my story

I studied civil engineering to teach me how to think. I hustled day in and day out to better myself, constantly reading, constantly striving for greatness, constantly learning new strategies and creating new routines. I immersed myself in personal development books and began visualizing what I wanted in life so I could make my goals a reality.

While in college, I began traveling. I fell in love with adventure and started celebrating the beauty of the world and its amazing people, places and experiences. 

While working full time as a construction superintendent, I entered my first art show in Rockport, Massachusetts in the summer of 2011. I was both excited and scared. When all 3 paintings I entered sold the first weekend, it was like I struck gold.

I decided to create my first online art gallery and shop.

In 2013, GSV Capital, a Silicon Valley-based investment firm, started their art collection by hiring me to produce vibrant portraits depicting influential innovators from the past 150 years. Creating the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, Apple founder Steve Jobs, and NHL great Wayne Gretzky (to name a few), GSV Capital celebrates the contributions and wisdom of these legendary figures, along with the pioneering outlooks that propelled them to exceptional heights. 

Inspired by thought leaders, GSV Capital has gifted my vibrant portraits to former Governor Jeb Bush, Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings, NBA legend and businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson, historic football coach and motivator Lou Holtz, 38th U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, among many others. 

Today, my art is collected in countries around the world. My work has garnered the respect given to a master painter, witnessed by the numerous commissions and accolades I have received in the field of people and sports.

Yet, nothing is better than the grateful recognition I receive from those who commission my work ––those who have given to society, the example of their greatness–– as they experience the legacy preserved in a Derek Russell work of art.

my painting style

I bring my unique combination of talent, personality and high energy to every painting I participate in. I'm a visual storyteller - I tell my stories with a shower of brash, vibrant color.

When I paint, I enter into a space where time seems to stop. And I connect to the root energy of my subjects.

With a working knowledge of color application and balance, I begin with an observation of the design and composition, the negative and positive shapes, then apply my colors with a sensitive hand. I utilize textures to help create a mood, and a variety of strokes, including impasto to emote strong emotion. By varying the direction of brushstrokes, I am able to add character, movement, energy, and life to the painting.

I usually paint on Masonite or MDF board coated with a polymer ground and covered with oil and acrylic paints, all in vivid color. When viewing my work at a close range, areas are broken up and fit together only at a distance. As you advance toward my painting, it becomes more abstract, more fluid, and as you move away, it falls into focus and is realistic. At no two distances will the painting appear the same.

I have developed a dynamic way of combining abstraction with realism. In this technique, I am able to make the action within the painting as intense and exciting as it actually is in your direct experience.

The quality of my work and my popularity rank me among the most successful and popular current American painters.

Public Collections

Mayer Brown LLP                                                                  Washington, DC

California African American Museum                                     Los Angeles, California

Purvanchal Silver Estate                                                          Noida, India

Graham Holdings Company                                                   Washington, DC

U.S. Department of Commerce                                               Washington, DC

Global Silicon Valley Capital                                                  Woodside, California

St. Paul's School                                                                     Concord, New Hampshire

University of Connecticut                                                        Storrs, Connecticut

Northern Composites                                                              Hampton, New Hampshire

Benilde - St. Margaret's School                                               St. Louis Park, Minnesota 

Private Collections

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Monrovia, California

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC - Canada

Calgary, AB - Canada

Glendale, New York

Cleveland, Ohio

Stavanger, Rogaland - Norway

Singapore, Singapore - Singapore

Vanloese, Copenhagen, Denmark

Kita, Japan

Ogden, Utah

Venus, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Morganton, Georgia

Lake Orion, Michigan

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

St. John, US Virgin Island

St. Thomas, US Virgin Island

Blanc, Michigan

Johnson, Rhode Island

St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Brooklyn, New York

Fort Huachuca, Arizona

Atlanta, Georgia

Fairhope, Alabama

West Palm Beach, Florida

North Providence, Rhode Island

Laurel, Maryland

Jacksonville, Florida

North Waterboro, Maine

West Seneca, New York

Castle Rock, Colorado

Wellsville, Kansas

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Burnsville, North Carolina

Valrico, Florida

Bateman, WA - Australia

Bala Cywnyd, Pennsylvania

Chicago, Illinois

Stone Mountain, Georgia

Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Tacoma, Washington

New York, New York

Canberra, ACT - Australia

Bowie, Maryland

Houston, Texas

Eagan, Minnesota

Darien, Illinois

Bloomer, Wisconsin

Elkridge, Maryland

Denver, Colorado

Shepherdsville, Kentucky

San Jose, California

Avon, Ohio


Aurora, Colorado

Cincinnati, Ohio

Silver Springs, Maryland

Bend, Oregon

Levittown, Pennsylvania

Lynn, Massachusetts

Batavia, New York

Nashville, Tennessee

Meridian, Mississippi

Hampton, New Hampshire

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Calistoga, California

Menlo Park, California

Arcadia, Florida

Washington, D.C.

Montgomery, Alabama

Miami, Florida

Anchorage, Alaska

Dallas, Texas

Washington, D.C.

Algonquin, Illinois

Wichita, Kansas

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mattoon, Illinois

Las Vegas, Nevada

Los Angeles, California

Draper, Utah

Richmond, Texas

Gloucester, Massachusetts

Newport, Rhode Island

Courtenay, BC, Canada

Silicon Valley, California

Allenstown, Pennsylvania

Haverhill, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

Londonderry, New Hampshire

Lee, New Hampshire

New Boston, New Hampshire

Nokomis, Florida

San Diego, California

Laguna Hills, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Phoenix, Arizona

Havre, Montana

Naples, Florida

Austin, Texas

Monroe, Louisiana

Selected Publications

April 2018 - MLK Diversity and Outreach Ad, 2018 National ILG Conference Program Book,

January 2018 - MLK Magazine Cover, Allnite Communications Weekly Magazine,

January 2018 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Cover Image, MLK Jr. Week, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Mount Hermon, Massachusetts

January 2018 - Dr. King Cover Image, Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, Los Angeles, California

January 2018 - MLK Cover Image, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 2017 - MLK, Diversity and Inclusion Training Event, US Department of Energy

December 2017 - MLK Featured Article, Allentown Art Museum, Quarterly Magazine, Allentown, Pennsylvania

November 2017 - "Dream Keeper Award", Cover Image, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina

October 2017 - "Martin Luther King, Jr.". Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford. Stanford, California

October 2017 - “Freedom City 2017”, Magazine Cover. Issuu Magazine

Spring 2017 - "Social Responsibility Report", Cover Image, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Four Times     Square | New York

Spring 2017 – “The Global Silicon Valley Handbook”, published by Hachette for GSV Asset Management

January 2017 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Program cover, City of Columbia, South Carolina 

April 2016 -  MLK, Alpha Omega Alpha The Pharos (Print and Web versions of the magazine)

December 2015 - "The Artful Brain: Neuro-Aesthetics", Colgate University

March 2015 - "2040 UN Speech: Back to the Present", Humanity, Denmark

December 2014 - "Struggle for Equality in the USA & Civil Rights Movement", Pote à Pote, France

October 2014 - "Nonviolence", NRC magazine, Paris, France

September 2014 - "Polity" - Palgrave MacMillan Journals University of Connecticut

March 2014 - Inspirational Artist Analysis, United Kingdom

March 2014 - Graduate Thesis on Art and Creating Portraits in Various Media and Style, South Australia

March 2014 - A Study of Martin Luther King Jr, England

February - Salus Capital Partners, Manifesto, California, USA

February 2014 - A Tribute to Barack Obama, United Kingdom

January 2014 - Visual Art Journal, Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia

January 2014 - Essay on Expressionism, Art & Design, London, UK

January 2014 - PhD Thesis "Famous Women Heroes of Our History", Miriam College, Philippines

January 2014 - A Tribute to "Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela", Brazil

December 2013 - A Tribute to Nelson Mandela, United Kingdom

June 2013 - License to Lead, The Junction NSW, Australia

June 2013 - Great Leaders Serve by Mark Miller,

October 2012 - Touchrate, Book Cover, Florida

October 2012 - One Spirit, Marketing Presentation, California

February 2012 - Bob Marley Magazine, Italy

January 2012 - Kol's Notes, Vancouver, BC, Canada

December 2011 -, Cleveland, Ohio

December 2011 - Lucky Dog Rescue, Meridian, Mississippi


January 2017 – MLK Concert, Firebird Arts Alliance, Charlotte, NC

July 2016 – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Cultural Festival, NewcastleGateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

April 2016 - Commemoration Service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Virginia Theological Seminary

2016 - Annual Dr. Martin Luther King event with Sharon Irving, Willow Creek Community Church, Chicago, Illinois

2016 - Racism, Unconscious bias, and the art (and need) of listening and storytelling, Trinity United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas.

2016 - MLK jr, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, California.

2015 - MLK event, St. Joseph Parish (Maysville), Mobile, Alabama.

2014 - "Musikmesse Shanghai", Shanghai, October 8-11

2014 - Fifth Annual ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit, The Phoenician, Scotsdale, AZ, April 21-23

2014 - "Portraits of Innovation 2014", Global Silicon Valley Capital, Woodside, CA

2014 - "Towards a Better World", Del Riachuelo, Espacio de Arte, La Boca Caminito, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2014 - Smallest Gallery, South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

2014 - "Colour My World" Epikentro + Art Gallery, Patras, Greece

2014 - Springfield College, School of Human Services, Manchester Campus, Manchester, NH

2014 - St. Paul's School, Concord, NH

2013 - "Portraits of Innovation 2013", Global Silicon Valley Capital, Woodside, CA

2013 - Springfield College, School of Human Services, Manchester Campus, Manchester, NH

2013 - St. Paul's School, Concord, NH

2013 - Ann & Jerry Moss Theater, Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice, Santa Monica, CA

2012 - Creative Haverhill, Haverhill, MA

2012 - Viva Las Vega! Gamma Gamma Gallery, Downtown Las Vegas, NV

2012 - Postal Art / Arte Correo, Trinidad & Tobago

2012 - Face of Jesus Part III Exhibition, Our Lady of Lasalette Shrine, Attleboro, MA

2011 - Creative Haverhill Emerging Artist Juried Show, Haverhill, MA

2008 - Best in Show, Thacher Island Association Art & Photo Show, Rockport, MA