Russell Young | Marilyn Desire 

Russell Young is a British artist residing in the US. He is an internationally acclaimed pop artist best known for his compelling larger-than-life diamond dust silkscreen print images from history and popular culture.

Russel Young – early life

Russell Young was born in 1959 in Yorkshire. During his childhood, he became interested in photography and went on to study photography, film, and graphic art at the Chester Art College under Jack Straw. He credited Straw as having “showed him out of the darkness and brutality of Northern England”.

Russel Young – Photography

When he later moved to London, he worked as an assistant to photographer Christos Raftopoulos who encouraged Young to take on his own projects. Young started photographing the live club shows of Bauhaus, R.E.M. and the Smiths. This work led to commissions from magazines and record companies and a move to the USA. In 1986, Russell Young shot the sleeve for George Michael’s album ‘Faith’, which sold over 25 million copies. He went on to other high-profile portrait commissions for other musical artists, as well as directing one hundred music videos during the glory days of MTV. His portraiture includes stars such as Morrissey, Björk, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Diana Ross.

Russel Young as a fine artist

Despite his success in the music world, he became disenchanted the industry. In the early 2000s, his first solo exhibition, ‘Pig Portraits’, depicted raw celebrity mug shots. This series was about as different from his previous portraits as he could get. It steered clear from the airbrushed images which were so popular at the time and that he had sought to achieve in his music videos. It included screen prints of Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more.

These works “attacked the nature of photography, portraiture and prickly nature of celebrity itself.” Although they were the opposite of the work that he had created before, they turned out to be even more beautiful and iconic. The series brought him to the attention of the art world and launched his career as a fine artist. 

“Most of my work deals with two aspects – fame and shame.”

Russel Young – Work with diamonds

He has followed Pig Portraits with other well-received series, including Rebel Rebel, Shoplifters of the World Unite, Dirty Pretty Things, Bankrobber, American Envy, Only Anarchists are Pretty, and others.

In 2007, Young started using diamond dust in his creations. He presses crystals into the enamel of the prints. As such, no two diamond dust pieces are exactly alike, as the crystals are applied individually to each work. Young’s Dirty Pretty Things series focuses on one of history’s most influential celebrities: Marylin Monroe. In enamel black and cream silkscreen, Young captures the depth of her pain, while adding glamour through diamond dust.

His diamond dust silkscreen paintings have acquired a huge and illustrious fan base – Abby Rosen, the Getty’s, Elizabeth Taylor, David Hockney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, David Bowie and President Barack Obama all have examples of Russell’s works in their collections.

Russell Young at Fellows

To celebrate the Spring Fine Jewellery auction, Fellows has teamed up with Box Galleries to display Marilyn Desire during our jewellery viewing. The April Fine Jewellery auction features mid-century designers such as Kutchinsky, David Thomas, Tiffany & Co., and many more. We are delighted to be able to showcase such a beautiful piece of work in such a fabulous setting. What could be better than an icon of mid-century Hollywood glamour covered in diamonds, surrounded by jewels from her heyday?

Russell Young Marilyn Desire

Signed Limited Edition Enamel Black and Cream Silkscreen with diamond dust.

95cm x 120cm.

Edition 7/45.


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