People of Winston: Leo Rucker

Leslie Williams
Get to know Leo Rucker, a Winston-Salem native and a prolific artist making an impact on the city.

The impact Leo Rucker has made in our city is visible- from artwork hanging inside Sweet Potatoes restaurant to a mural in Innovation Quarter, a portrait seen in a private residential home to the halls of a local high school. Mr. Rucker has been commissioned by the Arts Council, local schools, various commercial businesses, and personal art collectors to paint fine art portraits, abstract portraits, and murals in addition to photography and digital prints. His accolades are extensive, and he continues to be a visionary in his career.

Rucker is native to Winston-Salem, having attended East Forsyth High School before attending Rutledge College where he earned a degree in commercial art. Although he developed his passion for art at age five, he became more serious in his endeavors in high school. In young adulthood, he cites three local mentors that served as a catalyst to his art career in learning the trade and the techniques to create his own identity as an artist, which continues today. 

During our time together, listening to jazz music in his home which also serves as his studio, Rucker demonstrated the way digital technology has impacted art, adapting to increased efficiency and precision that enhances his ability to create murals and overlay images to convey a message and promote a story. 

“I bring an old school experience to the table, but now I’m able to incorporate more modern day technology,” says Rucker. 

Rucker is skilled in using mediums of pencil, watercolor, oil, and acrylics, but has the greatest fondness for pastels reporting one of his proudest pieces is a pastel painting of Michael Johnson. He plans to maintain endeavors in portrait art, public art projects, and hopes in the future to create a book. In the interim, he is always contemplating meaningful ways to serve others through his artistic talent.

“I want to take my creative energy and utilize it” for others, said Rucker. “Capturing imagery is important, and I try to tell stories through what I capture and use my artistic renderings” to give back to the community. 

April 20, 2022