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.
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
Vaudreuil-Dorion, QC - Canada
Calgary, AB - Canada
Glendale, New York
Stavanger, Rogaland - Norway
Singapore, Singapore - Singapore
Vanloese, Copenhagen, Denmark
Lake Orion, Michigan
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
St. John, US Virgin Island
St. Thomas, US Virgin Island
Johnson, Rhode Island
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Brooklyn, New York
Fort Huachuca, Arizona
West Palm Beach, Florida
North Providence, Rhode Island
North Waterboro, Maine
West Seneca, New York
Castle Rock, Colorado
Burnsville, North Carolina
Bateman, WA - Australia
Bala Cywnyd, Pennsylvania
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Yass, New South Wales, Australia
New York, New York
Canberra, ACT - Australia
San Jose, California
Silver Springs, Maryland
Batavia, New York
Hampton, New Hampshire
Menlo Park, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
Newport, Rhode Island
Courtenay, BC, Canada
Silicon Valley, California
Londonderry, New Hampshire
Lee, New Hampshire
New Boston, New Hampshire
San Diego, California
Laguna Hills, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
April 2018 - MLK Diversity and Outreach Ad, 2018 National ILG Conference Program Book, LocalJobNetwork.com
January 2018 - MLK Magazine Cover, Allnite Communications Weekly Magazine, Allniteradio.com
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, greatleadersserve.org/
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 - Examiner.com, 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