JK Russ kicks off AIGA’s artists interviews series with former ArtPOP winners. Originally from New Zealand, JK Russ is a collage artist that explores and examines the Las Vegas landscape and culture in Desert City Birdlife Vista.
How and when did you decide that collaging was your medium?
I majored in photography at art school and at that time started collaging imagery from magazines onto my black and white photographs. I particularly enjoy the challenges of working with found materials and making the compositions come together the old-school way using scissors and paste and without relying on digital manipulation.
What currently influences your work?
Collage artists like Hannah Höch and Wangechi Mutu inspire me. And the seductive city of Las Vegas itself, the strong performance scene and the desert environment around us all influence my work.
Why do you think art is so necessary?
Art offers a whole other dimension beyond the day-to-day grind. This is where Artpop is so great for enlivening people’s daily commute!
Tell us what you were conveying in Desert City Birdlife Vista.
I’m aiming to capture something of the vibrance of Las Vegas. This work combines desert and cityscapes inhabited by party girls who always remind me of brightly plumaged exotic birds.
Talk about the importance of design in your work.
Visual impact both from a distance and up close is something I try to keep in mind, and collage can have strong graphic qualities. Design is so complex and I really admire accomplished designers.
What responses have you received about your ArtPOP billboard.
People really loved seeing the work on that scale!
Where can we find your billboard?
My billboard was one of the inaugural Las Vegas group from 2016; so now it just exists in photographs. But I’m looking forward to seeing the works of the 2018 billboard artists installed around the city!
How do feel your work translated onto a billboard?
Luckily the panoramic composition of this work was perfect for the billboard format!
If you would like to apply for this great program, the call to entry is available here