American illustrator Steven Russell Black fuses opponents, which leaves his audience attracted to both fungus and clouds – chocolates and maggots
an article written by Carmen Line Hust
ARTICULATE #26 | JAN 2021
The American artist Steven Russell Black (b. 1978) is a painter and illustrator with an obsessive compulsion to champion the odd, fringe, or otherwise unappreciated. Black generates his artistic drive, from the feedback loop of mining for new ideas and holding up to the world – finding beauty in unexpected places.
The preferred media of Black is colored pencil and oil paint. To him, drawings are the basis for everything and specially Prismacolor opens up a wide range of values from a single black pencil. His affection for oil paints is due to their traditional persistence, along their deliciousness.
Design principles are widely applicable laws, guidelines, biases and design considerations which designers apply with discretion. Professionals from many disciplines—e.g., behavioral science, sociology, physics and ergonomics—provided the foundation for design principles via their accumulated knowledge and experience.
To Black, the methodology of working, is divided into two. When working for clients, he plans and pre-thinks every step ahead, in order to meet deadlines in time and deliver a finished project for approval. These image subjects are chosen by the art director of Black on a given project, often letting him choose between a couple of books. When working for himself, Black likes to be way more open to experience, loose the structure of planning, and let things grow organically.
The aesthetically dimensions of Black, likewise is divided, as he combines horror and beauty. His imagery has a binary air, fusing opponents, which leaves his audience attracted to both fungus and clouds, chocolates and maggots.
Listen to the Libsyn #61 Steven Russell Black "A Creepy Beauty"
To Black, the key element in creating a good composition, consists of design principles. Rule of thirds; dominant, subdominant and subordinate – Light, Medium, Dark. He still works as a graphic designer and these principles or guidelines, persists being part of his artistic workflow.
Rule of thirds
Visually, the rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.
"Design is the first thing you see, before you notice all the fun details.
It’s something to hang your hat on. It needs to be solid. It’s the most important part."
This article about Steven Russell Black takes part of the 26th magazine, ARTICULATE #26. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below.
ARTICULATE #26 | International
ARTICULATE 26 is a magazine for contemporary art, packed with 80 pages of high quality content, showcasing the work of 5 professional artists, featuring the German painter Volkano, the French street art duo Murmure street, the American illustrator and visual artist Steven Russell Black, the Greek disturber Nefeli Kyriacou and Brazilian creative photographer Jacke Batista.