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Navy Veteran Paints As A Way To Give Back



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When it comes to art some of us struggle to draw a stick figure, while others truly have a gift.

Robert Ruf is not only an exceptional artist, but he's using his gift to help others. He's a 15 year Navy veteran, who's goal is to paint a brighter future for veterans in need... and that's why he's Someone You Should Know.

“I think I have another Monet around here somewhere,” says Robert Ruf.

Robert Ruf owns several Monet's...not the originals of course, but his own interpretations of the work.
And while Robert can handcraft a carbon copy of the famous prints, it's his own creations of abstract and impressionist pieces that are quite a sight.

Ruf says, “A lot of artists, they only paint every now and then when they get this big inspiration, well I’m inspired everyday for about 3 hours.”

With a brush in hand, time stands still for Robert. He forgets about the injury that ultimately ended his career in the Navy. While working aboard a ship, Robert was crushed by a piece of equipment, permanently damaging his spinal cord. 

“It's sort of a pain reliever as well, because I'm not thinking about my aching spine when I'm painting because I'm in sort of a different world,” says Ruf.

And as the paintings piled up, so did Roberts concerns for his fellow comrades.

Ruf says, “The plight of homeless veterans is very near and dear to my heart, and I plan on doing something about it.”

Robert now has his own show at the Cliff Hanger Gallery in Sioux Falls. He's dropped the prices on original prints by more than 50 percent, and is donating all the proceeds to Veterans Build, a new organization partnered with habitat for humanity.  The goal is to build houses for homeless veterans.

“We are all in the same boat, as they say in the navy,” says Ruf. 

When you first walk Robert's show, you'll notice amazing splashes of color but it’s not your average gallery where you just stand back and admire the paintings from afar, Robert actually encourages you to walk right up and touch the work.

“Children are very tactile, and in addition to showing it to them, if you can let them touch it, they’re like wow,” says Ruf.

Robert’s paintings are amazing audiences and leaving an imprint on the lives of others.

Ruf says, “I'll probably continue to do it the rest of my life and I'll probably continue to use my paintings to further the goal of charities I believe in.”

Robert's collection will be displayed at the Cliff Hanger gallery in Sioux Falls thru January. Prices of the artwork range from just under S100, up to around $1,000.

 On a side note, Robert is also partially colorblind, which is why he chooses to paint in bright colors.
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