Ruckus Gallery

Art with an attitude


What: Ruckus Art Gallery

Where: 228 Maple St.


WHEN: 3-7pm Thursdays, 3-9pm Fridays, and 10am-6pm Saturdays (or by appointment)


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

I’m not sure how I failed to notice the giant skeleton head dangling outside the front door of Ruckus Art Gallery, but when I inquired within, I was told the startling sculpture had only been in residence since Halloween—meaning I haven’t been completely clueless about what’s been happening at the creative collective located across the street from the Depot Market Square.

That said, I must admit last Saturday was the first time I actually stepped through the doors of the 2,000-square-foot venue since longtime local Alexei Ford opened Ruckus’ doors last March.

I’ve been missing out. Ford—a general contractor, designer and creator of iconic sculptures such as the metal spacecraft located in front of Rocket Donuts in downtown Bellingham—has used a generous portion of the work studio he’s had for nearly 20 years to create a gallery that is a marvel to behold.

Ruckus is bigger than it appears to be from the outside, meaning there’s room not only for industrial sculptures and one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures, but also hand-hewn wood furniture, awesome assemblages, giant oil paintings, woodcuts on paper, fascinating photography, giant bells made from repurposed metal and other materials, a 1917 Cable-Nelson upright piano board, an Edison dictation machine known as an Ediphone, jewelry, and even a few creative collaborations.

“Cook on the Night Train” is a good example of what is possible when two artists brainstorm. The fascinating woodblock print of the “cook” was created by Russell Ford, while Ford provided the frame—which he constructed from a reclaimed stainless steel beer cooler door, lawn chair parts, 1940s computer parts and an antique model train track.

The work is proof Ford and company are obviously thinking outside the box, and that aside from being pleasing to the eye and thought-provoking, the art they’re showcasing and selling on a regular basis has a lot of attitude.

“We believe art should be an integral part of your life, whether you are hanging it on the wall, eating dinner on it or wearing it around your neck,” Ford says. “Our carefully curated collection fuses the authenticity of the West with a modern organic appeal and rugged functionality.

“Inspired by our love of rust, leather, weathered wood, sterling silver and aged canvas, we offer fine art and sculpture, as well as inspired furniture, jewelry, bags and the occasional vintage relic or found object we can’t resist. Our selections are irresistibly familiar, delightfully unique and always creative.”

A focus on local artists such as Thor Mhyre, Rob Blumenthal, Karen Frances, Clarissa Callessen, Vivian Mazzola, Frank Goss, Mary Joe Maute, and many others may also draw visitors to Ruckus, but once you make your way inside, I’m guessing the objects displayed within will make you want to linger awhile to find out what’s behind every nook and cranny of the Maple Street hideout.

If you’re inspired to take a look around—something I’d wholeheartedly recommend—the gallery is open every Thursday through Saturday, and for most of the downtown Bellingham Art Walk events that take place on the first Friday of each month. Just locate the giant cranium and prepare to be enchanted.

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