JK Russ Major Player in US Art Scene
New Zealand-born artist JK Russ is included in a Los Angeles Confidential feature “spotlight[ing] and celebrating the freshest, boldest artistic talent” from each of the 11 American cities in which the magazine publishes.
“From Aspen to Washington, DC; LA to NYC; and for art connoisseurs and enthusiastic voyeurs alike, we’re delighted to reveal the diversity and richness of America’s emerging artists with in-depth profiles and a rare glimpse into the creation of their portfolios.
“Russ is known for her collages, surreal landscapes that are imbued with a disconcerting sensuality – imagine Dalí meets Georgia O’Keeffe. Now based in Las Vegas, she has two favourite hideouts in the city, both central to her work: secondhand bookstores and burlesque shows. She hunts down underground burlesque shows, often held in neighbourhood bars, as a source of inspiration. In fact, she calls them places of creative expression and female empowerment.
“‘I love showgirls, but in burlesque you can be all sizes and shapes,’ Russ explains, though she says she’s never been tempted to join a troupe herself.
“As for secondhand bookstores, that’s where she trawls for the old magazines that form the raw materials for those collages. She’ll buy anything she finds visually arresting, but is especially keen on 1960s and 1970s pornography. With its colour saturation and acres of flesh, it’s especially well suited to her aesthetic.
“And her composite worlds of fashion and the desert landscape in saturated hues evoke the overt sexuality and commerce in an otherworldly natural environment that is the reality of Las Vegas. Prepping for a piece, Russ will often rip through a pile of recent purchases, blade in hand. ‘I have envelopes with legs, arms, lips, and flowers,’ she confesses, “Once they’re cut out, they get put in a little categorising system.’”
Russ is a featured artist and blogger with the Huffington Post.
Russ graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from MIT Faculty of Creative Arts in Auckland. She moved to Las Vegas in 2010.
Original article by Los Angeles Confidential, July 1, 2015.
Photo by L.E. Baskow.