Biography of Russell Young
British-American Pop artist Russell Young is famous for his iconic renderings of the reality behind the American Dream. Young, who was adopted as a baby and grew up in Northern England, was drawn from a young age to the glamor of Hollywood. He fought to be a part of this alternative universe, and upon moving to London in the 1970s, established himself as a celebrity photographer. His portraits of Bjork, Bruce Springsteen and Diana Ross brought about a commission to photograph George Michael for his Faith cover. The album, which won a Grammy Award and sold over 25 million copies, shot Young to international stardom. Ever since, he has been photographing the world’s elite, ever-more in the role of Pop artist.
Russell Young’s most influential silk screens capture the darker side of the glitzy world that so lured him in as a boy. We see Marilyn crying, larger than life, we see Steve McQueen and Jimi Hendrix hauled into police stations. Young continues to produce photographs, screen prints and paintings revealing politicians, pop stars and supermodels out of the lime-light, weathered and weak.
In his aptly entitled series Dirty Pretty Things, Russell Young sprinkled the portraits of tragically-fated celebrities with diamond dust. The juxtaposition of the sparkling Pop aesthetic with his somber observations of contemporary American culture has become increasingly stark in Young’s work. After emerging from a week-long coma in 2010, he began looking ever more closely at the violence, pain and brutality that imbues our lives.
Besides being in the collections of many of the celebrities he has photographed, Young features in several public institutions note, such as the Albertina Museum in Vienna, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and the Saatchi Collection. Russell Young lives and works in New York and California, and exhibits prolifically at galleries and museums across the globe.