Original Ink Drawings
Singer songwriter, painter, essayist - Tom Russell earned a Master's Degree in Criminology from the University of California. With powerful and diverse artistic influences including traditional African, Mexican, and Native American art, coupled with a passion for the bold use of color and expressionism reminiscent of Fritz Scholder, Tom Russell began his commitment to painting in a secluded adobe studio in the Texas badlands along the Rio Grande. He also recently received the ASCAP Award of 2015 for outstanding achievement in music journalism.
After more than a decade of dedicated effort to his vision and craft, Russell's bold and colorful figures ranging from haunting to playful have come to life and resonate with a world-wide audience. Complex textures, patterns and unexpected colors unite an underlying tension within the subjects and their often historical context. Suggestions of buried stories rising to the surface.
Russell's published art book, Blue Horse Red Desert, The Art of Tom Russell, with its opening essay Paint and Blood, chronicles his journey from the war torn Nigeria of 1969, through the early years of his music career, to his realization that he had no choice but to write, make music AND paint.
He has recorded thirty five high acclaimed records, published five books which include: 120 Songs of Tom Russell, Tough Company - Letter with Charles Bukowski, Blue Horse Red Desert: the Art of Tom Russel, Blodsport a crime novel published by Aschehoug, Norway, and - And Then I Wrote: The Songwriter Speaks, with Sylvia Tyson.
Russell's songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin Jack Elliott, Ian Tyson, Iris Dement, Joe Ely and a hundred others. His current 52 track "folk opera" on the West: The Rose of Roscrae, was deemed: maybe the most important Americana record of all time by UK Fold, the top Folk album of 2015 by Mojo Magazine, and hailed in top ten lists in two dozen publications including The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on the David Letterman TV show five times.
This man is not simply a singer/songwriter who also paints, but a driven artist who does not allow his creative energy to be governed by the marketplace or defined, labeled and categorized for the convenience of others.