Russ Mills Artist Analysis Essay

words by Russ

location : Brighton, UK

My name is Russ, at the moment I'm an illustrator, painter and designer type bod. Byroglyphics was born in the wee small hours of the morning one day in 2004, when I used to be a world champion alconaut, the name was shouted by my friend Hambot and it stuck in my head, we used to make up many words, most far more expressive than the one's in circulation today.
My illustrations are not too scientific, they begin life as sketches in ink, the tool of choice is the Bic 'fine' because it gives me a lot more mileage than more expensive, snootier fine liners that break if you give them too much stick. The sketch is transported into my ageing mac and then abused in photoshop (you may have heard of it) i use this because of the joy of multiple undo's plus its the closest I can get to painting without painting.
The next stage in byroglyphics' life is to turn these illustrations into big canvases, it's taken me many attempts to get to a stage where i'm confident enough to attack canvas and leave the relative safety of the computer, as with everything else it's a constant learning curve, sometimes a downward one. The results of these curves will be in circulation soon.

 FAQ by Russ

WHAT METHODS/MATERIALS DO YOU USE ? For my Graphic work I compile as much source material as possible in the form of textures , random marks and scribbles etc and scan it all, the primary image is drawn and also scanned. I then manipulate the constituent parts on the computer, I keep the amount of layers to a bare minimum so the results are as spontaneous as possible. I dont use any filters at all to keep the 'digital' nature of the image to a minimum.

WHO ARE YOUR MAJOR INFLUENCES ? There are too many to list, but if you look at the people I have linked to it will give a good insight. Additional past masters such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, Basquiat also have a great influence in what I do.

WHERE DID YOU STUDY ? I studied at Illustration at Leeds Met. University and specialised in experimental film/animation there are a few bits on YOUTUBE. The quality is pretty terrible but all pre digital. Prior to Leeds I studied Foundation at Northbrook College in Worthing. In my opinion foundation level is by far the most important because it helps you decide whether you want to pursue a lifetime of creative endeavour. Universtity allows you the freedom to piss it all away which is exactly what I did. Use the time wisely and work like your life depends on it, DONT make the same mistake I did and reach your 30's still not knowing what to do with your life.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ARTISTS/DESIGNERS ? This is such a vast question it is extremely difficult to answer in a concise fashion but some fundamentals are- Patience Perseverence Discipline Commitment. DRAW ALL THE TIME, sketch or doodle as much as possible or at the very least write down ideas. Carry an A5 black book always. Be aware of what others are doing, seek out the best of the best and learn from their approaches. Never be satisfied with what you achieve. Above all enjoy working and over time nurture the necessity to work. This doesn't even scratch the surface but is food for thought at least.


Pubblicato il 11/12/10 ed aggiornato il

Russell Mills, 1971 ~ Abstract mixed media painter

British illustrator Russell Mills (aka) Byroglyphics was born in Exeter, Devon, UK. Graduated from Leeds Met University in 1995 after completing a BA in Graphic Art and Design, specialising in Experimental Film and Animation. After finding gainful employment in various non-creative institutions went back to basics and began work with pen, pencil and computer. Has spent almost 20 years crafting skills, absorbing influences from every facet of visual culture and archiving found objects and ephemera to substantiate his work.

He then went onto spending almost 20 years crafting his skills, absorbing influences from every facet of visual culture and archiving found objects and ephemera to substantiate his work. Russ has worked as a freelance illustrator with numerous clients in publishing and entertainment, more recently pursuing the more traditional gallery/exhibitive path with solo shows in London and Bristol and group exhibits in the United States.
My work occupies an inter-dimensional space, never entirely seated in reality. I attempt to tackle the isolation, insignificance and fear that each day delivers by channeling that negative energy into something useful that others may find engaging.
Combining a lifelong passion for mark-making and a wish to explore new territory via digital media, the work is only just beginning to scratch the surface. Reference to the human form is obvious, often placed in bleak settings figures dance or fly in impossible ways, always looking hopefully to somewhere beyond the horizon. The mix of media is key, textures and forms are married in a way not possible through traditional means and homogenised into a two dimensional plane of non-existence.

My influences can change daily, however some remain constant. Artists from the 1960′s such as Robert Rauschenberg have had a great impact, he was a master at bringing together disparate objects and images then re-processing them to create something entirely different and spectacular. In a similar mould Ralph Steadman has been a long time favorite, being a master draughtsman into the bargain as well as a mixed media pioneer.
I’m continuing on the same path for the immediate future, operating in the guise of a fine artist, my aim is always to leave the computer, as a creative tool, behind. The process of change usually means reverting back to pencil and paper, which is as good a place to start as any. I currently have prints available from Red Propeller Gallery.

He has worked as a freelance illustrator with numerous clients in publishing and entertainment, more recently pursuing the more traditional gallery/exhibitive path with solo shows in London and Bristol and group exhibits in the U.S. Numerous sell out print releases and coverage worldwide. His current work is an clash of styles from classical to pop surrealism, focusing predominantly on the human form, though also abstracting elements from nature and the animal kingdom. Covering subjects such as superficiality and isolation progressing into more socio-political expressions.


Russell Mills è un illustratore, pittore e disegnatore, nato a Exeter, Devon. Le sue illustrazioni non sono scientifiche, la sue opere prendono vita sotto forma di schizzi a penna o pennarello, poi vengono trasformate al computer con l'aggiunta di texture.
Russ Mills noto con il nome di Byroglyphics, significato della tecnica che usa, ovvero la biro, l’inchiostro di una semplice Bic su carta. Questa è infatti la prima fase di ogni sua creazione, che prevede la realizzazione di uno schizzo, poi scansionato, rilavorato con Photoshop, infine trasferito su tela.
Russell ha studiato Fondamenti di Arte, Design e Media al Northbrook College  Worthing, prima di approdare al corso di Illustrazione e Film/Animazione sperimentale alla Leeds Metropolitan University. Tutto ciò è avvenuto, a detta dello stesso Russell, quando era già arrivato ai 30 senza capire esattamente cosa fare della sua vita.
Tante le fonti di ispirazione, alcune anche tra i grandi maestri del passato: Van Gogh, Picasso, Basquiat e, naturalmente, Pollock. Matrici astratte e figurative si bilanciano perfettamente nelle opere di Russ, che realizza prevalentemente ritratti “urbani” e dal gusto vagamente stylish, in cui si affermano con determinazione tanto la tecnica tradizionale del disegno quanto la gestualità e la forza di un segno pittorico “espressionista” tutt’altro che casuale.
La forte carica espressiva ed emotiva dei volti dipinti, che occupano prepotentemente il primissimo piano, si propaga e si dilata anche nelle zone periferiche e sulla superficie dei ritratti stessi, come una sorta di esplosione, producendo una sorta di vortice e di distorsione dell’immagine che conferisce al tutto una componente drammatica. Surreali sono i suoi dipinti di esseri dal corpo umano e dalla testa animale.
Russ è rappresentato dalla Signal Gallery di Londra e dalla Red Propeller Gallery di Kingsbridge. 
Mills è conosciuto soprattutto per il suo influente libro premiato e le copertine di album per Brian Eno, Samuel Beckett, Nine Inch Nails, Michael Brook, Bill Laswell, Ian McEwan, David Sylvian, Michael Nyman, Harold Budd, Peter Gabriele Milan Kundera e molti altri.

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