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Drawing at the VegFest Colorado

Guest Speaker at the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos Austin, TX

Teaching Social Entrepreneurship at Boss Babes Academy Austin,TX

Donating iPhone 4's at Wildlife SOS to Kartick in Mathura, India.

Giving my Navaan drawing to Lek Chailert, Founder of Elephant Nature Park

Giving Scott Blais, Founder of Global Sanctuary for Elephants my original Ramba Drawing.(with Joan Lichterman!)

Thyra Rutter

Artist & Founder, Arte for Elephants, Creative Coach, Mentor, Entrepreneur, World Explorer and Certified International Tour Director. But I am most proud of being known as the 

"Elephant Portrait Artist".

Arts Background

For as long as I can remember, I have had a feverish drive to create! Nothing was safe from my drive! Napkin holders were turned into princess carriages, plastic, fruit baskets were melted to form "jade" jewelry and painting, I've always loved painting. My Arts Education began in 1983 at Moorpark College in sleepy Moorpark, California. For two years I studied the basics, drawing, design, painting (lots of learning to render draperies over chairs!). After two years of study, the lure of the stage called to me, and I spent the next years of my life deeply immersed in local theaters, where, in addition to acting, singing and (somewhat poorly dancing) I painted and designed posters, backgrounds, props and marketing materials. A brief stint at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where i studied Theater was enough to convince me that it wasn't my true calling. In 2001, the mess and the lure of paint called to me again, and I found my true home at prestigious Otis College of Art and Design, where I underwent rigorous training in all Fine Art disciplines, painting, drawing, life drawing, color theory, art history, sculpture and even photography (which wasn't really my thing!) In 2007 I obtained my Fine Arts Certification.  I have taught arts through the nationally recognized Artist in the Classroom program, Art Smarts and as a private and group instructor for all levels and ages. I have illustrated book covers,  and my work appears in private and public collections around the world. 

Corporate Life

While studying at Otis, I worked full time in a demanding corporate environment, in the Market Research industry. Through hard work and diligence, I was able to get fairly high up the ladder, from Sales Director to Vice President of Sales for well known media and research firms such as Nielsen Entertainment, Global Market Insight and others. My client list included, among others,  Warner Home Entertainment, Sony Music, Paramount, Microsoft, Major League Baseball, Netflix and Marvel Comics. While financially fulfilled, the life of a- work all day- tied to your phone- super stressed out-executive was demanding and not particularly how I wanted to live my life. When the company I was working for shut down during the recession of 2008, I used the opportunity to investigate other pathways that had always interested me. I started a successful Market Research Consulting firm and gave back by becoming a Volunteer Teacher, coach and mentor at the Small Business Association of Southern California (SBA) where I designed their popular workshop, "Market Research for Start-ups and Entrepreneurs".


International Travel Professional

Travel has always been a huge part of my life and one of my great passions. Even when I barely had "two nickels to rub together" I would plan trips. In 1985 at only 20 my best friend and I spent 3 months backpacking through Europe (on $500 dollars, no less!) France, Germany, UK, Ireland, I would work and save for a year to get my two week vacation. In 2002 I was lucky enough to take my first safari in Kenya and I was HOOKED! Exotic destinations got into my blood and have been there ever since. Egypt, Australia, Ecuador, Peru, Uganda, Rwanda, Thailand, Laos, Costa Rica, places I have loved and enjoyed (but there are still a lot more on my bucket list!). In 2011 I decided to make it official and enrolled at the world famous International Tour Management Institute of San Francisco after an intensive program, I was awarded my professional Certification in International Tour Management! I have lead and developed tours and done reservations and guest assistance at, among others, Viking River Cruises, for YMT Tours, Joffrey Ballet, Youth Tour Program, and at Travaasa Resorts where I developed their successful painting and wine program! 

Animal Activism

As much as I have loved travel and art, animals are in a class by themselves. I was fortunate enough to grow up with cats, dogs and a variety of small pets! I have volunteered with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Los Angeles, Wildlife SOS Elephant Sanctuary in Mathura India, Elephant Nature Park, in Thailand, and have donated art works/participated in online administrative planning for the Global Sanctuary for Elephants, Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand, MandaLao Elephant Conservation project in Laos and Elephant Haven, France. In 2014 I attended the Ojai Massage Academy where I went through a course of Small Animal Massage which included T-Touch and intuitive healing, the knowledge gained about animals was invaluable to my relationships with my own beloved pups! (Oscar and Watson). 

Arte for Elephants

In 2015 I started Arte for Elephants as a part time venture, in Austin, TX, where we were living at the time. Daily Facebook updates on the state of wild and captive animals, tore at my heart and tortured my spirit. I needed to do something, but what? How? Where? The idea for Arte for Elephants came after I drew a picture of an elephant and brought it to work, where my co-workers went nuts and everyone wanted to buy it! I was amazed! One thing led to another and by the end of 2015 Arte for Elephants was taking over my life! In 2016 my husband, David and I sold our house and moved into an RV with the goal of traveling the US, meeting people, selling art and educating people to the heartbreaking situation of captive elephants around the world. We are still on this mission, as of this writing Arte for Elephants as donated $30,000 to global elephant sanctuaries, sold 12,000 pieces of art, traveled the length and breadth of the American West and spread awareness of elephant issues to thousands of people around the world. I have been been a Keynote Speaker for the March for Elephants and Rhinos in Austin, TX, Guest speaker on elephant issues at the Texas State Capital for the Mayor of Austin and the City Council, I have lectured on Social Entrepreneurism for Female Business leaders through Boss Babes Academy, the Small Business Association and participated on the Media and Law panels at the Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants Film Festival in Portland, OR. 

After Addressing the Texas Government and the Mayer of Austin, regarding Elephant Issues. (I am holding the stuffed elephant, of course!)

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