ARTIST, ART EDUCATOR, AND ART ADVOCATE
As artist, Russell has exhibited in numbers of shows across Tennessee and Virginia. In 2012, Russell presented a collection of his work in a variety of media and styles at the Downtown Kingsport Association's Gallery. "Slapdash" provided viewers with a broad look into the art forms that Russell had been creating from in the previous decade: From portraits and CD package designs to ceramics and paintings. He has explored the outlet of social media to display and sell his work through his events like the 2010 event "ART365.” This event challenged Russell to create a small artwork for everyday of the year 2010. He has a total of five solo exhibits to his credit. In 2008, he exhibited his ceramic sculptures along side those of his students in "Eye to Eye: Instructor And His Pupils” at the Johnson City Arts Council Gallery. Due to the exhibit "Art, Religion and the Human Condition” at Belmont University in Nashville (2001) and The Renaissance Center in Kingsport (2003), Russell has appeared in articles in the Johnson City Press, The Kingsport Times-News, and The Bristol Herald-Courier and had appearances on WCYB-TV5. He has also created for such clients as Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Tribute Media Source, as well as other local musical artists and print publications. His works are in private and public collections across the country.
As art educator, Russell has taught at all levels since 1994. His early teaching found Russell creating multiple school art programs from scratch, authoring a Goals 2000 Grant, and regularly exhibiting his students’ artworks. He was awarded the Tennessee Art Education Association’s Outstanding Art Educator of the Year in 2005. Russell currently is an art instructor at the high school level teaching a wide variety of Introduction, design, painting and advanced Placement Studio courses . He finds different types of fulfillment and joy within the different age groups he teaches. He has had the honor for watching many former students become graphic artists, photographers, art educators, animators, etc. His students often are featured in local and regional exhibits and garner awards, honors, and accolades. HE has also served the State of Tennessee in multiple ways. He has been a part of curriculum revisions, standards development, and PRAXIS consultant. Russell conducts workshops and other learning opportunities on local, state and national levels for such organizations as Tennessee Art Education Association and the Johnson City Area Arts Council.
As art advocate, Russell served on the executive board of the Tennessee Art Education Association from 1998 to 2009. From 1998 to 2001, Russell served as membership chair. during this time TAEA saw it's membership more than double under Russell's tenure of recruitment and networking. In 2002, he was elected President by his peers and in 2009 he concluded the last of a seven year presidential term. This term included the planning of three state-wide art education conferences, overseeing the Executive Board meetings, coordinating state level awards programs, serving as a delegate to the National Art Education Association, and presenting sessions for the National Art Education Association conferences. He has served his peers as a Tennessee Arts Academy facilitator and presenter nearly a dozen times. Russell has given his time and talents to many local churches, local arts guilds, senior citizens programs and various other arts endeavors. He has donated artwork to causes such as the Johnson City Area Arts Council's 4x4 Gala. He was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Service Award by the Alabama Art Education Association and was recognized by the Arts Council of Greater Kingsport with their 2004 Arts Leadership Award. He always fights the good fight for art, students, the art community, and the cause of art education