Well, I suppose all blogs are international but this one also puts out a magazine of artists all over the world. Hm, ok... some others do that as well... Regardless, here's the lovely feature (click to read full article):
I thought 2016 was a pretty atrocious year. A gallery, owned by people I trusted and felt were family, gave a show away that was promised to me as a 2nd solo show. I was working on canvases 7' long and being super productive... and they just gave it away without telling me (had to find out from an ex about it). I was devastated... enough for it to be a tipping point to leave cold, gray Chicago for sunnier, warmer days, out to conquer a new art market in LA, with the burned lesson of "getting it all in writing." I obviously had to leave that place, even if the loss of representation hurts me professionally. It's all temporary. There are other galleries, and always more collectors out there. The way I figure, I can only work with loyal people who value my work and value me as an artist. That's how all of us should work. Be nobody's doormat. So in the end, it'll likely be their loss, as my first quarter of 2017 showed...
So yeah, while my first quarter financially rocked (I made more in those three months with my art than I made in a year the previous year), I lost momentum once I moved to a very inhospitable climate (sprawling lands with no friends) and was struck by family tragedy on two fronts (both happening across the other side of the country). I may have spoken about it all earlier in these posts so I don't feel like getting into particulars. But as of a couple weeks ago, my mother has died. I can only hope that her spirit gives me enough strength to get back to art and music full gusto again, as she would've wanted.
I have made smaller pieces and worked on some medium ones. However, not much to create a "2017" page of its own like the other years; feels like it would pale majorly in comparison. Life sometimes gets in the way. This year bull-dozed me and I'm surprised I'm standing again (barely) after such a rough time. I can only hope that 2018 is wildly productive, despite the continuation of some heavy challenges with my own health and that of my aunt's (who is like a 2nd mother to me).
I'm a few weeks early wishing for a better year (for all)... but this year needs an early and repetitive push for such a year to come. And let's hope we get out the scoundrels in the WH as well. Viva la 2018!
This month I will be donating 10% of art sales to the Lustgarten Foundation of Pancreatic Cancer Research: https://www.lustgarten.org/. What makes this twice as good is that an anonymous donor is matching all donations (up to $100,000) for this month and next, so that 10% becomes 20%. Also, due to private funding, 100% of their donations go to pancreatic cancer research.
November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. My mother has been suffering and battling this illness for nearly four years, and the last few months have been devastating to witness. No one should have to suffer like this. Help us advance research for a cancer that doesn't get as much awareness and money as other illnesses do, yet it is one of the most deadliest, painful ones.
I know not everyone has the space in their homes for 5 -7 foot paintings, nor maybe the budget. So I realize some of you might be interested in something smaller. I admit that my website needs to be updated with many small works. I will try to get to that soon (and forgive that they'll be mobile phone pics and not pro pics at this time!).
There are so many small works that I'm sure I cannot do all, but I'll try to add what I can. Checking out my Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/randirusso) might give you an idea of some of the smaller works, as many have been posted there (in between my nature shots and cute kitty pics!).
To make this even more appealing to you: I will give an additional 5% to one of the organizations listed below. You get to choose from the list below.*
Please note that anything purchased after Nov 11th will need to be shipped in early/mid-December, due to me being in another city to be with my mom, so I'll be unable to ship the work if I'm not in LA. But know that I keep my word and get it to you as soon as I can. If purchased before Nov 11, then I will be able to get it out to you this week, depending on size (very large works involve outside sources and may have to wait until Dec to ship).
Thank you... and that's all for now.
*And here are the other organizations for 5% donations that you can choose from:
- The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence https://www.csgv.org
- International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org (heavy focus right now on refugees in Myanmar)
- Human Rights Watch: www.hrw.org
- Direct Relief: https://www.directrelief.org (Puerto Rico relief)
- Free the Slaves: https://www.freetheslaves.net
- Hirschberg Foundation (also a great Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation): http://pancreatic.org
Note regarding my work: I have an inventory list with details and pricing of large works and some medium-sized pieces, emailed upon request. Smaller works start at $175. Buyer pays shipping & associated costs (insurance, etc).
All purchases over $250 will get a Randi Russo CD of your choosing (out of print on 'still standing still' EPs; I have copies of all LPs -- while supplies last). Check out the website to hear & decide:https://www.randirusso.com/music. Under $250, and I can send you a ZIP link to mp3's of an album of your choice.
It's been a rough transition in LA, especially with all the family stuff going on (read entries below; it's heavy heavy). That being said, I finally have a proper storage and showing solution in LA! It's a lovely space in Glendale. Please contact me through the contact page to set up an appointment for viewing any works.
There are small to medium works in those boxes (don't worry, everything is properly stored with glassine paper and plastic!) and there are works on paper. And of course, the medium to very large paintings.
Large or small, I'm ready to show!
As this year zips on by for me (filled with some heavy stuff on the home front), I am slowly getting myself settled in my new town, Los Angeles. Frequent travel to both New York and Miami due to family crises and traumatic events have upset any sort of rhythm for settling in, creating, and all around feeling comfortable in strange, new, sprawling surroundings.
So this website doesn't have a little thumbnail yet for works created in 2017. I have been making art, but experimenting on smaller canvases due to my space limitations and time limitations. Life has a will of its own. The best creations come when we let things flow. We still work with the challenges within that flow when we're at work... but we have to let the river flow before we figure out how to direct its power. Because of "life getting in the way" (my mother in the last round of her fight with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and my recently dramatically paralyzed aunt -- my "2nd mom" -- post-stroke, leaving a formerly very active and spry woman completely incapacitated), I have found these challenges necessary to create a space for survival. Art and music are part of that, but so is rest, experiencing & processing grief, and helping with the many logistics that I believe are the duties of a conscientious, devoted daughter and niece.
So, as much as I was looking forward to taking this town by storm, once I got here, the storm got to me first. My aunt's massive stroke occurred one month into my move. That's when a difficult time in my life became extremely difficult. That's when my migraines took on an extremely foreign state that left me psychologically and neurologically paralyzed for weeks at a time, affecting my most basic life skills such as driving or holding a conversation. Being accidentally thrown off my own health insurance and fighting for my money back when my doctor repeatedly charged my credit card also set me back (and it was a brutal 3.5 month fight). Not to mention the minor car accident. There is a wave of upset in the Universe, of which I don't need to speak of all the awful things happening globally right now.
Returning to small world stuff -- I was fortunate enough to be invited into two group shows during this turbulent time in my life: one in LA (Santa Monica) and one in NYC (Greenpoint, Brooklyn). At the latter, I performed a handful of songs at as well. Below are a couple of pics of these summer shows. The real joy comes from meeting or reconvening with friends, new and old. Sure, it's a chance to show my work and bolster the CV... but mostly, the supportive people are who and what drive me. In addition to that though, there are some good things possibly on the horizon due to the Santa Monica showing... will keep you posted.
That's the update. I guess it's for those who wonder "where is 2017 on this website?" One day, I learn how to not project the judgment of others or feel the need for explanation or disclaimers. There are no 2017 works posted here (although you can see some on my Instagram page -- please follow me). I'm crazy busy fielding life's curve balls (I don't know much about baseball so maybe my expression is wrong?). Any caring human could understand that, yes? Those obsessed with the spoils going to the "go-getters" -- go get a heart... and a true-blooded life.
So things are starting to settle in a bit and I will finally be able to show my art here in LA. I've been invited to be part of a group show at HANGAR GALLERY in Santa Monica. The gallery is connected to the Santa Monica Art Studios near the small airport there. The opening is on Saturday, July 8th, 6-9pm.
More details are on my show page with a map and all.
Below that map are more details about an upcoming group show in Brooklyn, NY, called duality, that I'm a part of. I'm excited to be part of such a cool evening... SATURDAY, AUGUST 12th, 7pm-12am. Many details on that night are also on my show page. I plan on being in NY for it.
Thirdly, I will be part of another LA-based group show... details on that later. It's one that calls for a month of daily working on a single project to be displayed at the group show. The statement I submitted for this show goes as follows:
Shortly after an extremely stressful double-move from Chicago to LA (home and large art studio), I was hit with some very heavy family health crises, as well as my own struggle with health issues of my own. I felt like I made the wrong move, literally. But when I go walking in my strange surrounds, I see beauty everywhere... whether in a plant, flower or tree, or on sidings of dilapidated homes, patterns in broken sidewalks, industrial barbed wire holding back adolescent pomegranates, or concrete walls against the mountaintop sunsets when standing by the LA River. To say it in fewer words, these small paintings, mixed with poems, are about my turbulent first few months here and how my new surroundings created both a concurrent fear and calm in me.
How this project will come out, I have no idea. Today is day two. I'm working on digital collages from photos and hope to incorporate it into my paintings. I'll have to see how the poetry fits in all of this, as I am writing a good deal. I'm banking on this project leading me to bigger works of art based on my work here. The move to LA, California... with her desert plants with their exotic fruits and small Spanish-style homes surrounding me, making a deep new groove in my decades-old urban-developed brain. LA is such a strange place after NYC and Chicago. This strangeness is what this next project is all about. The landscape here, by the LA River in particular, will inspire my next series.
The inclusion in these shows has given me a spring in my step and hope for my new beginnings here.
...(sigh) and... well, I haven't posted any new art here. I can tell you that I've made some small pieces and should add them to the small works page on the site (will do... I'm way behind on adding things to that page). But I haven't finished any large works, though two were close to finished before I left for LA and one of them is quite a lovely new favorite of mine; the other, I should have left well enough alone. I posted a 'work in progress' pic on instagram of it several months back and it's gotten the most likes of anything -- but I've destroyed it by going in and in and in with the paint, and now have to work out the mess I've made. I do have some finished medium works (a bunch of 24x48's) but will hold off on creating a "2017" page until I have more to show.
This year started out tough from the get-go: I was tied-up with the charity art events I planned and hosted, a Cornelia show, and then packing up my art (CRAZY amount of inventory), and then the actual colossal double move of home and studio, then working on finding a home in LA and getting settled... then upended by a tragic family setback (which took me out of LA for a total of 2 weeks soon after moving here), and trying to get settled some more as if none of the bad stuff happened (which is not something one can even begin to pretend).
I had trouble picking up the paintbrush and the guitar during these many months in 2017. There was either no time or no sense of self during moments of duress, which there have been way too many of lately. It's been more like months of duress as opposed to moments. Actually, take that quite literally. There were a few days in May here and there when I made good progress on a painting for my aunt, which I started after her massive stroke, but I lost momentum when the stress of the current state of affairs took over. Only last night, did I start to work on two small pieces after weeks of nothing.
And music... ahhhh, music! (sweet music)... I finally picked up the guitar tonight in real way (in other words, I'm not going to count the two or three times that I picked it up in vain for a tuning and a 5 minute session of forced play, followed by gut-wrenching sadness over "losing the gift" -- have I learned nothing from my 20s?). I played for real, as in realtime cathartic, focused playing. My heart was in it, and it hadn't been in it in months... many months. I'm almost ashamed to say how many but I remember the last time I played live and it was two songs at a friend's art show. The circumstances surrounding that night (associated with a spirit-breaking loss that I honestly don't think I'll ever fully recover from) kind of put a hex on my singing and playing... it's like when you read about those cases where people experience something traumatic and stop speaking. I had experienced something personally awful that killed something in me. I was able to use that event (and the power of my voice and song) as my blow back but it left me winded and pained... and then I just stopped singing, writing, playing my own songs for many months.
So tonight, I feel like I came back from the dead. No joke. The power of music and whimsy of the muse. Oh yeah, and I painted some today too. So my sense of self (after feeling robbed of it roughly a year ago) had a taste of the return.
There's no telling what tomorrow may bring... and that really means anything...
It’s kinda strange…
I don’t know of any cockroaches with butterfly wings
But I soar and I tear, fragile, yet staunchly agile
Survivor of black death down drown the Blue Butterfly, winged horn,
Will the touch of an imagined hand get you through to the morn?
Already mourning losses in progress
And great depths of waters don’t touch the wings of butterflies or the legs of roaches
And yet they drown in my heart, flooding the noah’s ark of charted terrors.
I had a very close friend who passed away almost three years ago. He was such a dear friend to me that I think of him everyday, several times a day, and I miss him terribly as I go through a new phase of my life. He, of all people who could tell me not to complain (he had one of the most tragic lives of anyone I've ever known), would always listen patiently to me and with love.
He had a song (has? ...songs do live on) called "Lost in Transition" and it's been playing through my head a lot lately. His song was about being lost between being a boy and a man, as he struggled to find himself after his father's early death (when my friend was only 17). My friend David was so smart and talented, and although the verses sing about all the particulars, the chorus sang the universals, as the best songs have both those elements as part of the DNA in the lyrics.
In a world where people post all the good things, the happy things, the things that can spur on feelings of inadequacy in so many people... I just long for a world that is real. Real everywhere... online too. Right now, I feel like I'm apologizing for this post and I don't want to apologize for it. I don't want to apologize anymore...
Here is David Lang's song "Lost in Transition" (I'm sure he wouldn't mind me posting). He recorded all the parts himself on a 4-track cassette-recorder, ping-ponging all the tracks down to get more than four. He was the first person to show me how to record and even gave me his 4 track recorder years ago... over 20 years ago.
He was quite young when he wrote and recorded this, without all the home technology people have today (there I go, apologizing again! But it's true, listen to the song beyond the recording quality). This may be circa 1994 or 1995...
Thank you, David, for being a wonderful friend. I miss you.
Whether a forever home or not, I'm not sure... but LA is home for now. I moved out of Chicago on March 30th. To say I'm still adjusting to the new reality would be an understatement. I will write more when I'm not so tired. Dora (my sweet kitty) and I are still getting acclimated to the initial acclimation. Apt hunting will be on the agenda for the next couple of weeks. Once I find a place, I'll be back in my element and able to begin making art and music again... and, seriously, I. CANNOT. WAIT!!! The constant gut-wrenching feeling of the Unknown always is good fodder for art and music. Looking forward to beginning again.
Just wanted to thank all those who came out last night for my last show at Cornelia. And of course I want to thank the artists there who have taught me so much and have given me a great community to work in and to be a part of. Thank you. You made these last 4.5 years wonderful. I will miss you all and miss the support and guidance. And to the friends and supporters of the arts (and supporters of my work)...I have no words. The gratitude runs so deep -- you know who you are. 🙏✨🙏✨🙏❤️
All art will be wrapped up this week... Chicagoans, if interested in anything, contact me as soon as possible. Save on shipping! :)
This Friday will be the first Spring Open Studios Night at the Cornelia Arts Building, where I've worked and grown as an artist for over four years now. I will miss this place -- and the amazingly talented, kind, generous people who are a part of it -- dearly.
THIS WILL BE MY LAST ART SHOW HERE IN CHICAGO BEFORE I MOVE TO LA! Please come out and show your support. Last chance to see my work here and to say goodbye.
There will be art on two floors from over 40 artists. The event is FREE and ALL AGES! From 6-10pm. Food truck in the parking lot!
As some of you have been following, I've been giving a portion of my sales to charities since January of this year. Currently, through March 9th, 10% of sales will go to the Anti-Defamation League. So far, money has been raised for Gilda's Club of Chicago, Imerman Angels, Free the Slaves, International Rescue Committee, and the ADL (I hope to add more to this upcoming donation!). On March 10th, all monies on that day will go to the Randi Russo insanely-expensive-move Moving Fund -- it's a worthy cause, I assure you.
All art will be wrapped up after the show. Make your appointments now for this week if you'd like to see anything privately. Availability is limited.
Below are some pics that collectors had sent me of my work in their homes. For those lacking wall space, I have many smaller pieces available, plus work on paper. Please come by and don't be shy!
Hope to see you Friday! (or before, if you'd like to make an appointment!)
Oh! Details: Friday MARCH 10th, 6-10pm at the Cornelia Arts Building - click link for map.
How is it March already?! It's those sneaky 28-sometimes-29 days of February that we know about, yet they always throw us for a loop!
So this week's charity: The Anti-Defamation League. 10% of the profits from sales of art and music will go to the ADL. Fight hatred by supporting the arts! It's a win-win (yep, there's that phrase again!).
I'll be extending the donation period until MARCH 9th.
On March 10th, Cornelia Arts Building, where I have my studio, will be having an Open House. Our first one of the Spring! I'll share the invite in another post. In a nutshell, 40+ artists open up their studios to the public... it's free and all ages. There's a food truck in the parking lot (you gotta pay for that food) and food in the studios. All funds raised through the sale of my art & music that particular night are going to the Randi Russo Moving Fund... my move to LA is 2-3x's more than what I expected due to the amount of large art I need to ship. So again, support the arts and help out a stressed-out woman with letting her keep all of the dough this night. :)
Pictured below: Two paintings of mine currently up at the Cornelia Arts Building:
I just learned this was recently aired! Nell's Kitchen is a four part music audio documentary hosted by Nell Bryden.
The fourth part features Antifolk (1: Jazz/Harlem, 2: Disco/midtown, 3: Folk/Greenwich Village (west village), 4: Antifolk/LowerEastSide (east village))
Listen to songs by Michelle Shocked, Ani DiFranco, Lach, Roger Manning, Jeffrey Lewis, Prewar Yardsale, Regina Spektor, Moldy Peaches (Kimya Dawson & Adam Green), and yours truly, Randi Russo (I'm in the earlier/middle part of the broadcast).
And listen to extensive interviews of Jeffrey Lewis and myself (separately). Nell goes through the history through interviews and songs... Listen here... it's up for another 25 days!
My song, Dead Citizen (from the album Solar Bipolar) was featured along with the interview:
From Jan 30th to Feb 5th, 10% of all art and CD sales will go to the International Rescue Committee. Whether you buy art/music or not, I would love for you to donate to this wonderful organization!
Do good in this world. Always do good.
UPDATE! I would love to give as much as possible to the IRC because I've followed this organization for so long and I'm a huge fan of what they do, so I'm extending the 10% donation to go to them through the end of February. Stay tuned for March's charity...
The charity event that I had hosted at my studio a little over a week ago went well! I am proud to say that over $1000 was raised to go to Gilda's Club of Chicago and Imerman Angels through the sale of my art. Both are wonderful support organizations for those affected by cancer (whether you're a fighter, survivor, or affected family member). Go to www.gildasclubchicago.org and imermanangels.org to read more about them.
Because of this event, I have decided to continue giving 10% of my proceeds from art sales to a new charity each week until I pack up for LA (which will be soon).
So from January 23rd-29th, 10% of all art sales (including CD sales) will go to Free The Slaves, an organization I had been following and giving to since my MUSE days (Musicians Unite for Social Equality, a not-for-profit organization that I started over a decade ago that raised a little money but unfortunately never properly got off the ground).
Over 21 million people around the world are currently enslaved (I've heard estimates close to 30 million people worldwide, but I'll go with the latest numbers on their site). Twenty-six percent are children. You can read more about their important work here: http://www.freetheslaves.net
January is Slavery & Trafficking Prevention Month. Please help this cause, whether you buy art or not.
If interested in setting up an appointment for viewing art this week, please email me. Online sales will count as well. If you have something specific in mind that you don't see, just ask... it's possible that I have something similar to what you may be looking for but it's not up on the website. www.randirusso.com
Thank you and please keep giving... in whatever way you can. This is the only way we can fight the powers that would like to see our humanity crumble.
Please join me in my studio for this special art & charity event...
Saturday, January 14th, 4:30-7:00pm (public hours)
at the Cornelia Arts Building, Studio 209
As some of you may know, I will be moving to LA soon! I'd like to give people an opportunity to view my work before I leave, and of course I'd like to give many of my pieces new homes!
In addition to selling art, I would like to give back. I will be donating 10% of all of the profits to Gilda's Club of Chicago and another 10% to Imerman Angels.
You can read about the organizations here: www.gildasclubchicago.org |www.imermanangels.org
Both organizations are Chicago-based and there will speakers from each one giving a short talk.
There will be some refreshments... not much because the art will literally be wall-to-wall!
Feel free to invite friends and family who have an interest in art, and especially share with those who are looking for pieces to brighten up their homes or offices!
Hope to see you!
Hoping 2017 is much, much better than 2016, which was one of the worst years I've had personally in almost a decade. Onward and upwards... LA is around the corner! Looking forward to sunshine and warmth to bake out the chill that settled into my bones in my last year here in Chicago. Chicago is a great city and there are many wonderful, heartwarming, eye-opening people here... but some of what I thought was so wonderful & reassuring ended up breaking my heart, and the dreary gloom that sets over the city this winter has been with me since late last spring...
March cannot come soon enough...
May this truly be a HAPPY, NEW year for all.
Just wanted to wish you all Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year! We all deserve it after a rough 2016. ...so much heartbreaking loss this year.
Some news I'd like to share with you (in case you didn't read an earlier post!)... I'll be leaving Chicago for LA in early 2017! I've had a good run here with a solo art show, a bunch of group shows, a handful of performances in some great venues, and most importantly, met some wonderfully amazing people along the way (you know who you are!). And I had the opportunity to get to know my Chicago-based cousins better and get closer to my extended family, who are very dear to my heart. But, all that being said, I've had some very difficult trials here (such is life) and one needs to be attuned to when it's time to move on... and that time is now.
I'm looking forward to more sunshine and warm weather. New art scene. New art friends. New music scene, new music friends. Closer to more family. Closer to many of my lifestyle preferences out there. It'll be a good thing, I hope/think/gather.
Wishing all much love and light for 2017 and beyond...
Finally! I've been working on this website off and on for a couple of weeks, after years of having "build a new website" on my to-do list. No one knows why inanimate things move on their own time frame despite us trying to push them along. As I keep trying to tell myself that time is just an illusion...
Um, I realize that this is not really done... but 98% there is pretty good for now. ;)
Random pic of my kitty cat, Dora... Enjoy...