Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Randi Russo and I was born and raised in New York but now I work and reside in Los Angeles, CA for the past year. Before that I was a working professional artist in Chicago, IL for five years.
I remember feeling and knowing I was an artist at a very young age. I was about three or four years old when a memorable sensation came over me after I made a drawing of a rabbit. I knew then that I was an artist without any conscious, word-based acknowledgment. I had a passion for art early on and my parents took me to museums often. As a young child, I took painting classes in a woman’s basement and then took classes at a small painting school as a teenager. I followed this passion through college, where I was a painting major for a short period of time at Washington University in St. Louis, but ended up with a degree in psychology at NYU. After graduation, I put art on the side and had a career in music for over a decade until I moved to Chicago in 2012, where I did both music and art, but it was my success in art that quickly surpassed any success I had in music. I was thrilled to have become a professional artist in a new town with a new life.
Tell us about your works, we would like to know more about them. What materials do you use?
My paintings are what I often call lyrical abstractions. The line work ties together a composition of shapes. I play with what is foreground and what is background, making the eye constantly see something new. The shapes move in new directions if you look at them long enough. I use mostly acrylic paint and watercolor pencils. Occasionally, I will paint with oils. Most of my works are quite large scale.
What inspires you most in your work?
I am often inspired by the shapes that exist in nature. The plant life and trees in Los Angeles give me endless inspiration. Some of them look like they are from out of this world. And I will always be inspired by post-war artists like deKooning, Gorky, Kandinsky and more. Some artists’ styles are nothing like mine and I’m endlessly in awe of their works such as Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Grace Hartigan, Robert Motherwell, Cecily Brown. I could go on and on and on…
Do you plan your work in advance, or is it improvisation?
I never plan in advance. My process is intuitive. I do get into numbers and may make canvases of certain ratios or sizes based off of numbers important to me. That’s about the most planning I do. Otherwise, I go straight at it and attack the canvas with big shapes and color, usually drawing on it before going to the paint – but not always. What begins is very free and then becomes tighter and more layered as I work through the challenges that good composition calls for.