Excellent Illustration & Paintings ArtWorks / Russ Mills

Excellent Illustration & Paintings ArtWorks By Russ Mills - 01
 Excellent Illustration & Paintings ArtWorks  

Excellent Illustration & Paintings ArtWorks by talented British artist Russ Mills. Russ Mills creates these astonishing images using a wide variety of traditional methods including painting and drawing with ink and pencil, but also utilizing scanned textures including splotches of paint (or “painting disasters” as he calls them) as well as photography. The resulting paintings are sparse in color but seem to contain explosive amounts of energy as displayed in the rough brushes of paint and the almost perfectly manic pencil strokes.

“My work dwells in a netherworld between urban fine art and contemporary graphics, a collision of real and digital media it is primarily illustration based with a firm foundation in drawing, I focus mainly on the human form particularly the face, interweaving elements from the animal kingdom often reflecting the absurdity of human nature.” – Russ Mills says

Russ creates collisions of real and digital media with a firm foundation in drawing. He mainly focuses on the human form, particularly the face, interweaving elements from the animal kingdom often reflecting the absurdity of human nature.


Society has a natural inclination to elevate artistic individuals who distinguish themselves through profound expression onto unrealistic pedestals; looking up to successful personalities, treating them like emotionally infallible demi-gods of creativity. Often forgetting, that it’s the delicate nature, fragile sensibilities and universal vulnerabilities of the person behind the medium, married with their inclination to withdraw into themselves, which has allowed them the introspective, intellectual space and time to create a body of work which reflects their developed personas. A process, which ironically propels the artist back into the spotlight, towards the world and attitudes they were trying to comprehend, respond to, and satirise through their art work.

It is the tireless questioning and fruitless quests to rationalise infinity which leaves some artists suspended in a nihilistic, self-anaesthetised reality. On an unbalanced planet with as much to celebrate as there is to lament, artists are left no vehicle for escape except through that of expression. It is their beautified melancholia and often celebrated self-destruction which paradoxically, uplifts, inspires and awakens latent longings in all those who engage their work with an intention to understand and a willingness to receive.

Torn between a distaste for the modern world and every artist’s oxygen-like desire for an audience, Russ Mills (who presents his work under the moniker of ‘Byroglyphics’) is one of the UK’s most interesting and well-known contemporary artists, and is an example of a creative soul-searcher squinting in the glare of expectation and exposure.

Visually, Mills has a powerful and all encompassing mastery over his aesthetic, and if imitation is the ultimate compliment, then Mills has a lifetime’s supply of good-will in reserve. His works dwell in the netherworld between traditional fine art and contemporary digital illustration; projecting a profoundly graphic, dynamic and natural understanding of the complexities of anatomy, movement and the subtle details which allow artworks to feel alive.

Referencing thematics of superficiality and the absurdity of human nature, his works feature longing sirens whispering abstracted secrets from emancipated worlds of experimentation and focus; martyrs for the cause and feminine totems holding court “in a patriarchal society that spins the illusion of equality, whilst maintaining male dominance at the core”.

A prolific creator of works that are as disorientating as they are reassuring; Mills, akin to a blood-soaked carnivore gorging on the carcass of visual, visceral stimuli, creates artworks born from an undeniable and unapologetic personal reality. His subjects are like the last scarred nomads on the artist’s Ark, wistfully gazing into space as the first new sunrise crests the never-ending ocean, each muse too beautiful to fully relinquish themselves to the idea that there’s no utopia past the horizon.

Ignorance is a dull interpretation of bliss. Art, in the broadest conceivable sense, manifests fleeting nirvanas for each of us – a slice of fantasy and philosophical escapism which only exists in the moment of creation, during the suspension of the conscious mind and the engagement of the dream-like nether regions of the human psyche- when the weight of insecurity floats like a feather and we step into our potential and feel powerful. It’s amid these fragments of time that our dreams seem close enough to touch, the world seems conquerable and our conditioned insecurities dissolve into obscurity, as we catch glimpses of what it means to feel free, in the truest sense of the word.

Russell Mills

Born in 1971 in Exeter, Devon. UK, Russ Mills graduated from Leeds Met University in 1995 after completing a BA in Graphic Art and Design, specialising in Experimental Film and Animation. After finding gainful employment in various non-creative institutions, Mills went back to basics and began work with pen, pencil and computer.

Has spent almost 20 years crafting skills, absorbing influences from every facet of visual culture and archiving found objects and ephemera to substantiate his work. He has worked as a freelance illustrator with numerous clients in publishing and entertainment, more recently pursuing the more traditional gallery/exhibitive path with solo shows in London and Bristol and group exhibits in the U.S. Numerous sell out print releases and coverage worldwide.

His current work is an clash of styles from classical to pop surrealism, focusing predominantly on the human form, though also abstracting elements from nature and the animal kingdom. Covering subjects such as superficiality and isolation progressing into more socio-political expressions.


Name: Excellent Illustration & Paintings ArtWorks
Type: Illustration, Painting
Dimensions: Varies
Theme Colour: Black and White
Year: Varies
Technique: painting and drawing with ink and pencil

 The people  

Artist: Russ Mills, Exeter, Devon, UK
Text Description: © Courtesy of Russ Mills, t-squat
Images: © Russ Mills


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