Artist Russell Powell is a kindergarten teacher who strives to perfect the technique of “hand stamping”. His process has brought him critical acclaim as well as a large social media following. He uses his hands to create detailed portraits, landscapes, etc. and often shares how-to videos with his audience so they have a better understanding of how he creates each piece.
Being an avid follower and fan of Russell Powell’s work myself, I am amazed at both the process and final creation.
Russell Powell hand stamping
Russell, it was really a wonderful experience meeting you at your solo show in New York last year. After watching your awe inspiring videos, incredible artistic interaction with children and your social media posts on a daily basis, I felt as if we were already friends. Plus my daughter Emma, as you now know, is one of your biggest fans. 

We must talk about those talented hands of yours. I remember asking you to see them in person as I only saw them online and was fascinated to see they were in really great shape! At what age did you first hand stamp and what did the picture look like? At what point did you get your precision down? Your pieces are incredibly detailed which leads me to believe you have put hundreds upon hundreds of hours in order to achieve such great precision.

I started hand stamping about four years ago, so I was 32 years old.  In the beginning the images were muddled and unrecognizable. However, it sparked an interest to perfect the technique. I tried different ways to add moisture, new papers and kept tweaking the overall application process.

It took me 2 1/2 years to refine the process.

What is the deep connection with social media and your audience? Do you feel your videos inspire others to create more work? 

Social media has been a gift because it allows a window into my process.  I am also able to incorporate music that has inspired me.  Both the music and behind-the-scenes look at my process adds another layer of emotion for people viewing the final piece.

Based on the DMs and comments I’ve received, my work seems to inspire people to create their own art.  People have shared that they are motivated to go back to their passions and create more frequently when they see that I paint daily.

Prince artwork Martin Luther King Jr art

You so often use many different hand stamps within one painting. What drives you to choose the subject matter and other landscape, animal, etc. to incorporate within the one piece?

I usually begin with a subject from a photographer I work with or a subject I’ve referenced online. It begins with their eyes and expands from there. If I see in the negative space an animal or a particular landscape will fit, then I freestyle the rest of the piece.

How do you choose your subject matter? Many at the show were well known celebrities yet so many others were portraits of beautiful stills. I know we talked about when you work with children; often something they create inspires you to almost duplicate an idea. Not duplicate their work- the idea. Is that true?

The children… and I draw inspiration from each other daily. The butterfly piece featured at the NYC show was a collaboration with my students.

Do you have a favorite piece? Are there any mediums you’d like to try next? Anyone you would like to collaborate with?

My favorite piece changes as the collection continues to grow. However, right now “Healing Hands” is my favorite. It was featured as a front piece at my recent show.

I’d like to try sculpture next. I would like to team up again with Global Citizen Network and create a series of pieces on the hands of their team members and sell them to raise funds for this mission. The same concept I’d love to do with some of my favorite artists/bands.

Russell, what can you tell me as a journalist that you have never told anyone before with regards to your artwork?

There is not much I have not shared about my art… other than a few methods that I still keep close to my chest.

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Follow Russell Powell

Instagram | Facebook | Website

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