One of my first memories is coloring on the couch with my beloved twin sister Amy and my beautiful grandmother, Rusti.
She was nicknamed by my grandpa Earl (aka Early Ely) back in 1950 when they had met. My grandma (Virginia at the time) had worked at a car hop called The Grass Shack, where my grandpa would pull up in his Long Beach squad car to be waited on by this red-headed beauty. Her blouse stained with the rust of an old safety pin replacing a much needed button. So he referred to her as "Rusti" and eventually asked her out. Two years later they got married and her name caught on.
My grandpa was an incredible man who always made you laugh and never complained. He served our country in numerous ways. He was a man of integrity, intelligence and wisdom. My grandmother; a gentle, graceful and deeply loving soul. Her outside beauty reflected the inside and their love was immensely influential and important to me and the rest of my family.
Today, my art studio is adorned with with memories of my grandparents; my grandpas old gun holster displays used brushes while the apron my grandmother made, hugs me while I paint. They are special beyond words and I attribute a lot of who I am to their love.
My grandma Rusti passed in 2010. Months later her name was rolling around my head. This was around the same time I was gearing up to quit my job and dive into my art career. What a wonderful artist name Rusti would be. I wasn't looking to change my name, but I couldn't deny the lure of honoring two of my favorite people by taking on her name. My mom had picked me up that day to have dinner with the rest of the family. As we drove back home, I ran the thought by her. She started to cry and expressed how much it meant to her. She insisted I share the idea with my grandpa and the rest of my family at dinner. They too were touched that I wanted to carry on her name. And so today, I am known as Rusti.