Get to know the makers, businesses and faces who are helping us create Midwest Craft Con! Today we are getting to know Chris Rutan of Chris Rutan Photography and Rigmarole.
Brit: How long have you been in the creative scene? How did you get your start?
Chris: I have been a professional photographer for over a decade. I went to the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art and earned a BFA in fine art photography. However, my artistic interests are not limited to photography. I also studied printmaking, sculpture and metalsmithing. I completed a minor in computer imaging. The education I received at the Myers School of Art is really the backbone of everything I do creatively and professionally today. During college I worked at two independent photography studios — honing my photographic chops while learning the ins and outs of the business. Today, I specialize in event and lifestyle photography. In addition to commissioned portraiture, I also work for local businesses and the Akron and Canton Museums of Art, and have had my work featured in various local publications.
Brit: What services do you provide to your community?
Chris: I love being involved in the local art scene. I find it immensely rewarding. We’re so supportive of one another — it’s inspiring! When I’m not working, I can be found in and around Akron, photographing my adventurous girls and sharing their exploits on my blog or Instagram. I’ve also had the pleasure of guest writing for a few of Akron’s local blogs. 😉
Brit: What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
Chris: As a small business owner, I’m most proud of being a part of my local community. When I’m hired to photograph for the museum or a local theater, I feel that I have the opportunity to capture something great that is happening in my own backyard. I feel the same way about portraiture. I love capturing the moments and personalities of the families, couples and individuals who comprise our community.
In addition to photography, I have a handmade side business named Rigmarole. My products are featured in several shops around the country and are available at local craft shows. I do freelance craft work for Jo-Ann Fabrics. I’ve guest lectured at the University of Akron and I’m teaching my first set of workshops at a local paper boutique this month!
Brit: What is one big mistake you’d suggest others avoid when entering the handmade arena?
Chris: One mistake to avoid when starting your own business is being too afraid to say “yes.” When an opportunity presents itself, it’s easy to overthink it, feel intimidated, and begin to convince yourself that you can’t do it. Just say yes. Growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone.
Brit: Any big goals for the new year?
Chris: This year, I’ve set a goal to vend at more craft shows. I’ve yet to venture out of the Akron area craft scene. This year I’m going to branch out.
You’ll see Chris taking photos at Midwest Craft Con in Columbus, Feb. 19-21!