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Russell Young was born in 1959 in Yorkshire, where he was immediately put into a foster home, then a nunnery, and was adopted before reaching the age of one. No one knew who exactly his birth parents were, though there were rumors his mother was fourteen, and his father was from Italy. In Northern England, he spent much of his time moving from town to town and living an isolating existence. Here he would take his first photographs of birds on the lawn only for the film to come back developed so dark he could hardly make out the birds. Like these first photographs, Young’s life developed with areas blotted by abandonment. The lack of a personal or even a shared history has left him free to explore dreams and fantasies of sometimes better, sometimes harsher worlds. That yearning has resulted in a body of work that is an uncompromising, intimate love letter addressed to these vast reaches, which, with every passing inscription, are revealed to be rich, wild frontiers.

With few prospects other than working in the factory towns, Young lied about his age to attend art college at the age of fifteen. Had he not done so, he would have most likely moved to the streets of London and died. He moved to the capital five years later and caught the attention of photographer Christos Raftopoulos, whom he assisted for several years. Raftopoulos introduced Young to another side of himself, building him his own darkroom, taking him to the opera, showing him the limits of his life did not need to confine him or his work. During this time—still rough in nature and occasionally homeless—he photographed the early gigs of Bauhaus, R.E.M., and The Smiths. His innate eye for movement landed him photoshoots for magazines and eventually his first record sleeve cover for the 1986 album Faith by George Michael. 

Young continued to photograph celebrities and direct music videos, eventually leading him to the United States. The rock star aesthetic he had brandished in his photography lent itself to his earliest screen prints that followed in the 2000s. His first series, Pig Portraits, shown in Los Angeles in 2003, collected the infamous mugshots (real and staged) of celebrities awash in fame and monochrome but also restrained as a result of their actions. In his following series, Dirty Pretty Things, he began to incorporate his popular use of diamond dust. The glam shots of cultural icons, glittering in pulverized diamonds, embodied the lusts and aspirations of their eras. 

In the summer of 2009, Young went to the Greek island of Ithaca. Raftopoulos, who owned a home there, invited him to stay. The island served as a refuge. It led Young, who left behind his past and the expectations of his work on the shores of the mainland, to reclaim the feeling of isolation which had hounded him all his life. There, amongst ancient olive groves, he drenched himself in goat’s blood procured from a local butcher and pressed his body against linen. It was an outrageous performance meant for no one but himself. Like a blasphemous reimagining of the Turin Shroud, this feral and highly personal act marked a seminal turn. It began what would become an ongoing and visceral conversation between his body, memory, and the natural world. That conversation, however, was abruptly cut short the following year when Young contracted the H1N1 virus that put him into a coma for over a week. He nearly died. When he regained consciousness, he had to relearn to read and write, and he had forgotten the color green. When one of his children brought him a book of animals, he could hardly believe polar bears actually existed on our planet. 

What has followed from Young’s illness is the maturing of that conversation and a preoccupation with a central dilemma: the exact edge where boylike wonder falls into violent truth. In his first series of paintings after surviving his illness, Young pressed canvases down into pools of red shellac, letting the resin drip, smear, and splatter like wounds. In Helter Skelter, he repeatedly screen printed images taken from the Rolling Stones Altamont Free Concert to the point of abstraction, echoing the infernal, disorienting frenzy that ended in the death of Meredith Hunter and the era of free love altogether. The counterculture of Young’s youth, once a source of inspiration, was now also a source of trauma. In his wake, he even left behind his own bootprints. A year later, in his series Only Anarchists are Pretty, he cut out pornographic images of bound women and arranged them like the brutal machinations of a mechanic lining the walls of his garage with pinups. These crowded arrangements were given the names of the council estates he remembered in Northern England, places like Thorntree and The Lache, which had once threatened to overcrowd and entrap him. 

Recently, Young has begun to share his newest work that similarly draws from his childhood but also from a quieter strain of his usual endeavors. The screen prints of one series, set in a melancholy blue, depict turn-of-the-century photographs of animals that, if not already, will soon be extinct. In another, he enlarges paintings of Dutch Golden Age flowers to highlight the impossibilities of their unseasonal arrangements and their hidden messages. Both the animals and the flowers are evocative of an earlier Young, when he was awestruck by things that seemed out of reach and would do anything to grasp onto their truth. He is interested in secrets, those we keep, those we share, and those we are unwilling to confront. A rose petal might, upon a closer look, be riddled with holes. 

It is these holes Young’s work illuminates. The holes of trauma, of carnal desire, of memory and history. Through them, he allows us to see vistas. In these vistas there are no expectations, no rules. He roams wherever he wishes, always looking for a space in which to be free, to experiment, to examine life and death. They are lands from which he resurrects dead dreams and crafts alternative ones. They are lands where invented realities are spun out of an earnest hope to reimagine both himself and ourselves.

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A collection of paintings and recollections exploring the “American Dream” through a series of gritty, sparse yet beautiful images, that together create a “pop art cocktail” of the past three decades of American counter culture, as seen through the eyes of a young man growing up in the North of England, paired with the witty titles and biting satire of northern “football terrace” humour…”Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.”

A series of paintings exploring the dark side of the “American Dream” shining a light on the inevitable fall out and resulting chaos that comes from three decades of cultural excess the result being a brutal and brooding catalogue of character’s and events that both glamorise and chastise in equal measure…”shelve your western plans”.


Magnificent Seven

Jimi Hendrix

Mick Jagger

Elizabeth Taylor

Marilyn Crying

James Dean

Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon

Marlon Brando


Starring portraits of iconic, glamorous, and powerful women, these large-scale paintings celebrate a group of critical female entertainers, each of whom has influenced the artist throughout his life and continues to inspire millions. Young depicts his admiration for these “Femme Fatales” through striking portraiture in his definitive style, combining screen printing on linen with his recognizable diamond dust signature. Each of these original, hand-pulled works have been executed at a monumental scale, indeed making the women larger than life.

Femme Fatale explores Young’s ongoing love of pop culture’s and for the diverse talents of Young’s subjects that include Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, and Nina Simone. With this collection, the artist underscores the continuing importance and relevance of these women, now more than ever given the cultural tensions and political discourse in contemporary society.

In a statement, Young writes: “The women of Femme Fatale are women of intelligence, sex appeal, ridiculous talent. They are all activists, humanitarians and rebellious by nature.” He pauses and concludes with the cautionary, “They may cause death.”

Elizabeth Taylor

Gloria Swanson

Audrey Hepburn

Josephine Baker

Bridgette Bardot

Marlene Dietrich

Nina Simone

Crying Marilyn

Sophia Loren


“All night
She wants a young American
Young American, young American, she wants the young American
All night
But she wants the young American
Scanning life through the picture window
She finds the slinky vagabond
He coughs as he passes her Ford Mustang
But Heaven forbid, she’ll take anything
But the freak, and his type, all for nothing
Misses a step and cuts his hand, but
Showing nothing, he swoops like a song
She cries, “Where have all Papa’s heroes gone?”

David Bowie 1974

Kendrick Lamar

Andy Warhol


Pig Portraits is about the glamour in the dark side of crime, fame, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Culled from Police booking photographs commonly called Mug Shots, the colorful collection of Young’s ‘Pig Portraits’ subtly question the nature of photography, portraiture and the double-edged sword of celebrity itself. Juxtaposed against his earlier portraits, these images are sometimes considered ‘anti-celebrity’, when in fact, they create a bold tribute, demonstrating a youth and rebellion that we can all relate to and appreciate.



Sid Vicous


Frank Sinatra

Al Pacino + James Brown

Johnny Cash


American Envy

Goat Blood

Helter Skelter


Russell Young has long been fascinated by the dichotomy of the myth and reality of the “American Dream”, which he often personifies as Hollywood glamour in contrast with our “knowing” of the jaded reality of celebrity. As explored in his previous collections Fame+Shame, American Envy, and This Land is My Land, Young transforms cultural icons with his signature silkscreen process, his unique color and often a glittering diamond dust finish. It is a fantastical glorification, simultaneously presenting the viewer with the tragedy of it all; finite beauty and the loss of innocence.

Russell Young’s most important female icons, in his “Heroines Portfolio Collection” include Marilyn Superstar, Marilyn Portrait, Bardot and Jackie O.

Young’s first portfolio “Marilyn Portrait” which was released by Taglialatella Galleries last year and achieved a record price at the Christie’s auction of Prints and Multiples.

Who better to evoke a powerful sequence of emotions than Jacqueline Kennedy for Young’s second portfolio? The image chosen by Young is derived from a rare 1964 photograph of Jackie on what would have been the 47th birthday of the late JFK once of vision of youthful glamour and hope; First Lady to the most powerful man in the free world and then suddenly she is the symbol of national grief, and with time would come to symbolize the watershed moment when the hope of the 1960s was dashed at the dawn of the Vietnam War.

The portfolios are limited edition of twenty-five sets of four works (except Marilyn Super which has eight prints) on paper. All are hand-pulled unique variations with original colors mixed by the artist, each is enclosed in a black linen case with a hand-pulled silkscreen cover. Each portfolio contains a signed and numbered colophon sheet.






Brando Bike

Marilyn Hope

Muhammad Ali

Elizabeth Taylor



“I’m like that moth outside my room that every night flies into the light, it burns itself but continues to fly into the light to see if the outcome will be different”.

Russell Young 2013

These paintings mark a radical departure from the artists previous screen based works, borrowing their titles from the sinister and ironic rhetoric of the early cold war years that had filtered into the subconscious of the artist as a boy.

Los Alamos. Little Boy, Bikni Attoll….contrasted sharply with the grim housing project titles that shaped his environment…..Moss Side, Easterhouse, Nant Peris.

Whilst the British Broadcast Company warned a generation of children to protect themselves from the imminent threat of holocaust by lying prone beneath their school desks…. Young chose to stand up.








Young ongoing series of guns diamond dusted, printed in his own blood explores the fragility of life. At Miami Art Basel, the artist explored the negative side of our culture in a live performance. Young – soaked in sweat and tears – demonstrated his unique screen-printing style, using his blood to create screen prints of guns.

Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?

Al Pacino Scarface Gun

Elvis TCB Pistol

Elvis TCB Gun - Single