Russell Young: Molotov Cocktail Boy

Addicted Art Gallery
Dec 1, 2022 5:01AM

British-American Pop artist Russell Young is known for his compelling, larger-than-life silkscreen paintings appropriated from history and popular culture. Like pop artists past and present, Russell reinvents sometimes brutal images as a narrative on social, political and cultural dynamics.

"His [Russell Young] large silkscreen paintings of popular culture evidence a creative individual steeped in contemporary glamour, his work expressive of the shock and awe of fame, or those in close proximity to its glare and grit.” ~ John Finlay, Art Historian

Russell is interested in secrets, those we keep, those we share, and those we are unwilling to confront. A rose petal might, upon a closer look, be riddled with holes.

It is these holes Russell’s work illuminates. The holes of trauma, of carnal desire, of memory and history. Through them, he allows us to see vistas. In these vistas there are no expectations, no rules. He roams wherever he wishes, always looking for a space in which to be free, to experiment, to examine life and death. They are lands from which he resurrects dead dreams and crafts alternative ones.

Molotov Cocktail Boy is a great example of this narrative.

Medium: Acrylic screen print on Somerset paper, signed by the artist

Edition: Unique

Year: 2004

Size: 139.7cm x 101.6cm

Medium: Acrylic screen print on Somerset paper, signed by the artist

Edition: Unique

Year: 2004

Size: 139.7cm x 101.6cm

"Battle of the Bogside" Photographer Recalls A Defining Moment of his Career

Paddy Coyle [1956 - 2020] was aged 13 when he was photographed in Bogside, Londonderry, wearing a gas mask and holding a petrol bomb. The image was taken in 1969 by Clive Limpkin, making the front cover of newspapers and magazines worldwide.

British photojournalist and writer Clive Limpkin [1937 - 2020] took the photo during what became known as the Battle of the Bogside, three days of rioting in 1969 viewed by many as the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to the BBC, fifty years after the photograph was taken, Clive Limpkin said he had only taken one shot of the teenager.

"Suddenly, there was this 13-year-old boy in the picture. I think I got one snap of him, and you don't generally know if you've got a good picture, but I knew then I wasn't going to beat that, and I never got a better picture."

Pulitzer prize winning photographer Cathal McNaughton said the photo of Paddy Coyle "is more than just a snapshot in time; it evokes emotions in people.

"When I look at this picture, I can hear the thoughts and the chaos. I can see that this young fellow is standing in a street covered in rubble. It brings you to that time and place and why it lives in the collective memory of the masses.

"You've got the petrol bomb, you've actually got a badge of the island of Ireland on it, it places the picture exactly, and this oversized gas mask that adds an almost sinister element to the picture, almost a scary addition, and the clothes, the leather jacket that places it in its time as well."

Source: "Paddy Coyle: Man from iconic 'boy in the mask' photo dies", BBC, 2020

British-American Pop Artist, Russell Young

Russell Young is a British-American artist known for his silkscreen paintings featuring historical and pop culture images. His work also includes sculpture, installations and film.

Russell studied photography, film and graphic design at the University of Chester, and then attended the Exeter College of Art and Design in the UK. Russell's big career break came in 1986 when he photographed George Michael for the Faith album cover. In addition he has also photographed legends such as Morrissey, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, President Obama, David Bowie, the Smiths, REM, Diana Ross and Frankie Goes to Hollywood to name a few.

Faith Artwork — Photo Credit @ Russell Young

During the 90s, Russell gave up photography to pursue his love of painting. He relocated to New York and in 2001, began his ‘Pig Portraits’ series. He acquired the mugshots of musicians, actors and political figures, and enlarged them as bold, colourful, silkscreen portraits of Sid Vicious, Elvis Presley, Jane Fonda, Malcolm X, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra and Lee Harvey Oswald.

"They were meant to be anti-celebrity portraits. To take a dig at my former career I guess. As a release. But they ended up – I think they look better than they do in some of the sessions.”

Russell has shown in galleries and museums in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles. His silkscreen paintings have acquired a huge and illustrious fan base and can be found in the collections of Aby Rosen, The Qatari Royal Family, Kate Moss, David Bowie, Liz Taylor, Barack Obama, The Albertina Museum, The Saatchi Collection and Brad Pitt.

To see more of Russell’s artwork check out our latest online exhibition:

Russell Young: Picture This

Date: 30th November 2022 - 28 February 2023Time: At Your LeisurePlace: Wherever you areBring: Popcorn, chocolate and cocktailsWhere: 3D Gallery 👉 Russell Young: Picture This

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