I reside in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and I have been working as a graphic designer for nearly 15 years. Though I enjoy making a living being creative, its my personal work that drives my imagination and fuels my soul.
I take inspiration for my art from the surrealists. I'm particularly fascinated by the double images many artist's invoke in their artwork - how you can look at those pieces and always find something new hidden within them.
When I was a child, I often laid on my back and stared up at the clouds and would see shapes and images floating high above me. Often times, complete scenes would unfold in front of me. I try to bring that same idea into my own artwork. Look closely and you will find "hidden images" that were originally unnoticeable.
What medium or mediums do you work with?
The approach I take with my artwork is very distinct, in that I incorporate numerous photographs into a very unique composition. Utilizing anywhere from six to two dozen images or more, I build a piece up in Photoshop. At times when layering the images, other images can be noticed, and I will adjust the highlights and shadows adding some digital paint to make the piece more cohesive. With a vivid imagination I try to present the essence of staring at clouds within my own artwork. If you look at the shadow shapes and highlights within the image, other objects will start to take focus.
How long have you been an artist? How did you get started?
I have always had a passion for art, even from a very early age. I was the go to person in the family when someone needed a poster drawn for a school project. When my older brother was in first grade, and I was in preschool, he had to draw a picture of his house for a class project. As he sat across the table from me, working on his drawing, I began working on my own drawing - an exact mirrored version of his.
Do you have any formal training or are you self taught?
It's a little of both actually. I've always had a passion and drive for learning and teaching myself art. When I was a kid, I filled out the form for the "Draw Me" images in the middle of a magazine. You remember they used to have a pirate, and a furry cartoon character, etc displayed in the ad. Well I convinced my mom to let me try and I was accepted to the Art Instruction School based out of Chicago at a young age. After high school, I studied for a degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. I am mostly self taught at using Photoshop and other graphic programs though. I constantly read magazines and websites on new tips and techniques.
Do you have any favorite art supplies that you would like to recommend?
A sketchbook is a must have for any artist! Though I do the majority of my work on the computer, the original idea always gets put down into my sketchbook. I have pages filled with ideas of trying to establish a composition for a particular piece. Before you do any work on the final piece, always flush out the idea in your sketchbook.
Do you work with any specific styles or subject matter?
My style is very unique. There are always reoccurring motifs that are in most of my works as well, such as celestial images, and Celtic knotworks. And of course you will always find something hidden throughout all of my artwork.
Can you recommend any books videos or other resources that will help new artists?
I always look for Call for Artists, and some of the sites I frequent for these are: http://www.artcalendar.com/, http://www.asingularcreation.com/list.htm, http://www.artdeadlineslist.com/, and http://www.findartinfobank.com/home.html as well as frequently checking out local art blogs and gallery websites in the area for news and press releases.
How do you get ideas to create a piece? What inspires you?
There's a store just down the street from me that I can purchase ideas from for just a few dollars, or for something mind blowing it's a minimum of twenty bucks. Just kidding, I'm a day dreamer and thoughts just come to me; sometimes when I'm commuting home from work, sometimes in the middle of the night when I'm asleep. When something "wows" me in my own head, I have to immediately jot it down in my sketchbook.
Are there any artists that have influenced you and why?
Salvidor Dali is a huge influence on me, with his pieces that are double images and the dream aspects of his pieces. Though I don't prescribe to his methods, his vision helped guide me to my particular style.
Do you have a website you would like to share?
My website is www.RussMcIntosh.com
Finally do you have any last words of advice for beginner artists?
Never give up on your art. Someone once told me the following, "the vast majority of the public looks down their noses at artists, so for your own peace of mind and artistic indentity be like Dali be like Basquiat, say "f#[% the bourgeoisie" and do what an artist does - stand up for your art and make no apologies in doing so."