ARTIST RUSSELL D'ALESSIO
A R T I S T S T A T E M E N T & BIO
Moving Toward The Infinite
"The eye, a strange balloon, moves toward the infinite" a 19th century lithograph by Odilon Redone was the first artwork to capture my imagination when I was a teen. To me this print speaks volumes about art life and human potential. Its foreground anchors us at the waters edge while a large hairy eyeball floats above the horizon like a mythical balloon, carrying our hopes toward the heavens. Its frightful appearance is somehow neutralized by its lofty intent.
The best works of art come out of this push and pull swing of emotion. Love and hate, fear and desire. The tragic to the sublime are the tensions that somewhere in between we find the intrigue we call art. Art comes from somewhere outside our conscious intentions. Too much deliberation can be toxic, leaving it void of sprit and lacking emotion, I mostly begin painting from the abstract and find my way toward the figurative. The challenge is not so much where to begin, but where to finish.
I like to work on several pieces at a time leaving the studio full of canvas at various stages of development. I suppose I do not consider a painting finished until the client comes and takes it away. In the course of everyday, I try and move on my own path of discovery. I try not to limit myself to one medium or genre. I do prefer my work to be spontaneous expressionist and allegorical beyond that who knows where tomorrow will lead.
If I could paint with the fire of Picasso and the soul of Chagall, I would certainly find my nirvana. For now, I am content to paint all I can with my feet on the ground and my eye fixed on the strange balloon moving toward the infinite."
The Creative Path
One look at Russell’s paintings reveled exactly who this artist is; he possesses a sense of humor, has an insightful observation of gesture and movement and a unique compositional style that invites your attention into the world he creates. The work invokes the feeling of calm and relaxation away from life’s everyday demands.
Attending a progressive public high school in New Jersey in the 60’s his curriculum allowed him to take as many art related classes as he could once the required subjects were met. There he encountered an art teacher who took an interest in him. She taught and encouraged him to pursue his abilities in art, to be the artist he showed the promise of being.
From there he took classes at the Arts Students League and studied under Arthur Foster developing his drawing and composition skills all while studying Fine Art and Graphic Design at The Newark School of Fine Art and Industrial Art.
Early in the 70’s D’Alessio continued his studies at Fairleigh Dickenson University taking art history and drawing classes from the professors at this institution.
Marrying his high school sweetheart they were inspired by life in rural Maine and packed their VW bug and moved to the coast of Maine, Bar Harbor, along with two young sons in 1974. “ I look back at those days and can’t believe we took such an adventure, we moved in February with no jobs! Once we settled we couldn’t find work. Linda had done some weaving and I had done some printmaking. Selling these pieces of art floated us through our first winter.” By spring he had found work as a graphic designer and freelanced for several ad agencies, they were hooked on the Maine and the “back to the earth” lifestyle.
In the mid- seventies they added son number three and in 1980 he and Linda began their own screen print business putting D’Alessio’s own designs on garments, t-shirts in particular but also working with businesses including University of Maine, Old Town Canoe, and Stephen King, designing screen prints and logos.
Enjoying the aspect of designing on clothing he sold the screen print business and began a new business creating and marketing apparel and decorative accessories. Russell’s artist talents graced the products that they sold to retail outlets and mail order catalogs nationally and internationally including Givernay Garden, Paris, France
Winning many awards during this period of his career he was written up in major trade magazines for his screen print and painting techniques on apparel. Excited by retail they opened their own gallery in Bar Harbor, Maine in the late ‘90’s carrying their own products and works by other artists, glass, sculpture & jewelry.
With walls to fill in the new gallery D’Alessio was ready to return to painting on canvas, the focus of his education. “The experiences from the past decade were invaluable” D’Alessio states, “every young artist should not concern himself with painting in the beginning but learn to draw and compose.” The graphic design business contributed to these abilities helping him to move forward as a creative painter. He began by painting landscapes influenced by the beautiful world around him in Maine.
Late in the 80's, they began spending winters in Key West, FL. In 1994 they made a decision to open a second gallery location in Key West. “ I had a thirst for this place, the laid back lifestyle, the mix of cultures, the feel of the warm air and the color of the sea.” He continues, “A second gallery made sense, Maine in the summer, Key West in the winter.”
The Maine life had always been the filter he dreams through, now adding the coast of Florida to this mix he wanted to combine these cultures and landscapes and bring out the richness of each place with bold colors and strokes of the brush, thus beginning his expressive figurative works.
Early in 2000 D’Alessio made the decision to close the gallery in Key West allowing him more time to travel and continue on his path of discovery. The gallery in Maine is now in it’s twenty-third year.
The sense of Maine magic and the experience of his travels persist in each of his works; he begins painting from the abstract and finds his way to the figurative. His signature works are paintings and drawings of women engaging in the mysteries and the unexpected joys life brings, sisters, girlfriends, the women we know and love.
Russell's art displays chromatic and thematic richness. His choice of subjects has been strongly influenced by his zest for life, therefore creating color and movement. His zany sense of humor brings out the occasional whimsy and his sensitivity for the human form allows him to create beautiful flowing figures. Persistence in creativity has permitted him to develop into a sensitive and mature artist. D’Alessio expression of universal humanistic ideals, connecting man to his physical surroundings flows easily through his works and have a time-less appeal.
Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art - Newark,- New Jersey
Graphic Design and Illustration 1968 - 1970
Arts Students League, Studies under Arthur Foster - New York, New York
Private Studies un Grace Higgins and Carmela De Angelis, New York, New York
Figurative and Portraiture Drawing1968 - 1970
Fairleigh Dickinson University - Madison, New Jersey
Art History and Studio Studies 1969 -1971
Most Recent Exhibitions
2012 Solo Show Key Bank, Portland, ME - November & December
2012 Featured Artist Portland, ME Art Walk - November
2011 Solo Show "Sirens, Nymphs & Ladies" Handmade Paper Gallery, Brooklin, Maine
2010 Solo Show "Artlook" Coffee Table Book by Artist Russell D'Alessio - Bar Harbor, Maine
2010 Solo Invitational show Lake Wales Arts, Lake Wales, FL
2010 Solo Show The Gardens, Key West, FL
2009 private invitational show Chicago, IL
2009 Solo show "The Kiss Bosley on Brady Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
2009 Pigeon Key Nationally Juried Invitational Show, Marathon, FL
2008 Solo Show Shaw Gallery, Naples, FL
2007 Solo show "Valentine " Bosley on Brady Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
2007 Solo show "Leapin' Lizard Gallery, Covington, KY
2013 As seen in Forbes - August
2013 As seen in North Country Magazine - July
2013 As seen in MDI Islander - July & August
2013 As seen in Bangor Daily News - July
2012 As seen in MDI Islander - September
2012 As seen in Southwest Art - August
2012 As seen in Bangor Daily News - June
2011 As seen in Bangor Daily News - September
2011 As seen in Bar Harbor Times - August
2010 As written up on CNN Politics and United Press International
2010 As seen in Bangor Daily News - September
2009 Publication of coffee table book "Artlook"
2009 Front Cover and inside art for "Simple Gourmet Lamb" by Kate Gooding
2007 Front cover and inside art for "Wild Maine Recipes Black Fly Stew" by Kate Gooding
2006 Front cover "Feminist Frontiers" published by McGraw Hill Publisher, written by Verta Taylor
2004 As seen in Art News
2004 As seen in The Citizen, Key West, FL
2004 As seen in Bar Harbor Times
2003 As seen in Key Wester
Professional Experience and Activities
2010 Artistic Director and commissioned Art Designer for International One Design
2010 Artists Panel - Jury National Art Show, Bar Harbor, Maine
1990 International Screen Print Association and Apparel Industry's three highest awards for design and technique
D'Alessio Gallery, Bar Harbor, Maine
Bosley on Brady, Milwaukee, WI
Senator Russell Long - private mural commission and several works purchased for collection
Stephen King - commission for T-Shirt design for "Christine"
Giverney Gardens, France - commission for sunflower flora's
Private Collector Bar Harbor, ME and Williamsburg, VA - private mural commission along
with several works purchased for collection
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Raab - Bar Harbor, ME & Philadelphia, PA painting commission for collection
(collected worldwide, a complete list of patrons available upon request)
allrightsreserved©2004 - 2012russelldalessio