Russell Young began his career as a photographer, documenting musicians such as Bob Dylan and other iconic performing artists. He then parlayed his love of music and visual imagery into a career as a video director, creating over 100 music videos for MTV. When the music industry began to change, with more corporate control and less artistic autonomy, Young decided to focus strictly on contemporary visual art, while incorporating into his compositions the aspects of pop and American culture that had always been his major source of inspiration.
Young’s screen-printed paintings recall the work of Pop master Andy Warhol, both in Young’s subject matter and applied mediums. The Hollywood stars depicted in Young’s pop paintings, many of whom were also recurring motifs in Warhol’s work, include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood and Marlon Brando. Their images have come to symbolize not only the preoccupations of celebrity-obsessed American society, but also a certain nostalgia for the bygone era of American history that these actors now represent.
By appropriating film stills from classic Hollywood movies, Young re-frames these notorious faces, isolating dramatic cinematic moments that have since become inseparable from each actor’s public persona. His use of diamond dust offers further parallels to Warhol’s oeuvre, while establishing the glittering iconography of these Hollywood idols: the gods and goddesses of popular culture. In contrast, Young’s series of actual mug shots taken of famous performers –including Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix– offer a sobering counterpoint to the glamor typically associated with celebrity and conveyed through his diamond dust paintings.
Russell Young has been exhibited worldwide, including recent shows at the Goss Michael Foundation in Dallas, Texas (solo) and the Saatchi Gallery, London. His work is featured in prominent collections such as those of Mr. Aby Rosen, New York; The Qatari Royal Family; the Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Athens; Mrs. Beth DeWoody, New York; and acclaimed British painter David Hockney, among many others. Russell Young currently lives and works in Los Angeles.