Star Dust: The Glittering Screen Prints Of Russell Young

August 13, 2023
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Russell Young I Like You I Miss You I Love You I Killed You Quad featured

Russell Young is a contemporary pop artist who works in the medium of photography and screenprinting. He was born in the UK in 1959, and studied at Chester Art College and Exeter College of Art. Early in life, he developed a fascination with American popular culture, and this led him to move to New York City after graduating.

He became well known for his portraits of celebrities from the worlds of movies and music. This led him eventually to Los Angeles, where he was in demand both as a music video director and as an album cover photographer. He is best known for his work with A list stars including Enya, Morrissey, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, and the late George Michael.

However, it is for his large scale silkscreen paintings that Young is most acclaimed. His breakthrough came with a series of screenprints titled the ‘Pig Portraits.’ These feature well known celebrities photographed in the style of a police mug shot. His subjects include Jane Fonda, Martin Luther King Jr., and Steve McQueen.

In some cases such as that of Sid Vicious, Young used an authentic police mug shot as his starting point for a piece of artwork. Commentators have praised Young’s ability to contrast the glamour of fame and stardom with the sometimes more tragic or darker reality of the star’s life.

This concept is perhaps best realised in his screenprints of Marilyn Monroe. Her iconic features are sprinkled with diamond dust, which are actually real diamond crystals embedded into the enamel of the prints. These cause the image to shimmer like a starry night, hinting at the enduring hold the glittering but doomed star has over our imaginations.


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