We had the good fortune of connecting with robert russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi robert, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Work begets work by Richard Serra. This quote says everything there is to know about any art practice. There is no amount of thinking that will produce an artwork. Great works come only from doing, not from thinking.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m often told that I am a skillful or talented painter and I always find this to be a bit inaccurate or even undermining. I really don’t think that I have any special talent or skill. I think that I make good decisions about the projects that I work on and the marks that I make. I’m practiced enough to know what to keep and what to scrap in a work. I have learned to not get too precious or sentimental about the work, If something sucks I’ll scrap it, paint over it or destroy it completely. An art practice is a frustrating thing. The work happens in private, over countless hours and involves lots and lots of failure. What leaves the studio is only what remains presentable and the final object hides this massive struggle. I have learned over the years that this struggle is in fact the practice – the final work, if it’s any good at all is always a miracle.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles is challenging. You can’t just walk into the places where the most exciting stuff is happening. You have to have a community as all of LA is going on inside of peoples studios, homes, offices, garages, laptops, etc. I would throw my friend into my car and go visit studios where my friends are working. If it’s not 100 degrees outside I’d take them to griffith park to walk the trails. I would take them to the beach to stare at or jump into the waves. I would take them to eat at Little Pine, Crossroads, Nic’s on Beverly or Sage which are my favorite vegan spots in town.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout to my teacher at CalArts, Charles Gaines who has encouraged me over the years to keep working despite what can at times feel as though the practice is happening in a total vacuum.

Website: http://www.robertrussell.net

Instagram: Robertrussellworks

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