Justin Russo is an artist who focuses on The Second World War, it's ideals, culture and icons. Specifically dealing with classic films and their stars, Justin's work plays with the masculinity and feminitiy of these filmic paradigm; their glamour and reasoning behind stardom.
A graduate of New York University's BFA program, Justin studied the figure in Florence, Italy and has worked under such artists as Alexis Rockman. He has also produced work for New York City's Department of Housing, creating murals for housing facilities, and for singer/songwriter Billy Joel. Most recently, Justin has worked as an assistant to acclaimed artist Takashi Murakami from July of 2008 through January 2010.
From "Temptation of the Absolute Mask" :
In his essay “The Face of Garbo,” Roland Barthes suggests that we have moved away from a time when the image of a beautiful woman’s face on a movie screen could send audiences into a kind of ecstasy.� Instead of looking at the cinematic face itself as an object—as a sort of icon or archetype—we now seek to encounter our stars on a more human scale.� They may still be as beautiful as the older screen legends, but Barthes would argue that we have become more fascinated by their quirks and idiosyncrasies.� The title, which comes from Barthes’ essay, is a jumping-off point to examine the enduring power of these iconic screen women.
Each of these works is based on photographic portraiture—often taken as promotional material by the film studios themselves—which is then rendered in shades of gray and tinted hues.� The goal was not to create a photo-realistic replica of the original, but to capture and interpret those elements of their features that went into creating the FACE that would entrance audiences worldwide.� In presenting these works, I have tried to pose some questions: how can we see the still-potent allure of these creatures, without falling prey to either camp or nostalgia?�� How can painting capture and enhance the terrible, mesmerizing beauty of their mask-like visages, once only visible on the silver screen?