Russell Young’s Dirty, Pretty Things

September 12 – 25 2009, with an opening party with the artist attending on Saturday, September 12 from 7 – 9pm at Guy Hepner Contemporary Art Gallery in Los Angeles.

GUY HEPNER is proud to present an exhibition of new silkscreen images by RUSSELL YOUNG titled DIRTY, PRETTY THINGS. 

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“Reach out and touch faith” by Russell Young


Two of history’s most influential celebrities, with similar and untimely stories, Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain are the subjects of Russell Young‘s newest body of work. Russell Young’s larger than life images of these iconic figures are undeniably powerful and gripping. Young hones the quality and texture of the original image by the astonishing use of diamond dust in the paint of these portraits, adding a magical glittering effect that imbues the images with an ethereal quality. Russell Young then enlarges to the images to an uncomfortable size while playing with color washes, a key role in Young’s subjects, in faded pinks, yellows, blacks, silvers and blues.

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“you’re a top shop princess, a rockstar too” by Russell Young

The decision by Young to borrow song lyrics from several of the most influential musicians of our time for the titles of the works from Dirty, Pretty Things is compelling. His choice of lyrics from songs by Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash such as “I will let you down, I will make you hurt” and “If loneliness meant world acclaim, everyone would know my name” serve as reminders of the tragedy and pain that will always surround these beloved figures.

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“I will let you down, I will make you hurt” by Russell Young

20 years ago British photographer Russell Young first began capturing celebrity culture. Photographing George Michael for the sleeve of his album titled “Faith” would be the assignment that launched his career. Before Young knew it he was shooting musicians like Morrissey, Springsteen, Dylan and many other celebrities. The next natural step was directing music videos; Young directed a hundred music videos during the heyday of MTV. In Young’s own words, “My work is sort of a soundtrack of my life, loves, experiences and influences. My method of working is to search, destroy and create.” Known for his edgy examinations of celebrities in the media, he has risen to become one of the most collected and sought after artists of our time. His work has been exhibited extensively in solo and group shows and is also held in many prominent public and private collections. Celebrities and collectors from the most discriminating to novice have eagerly added Russell Young’s works to their collections.