Art Critic Peter Frank's Essay: RANDI RUSSO: LINE AND PLANE TO SPACE

The new studio is open for showings! See pics below to get a sense of the surroundings. …but the actual viewing room… well, you’ll just have to see that in person… there’s such a good classy yet artsy, vintage vibe here.

I’ve timed this announcement of the new studio with the release of famed art critic and curator Peter Frank’s essay of my work. Click HERE to read it. Thought-provoking and intellectually poetic, it’s quite a good deal to chew on. It’s as substantial as the work is.

I liked many lines in the essay but love these: “…while reliant on the image of nature, Russo’s art is not about nature per se so much as it is about our perception(s) of nature, and equally about the nature(s) of perception. …There is a self-expressive aspect to [the work], to be sure; the ambitious reach of her line and the rhythmicality of her composition bespeak the vitality of a human mind and body making something.”

Peter Frank is a Los Angeles-based art critic and curator. He writes for Fabrik Magazine (as well as is the associate editor there), Huffington Post, and Angeleno Magazine. He was a long time critic for LA Weekly, as well as wrote for the Village Voice and Soho Weekly News. He has curated shows at Riverside Art Museum and the Guggenheim Museum.

To see the work in person, please contact me here to schedule an appointment.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Happy 2019! ...and 2018 wrap-up


As an artist, I believe honesty is the best policy. I’ve always felt comfortable being publicly vulnerable and giving a voice to those afraid to voice their ailments, illnesses, so-called shortcomings. People are still afraid to talk about mental illness. It’s getting better, a lot better, but still shockingly dismal progress in the obliteration of an unnecessary stigma.

Those close to me know that I suffer from crippling depression. I’m also considered a high-functioning depressive. I get a lot done and most don’t see the suffering I go through. …until this past year (so I presume)…

This is where my 2018 wrap-up comes in. While I’d love to say that I’ve completed another 15-20 pieces this year, it hasn’t happened (unless you count all the small pieces I’ve made). I’m still dealing with the grief of the loss of my mother, as well as the grief of so many other losses that I cannot begin to list here. But the loss of my mother is a big one. Whereas some people assumed that I’d be creating like crazy to unleash the feelings, I’ve crawled into a hole which made creativity very difficult to access. That being said,…

Somehow (mostly because of the help of a few wonderful individuals), I put together a solo show here in Los Angeles within only 14 months after moving here with all of the major family trauma going on and with the experience of a multitude of major losses. It was called Liminal Spaces (click link to get definition and read the short artist statement for the show). It was a success in a good number of ways.

That exposure lead to sales. As a businesswoman, this obviously was a great source of pride. To the outside, it looked like I was doing phenomenally well, while inside, I was in a lot of pain. I have been advised throughout my career to never speak of my suffering with depression, that people will not want to work with me because of it. My own gallery back in Chicago even doubted my ability to bring on a show when I showed them nothing but how amazingly I can get a lot done in a short period of time. They started to get to know me personally and saw how crippling the illness can be for me. But I delivered 15 great large paintings in time for my solo show with them in 2015. How could they doubt me after that performance? (Speaking of performance, I also co-wrote 10 songs during that time for that solo show; as well as worked on my own music and started recording 17 songs with my band). *Point Being — I Deliver.*

Which brings me to my next point, just because a person suffers from clinical depression or bipolar disorder, doesn’t mean they cannot get things done on time, do it better than those without a struggle, and actually soar. It’s just that we have to work extra hard when we do have short bursts of energy and motivation.

I know that my works done in 2017 and 2018 have yet to be posted here. I do need to find a professional photographer here who specializes in documenting artwork… I’m still learning the ropes in the massively sprawling, isolating town that is LA. I’m waiting for the bulk of paintings to come together before undertaking such a project, as it makes sense to do many paintings in one session, rather than constantly doing a few at a time. It’s good to leave this stuff to the professionals. As the saying goes, “If you want to be professional, you have to hire professionals.”

So here’s to a better 2019! I hope to be more creative, experience less grief and depression, and have an abundantly good year. 2018 wasn’t all bad… a good amount of sales came in and the value of the work has gone up. Let’s keep going in that direction, shall we?

JUNE SHOW! "Liminal Spaces" at Castelli Art Space in Culver City

            Industrial Pastures of the Present - mixed media on canvas, 58x78"

            Industrial Pastures of the Present - mixed media on canvas, 58x78"

 Trouble Finds Her (And Not the Other Way Around) - mixed media on canvas, 60x67"

 Trouble Finds Her (And Not the Other Way Around) - mixed media on canvas, 60x67"

It's here! Finally! My first solo exhibition in LA, Liminal Spaces, will take place from June 8th to 11th at Castelli Art Space in Culver City. The Artist Reception will be on Saturday, June 9th from 5-9pm. I will be there all day and night to show my works and talk to you about them; from 12-9pm on Friday and Saturday and from 12-6pm on Sunday and Monday. Other days that week are available by appointment.

If you are press or a gallerist/art advisor/curator, please inquire about the special preview showing by contacting me through this site.

More details later!!! So excited!

Definition: The Liminal Space -- "If you feel that you are anxiously floating in the inbetween perhaps you are in TheLiminal Space. The word 'liminal' comes from the Latin word limens, which means, 'threshold.' “… It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else." -- Dr. Carrie Barron, Psychology Today


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):

click above to see full featured article.

click above to see full featured article.

VIEWING of all paintings finally available!

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!



2017 zipping by...

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.

d  uality  show (Brooklyn, NY - August 10, 2017 - showcasing both art & music; art not pictured here)

duality show (Brooklyn, NY - August 10, 2017 - showcasing both art & music; art not pictured here)

Hangar Gallery group show (Santa Monica, July 8, 2017)

Hangar Gallery group show (Santa Monica, July 8, 2017)

Triumphs Take Time, even tiny triumphs... (and they're always temporary)

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. 

We're almost halfway through 2017 and...

...(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...

Each week through February, 10% of art & CD sales goes to a new charity: THIS WEEK: INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

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!

Last week, $225 was raised for Free the Slaves. The week prior, $520 was raised for Gilda's Club of Chicago and $520 for Imerman Angels.

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...