You’ve been pressed into action to help a friend clean out their grandparents basement. At the bottom of the stairs, you stop and stare. It’s like stepping back in time almost a hundred years. Do you turn on your heels, gasping for air, seeking escape? Or, taking in the abundance of musty treasures, does your mind start to race with all the creative possibilities ? Well, if your fingers are tingling at the mere thought of sorting through that chaos of found objects, you may just find a kindred spirit in Artist, Russell McDougal.
The Short Story
Featured Artist: Russell McDougal
His “skrappy” venture: Isle of View, Custom Photographic Collages and Products made from found objects.
Russell’s 5 word self-description:
Artist – Poet – Designer – Collector – Visionary
(aka: A.B.C.D.E. – Another Beaming Creative Delivering Enchantment)
The Somewhat Longer Story
For 30+ years Boulder’s Russell McDougal has made a living creating distinctive brand imagery for companies like Celestial Seasonings and individual Artists like Caroline Douglas via his commercial photography business www.russellmcdougal.com. With a playful mind and a magician’s grasp of lighting tricks, he has become a turn-to resource for those seeking one-of-a-kind advertisements and promotions.
But a creative man cannot live by product packaging and marketing collateral alone.
Russell’s other great gift is more personal. By combining wordplay and an eclectic mix of found objects, he creates & sells fine art prints of whimsical collages. Custom commissions, as well as boxed card decks, books and iPhone apps, are marketed under the moniker Isle of View (go ahead – looking into your beloved’s eyes and say it three times fast!)
In Russell ‘s words,
“Isle of View(I love you) is my MTV- McDougal’s Transformative Vision. I create inspirational acronyms & art for insight & delight. All the images are simple, immediate, artistic codes of insight to remind you to appreciate & celebrate life. Seeing is freeing!”
Found Objects: From what peculiar alchemy did this art form originate?
Russell has always been drawn to different fabrics, old paper ephemera & other dimensional objects. Some of his favorites are small human-like figures & random, eccentric objects. The greatest finds have come while haunting junk yards, alleys, garage sales, flea markets other funky places.
“I guess I subconsciously ask myself, ‘Does this object have charm, magic, good texture, good color, personality?’ among other intangibles. What speaks to me is a very subtle, intuitive feeling. Every time I get an “AHA” moment, I try to craft a one word acronym to codify the essence of the insight or inspiration. I then couple it with a photograph & try to personify the idea visually.”
Today, in the same studio he has occupied for for 30+ years, McDougal has accumulated a vast, three-floor collection of collectibles that he uses as elements in photographic still-life style.
He’s been creating art and acronym word poems for three decades and first productized with a line of greeting cards. Later, he got a second wind and started doing card decks, then books, & most recently the smartphone applications when he saw the digital wave rising.
So, with such a full creative life, are there still dream projects on the horizon? According to Russell, oh yeah.
“Right now I’m working on a collection of t-shirt designs and still fulfilling commissions. But I can see myself walking through the Paris Flea market in the future…and I’d love to make a video showcasing my magical studio collection.”
CONTEST! Would you like to visit Russell’s studio (if you’re local) OR receive a signed Isle of View Card Deck? Leave your own inspirational ACRONYM as a comment here and one winner will be selected (by Russell himself!) on November 8th.