor I’ve ever set out on, but it continues to be the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. Recently, I’ve been focusing all of my energy on being a full time artist and teaching art lessons from my studio on YouTube with a series I call “Studio Time with ZAC.” It takes a lot to maintain a full time career as an artist, but when I’m not working I spend my time relaxing and traveling with my fiancée, Jess and my cat, Chèrie. We are the new parents of a little girl who arrived in October and we recently relocated to Munhall in the Mon Valley!

Find Me Online


Instagram: @zacharyrutterart

Facebook: zacrutterart

Twitter: ZacRutterArt

YouTube: Zackary Rutter Art