It was 20 years ago that British photographer Russell Young first lent his eye to celebrity culture. The assignment was photographing George Michael for the sleeve of an album called “Faith”. That job launched a career and soon Russell was shooting musicians like Morrissey, Bjork, Springsteen, Dylan, REM, New Order, The Smiths, Diana Ross, Paul Newman and many other celebrities. The next natural step was directing music videos; Russell directed a hundred music videos during the heyday of MTV.
Ten years into his career, Russell started painting, but his work remained private. Until 2003, when Young showed his first series of paintings called Pig Portraits, this first show sold out. Young has risen to be an internationally acclaimed pop artist, creating larger than life silkscreen paintings of images from history and pop culture.
“My work is sort of soundtrack to my life, loves, experiences and influences. My method of working is to search, destroy and create. The images of this series have been collected from newspaper cuttings, e-bay, long correspondence with police departments throughout the world or even given by celebrities themselves. The idea to create “anti-celebrity” portraits was probably a reaction to my former career. However, they turned out to be even more beautiful and iconic. There is undeniably this attitude that is very real, in your face, a beauty that is hard to ignore. These would be my heroes that are missing from Art History.”
Russell Young has become one of the most collected and sought after artists of our time. Celebrities and the most discriminating collectors like Abby Rosen, the Getty’s, Elizabeth Taylor, David Hockney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, David Bowie and President Barack Obama have added Russell’s works to their collections. His larger than life screenprint images from history and popular culture are compelling, daunting, and undeniable.
Russell is married to actress and presenter Finola Hughes; they have three young children Dylan, Cash and Sadie, Russell lives and works in New York and California.
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