Russell Powell hosted his first east coast exhibit at One Art Space in New York on October 27, 2018. I was amazed at the art work on display and how Russell had done it by hand and used a new technology where people could use an app and be able to see how the work was done from start to finish. I had a chance to sit down with Russell Powell and talk about the his art work.
Angel Alamo: How did you get the idea to do art work by hand? How did you get started as an artist?
Russell Powell: As a self-taught artist, I’ve been teaching elementary school art for the past nineteen years in Campbell, outside my hometown of San Jose, California. I credit my students as a major source of inspiration for my work and the creation of my unique hand stamping technique. My method is to create a portrait on my hand and then transfer the image to paper. Hand stamping, which took over two and half years to refine, utilizes both color and black and white ink. Although each portrait is created on a raised surface, I strive to achieve as much detail as possible. Many of my subjects are historic figures, indigenous people and exotic animals. To showcase my passion, I founded Pangaean Studios in 2012.
AA: Was this your first art exhibit?
RP: This was my first east coast showing. I’ve had art exhibits throughout California, specifically in San Jose and Santa Clara. Most recently, I was proud to have a spread in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odd is Art book. In conjunction with the book launch, Ripley’s commissioned a special piece featuring the faces of 16 historic guitarists in the shape of a guitar. I was also featured on the cover of Content Magazine. Videos of my hand stamping process have garnered millions of views on popular social media platforms and have been applauded by celebrities including Rohan Marley, Run DMC, Cedric The Entertainer, amongst others.
AA: How did the art exhibit what was the reaction from people?
RP: People were very engaged with my work, which is what one hopes for as an artist. They were particularly excited about the augmented reality component introduced to the show through PhotoBloomAR. To see a final piece and then see the creation by pointing your phone at the work, is truly a unique experience.
AA: Do you plan on doing anymore? Will you be doing any more art shows in the future?
RP: Yes, I am planning a show in Lost Angeles in early 2019. Stay tuned to pangaeanstudios.gallery for upcoming details and new original works.
AA: Some of your art work features famous people who did the idea come about?
RP: At the 2016 Global Citizen Rally, I had the privilege of hand stamping a portrait of Nelson Mandela on attendees, which was displayed on stage during the Eddie Vedder and Beyonce performance. I also had the honor to gift hand stamp portraits to Malala and Ruby Bridges, two women whose contributions have advanced human and civil rights causes.
AA: How can people that may want to buy your painting or book you for an art show get in touch with you?
RP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a direct message via @pangaeanstudios on Facebook or Instagram or visit pangaeanstudios.gallery.