Russell Taysom is a UK born and based artist and musician creating hyper colored, textural, technical and humorous art. His unique style has seen him work with US rapper ‘Rif Raff’, Art Whore Approved brand ‘Trippy Pins’, UK label ‘Fluffer Records’, ole ‘Tittybats’ and countless others.
Recently Russell has also begun dabbling in sculpting, with one of his art toy creations – Malibu Mutant Barbie – being featured at ‘Streets of Beige’. A move Art Whore will keenly be keeping eyes on!
(Picture below of the Mutant Barbie figure by Russell)
With LOTS in the works with Russell as always, now is the perfect time to get to know the man and his art by reading the Art Talk below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Russell Taysom 27/12/1981
City, State n Country you currently call home?
City, State n Country your from?
Hereford, Herefordshire, England
Describe a memory from some stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, crime… ANYTHING man!
* age 5 – beginnings:
Drawing castles and battles.
Got a cat and called him Garfield.
* age 10 – continuations:
Watching TV, living in the country.
Getting my first computer, a Commodore 64.
(Picture below of Russell as a child posing with Batman)
* age 15 – getting serious:
Not getting serious!
Playing bass and watching neighbours twice a day.
Reading Lobo and The Punisher.
Being into Gamesmaster and the Outer Limits.
(Picture below of Russell in his teens)
* age 20 – young adult:
At Art college trying to be a painter, making posters for bands, started my music zine, Vilegeneration.
I still doing that and am currently working on the last ever issue of which is coming out next year.
Over the years we interviewed Gwar, The Dwarves, Sigh, Electric Frankenstein as well as local bands and record labels.
* age 25 – adult mode:
Moved to cambridge and worked in a Cafe.
Had a band called Mircropenis who had a had a record come out on vinyl. Was super excited about that!
Playing paperboy 2 a lot. Playing gigs with Micropenis and DJing with my friend Lee.
(Picture below of Russ in his 20’s)
* age 30 – continuations:
Moved to London, worked as an artists assistant to a painter called Raqib Shaw.
Started Flabby Dagger zine with my friend Charlie Mellors.
Quit my job to try and become an illustrator.
(Picture below of Russell today)
The scum also rises.
Suicide, The Dreggs of Reality, Big Black, Head of David.
Favorite TV show(s)?
The Outer Limits, Beavis and Butthead, Heartbreak High, The X-Files, The Apprentice.
Favorite sports + teams?
Pro-wresling: Legion of Doom, Domolition, The Hardy Boyz.
(Picture below of some art by Russell)
The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Clueless, Ghost World, Crumb, American Splendor, Buffalo 66, Total Recall.
Favorite books and comics?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Ghost World, Zap Comix, Trashman.
Favorite other artist(s)?
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Chasing people for money.
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
The internet, being able to share and collaborate with artists all over the world.
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
Some of it’s art.
(Picture below of a denim jacket painted by Russell)
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
Longer than I can remember.
Since I was very young.
What did you draw as a pre-teen child?
Castles, pirate cats, smoking dogs, robbers.
What did you draw as a teen?
Iron Maiden inspired stuff, religious icons, crosses, frankenstein, swastikas, hitler, Princess Diana, drippy painting, when I got to art college I got really into doing big abstract paintings with industrial materials.
All the time I was still working on comics a bit. Super roughly drawn ones we’d print in Vilegeneration.
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Seeing a Tom and Jerry cartoon for the first time, seeing a book of Francis Baon’s paintings when I’d never seen painting like that before, when my friend Paul sent me his first issue of Eyeball comics.
(Picture below of some art by Russell)
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
I was 31 and I’d always wanted to do my own thing.
I leant everything I thought I could learn from being an artist’s assistant and it was the right time.
Describe the method of making your creations? (dot point all o.k.)
* your sketches and cartoons?
Comics i make up as i go along.
Sometimes i have to draw them out multiple times because I’m not that great at drawing but the stories are all stream of consciousness.
* your paintings?
My most recent paintings were chalk pen on boards.
In the past i’ve tried all sorts of things with painting from industrial paint to watercolours.
I like to experiment when it comes to painting and mix different materials.
* your digital work?
I draw some thing out in pencil.
Then I redraw it in pen.
Then i redraw it several more times in pen to get get it how I want it to look.
I then scan it into the computer and colour it in digitally.
* your sculptural work – such as the Radioactive Bastard figure?
They’re all existing toys such as wrestling toys, modified with milliput , painted with acrylic paint and varnished with clear nail varnish.
* your stickers?
Same as my digital work except i send it to a printers (awesome merchandise) to be turned into stickers.
What is it like being the official unofficial artist for ole ‘Fluffer Records’ + how did that all come about?
I’m not the unofficial artists for fluffed records i’m the official artist of Fluffer records.
Love Buzzard played my mate’s night at the Old Blue and i did did the poster.
Al Buzzard liked my stuff and i’ve been doing stuff for Fluffer ever since.
How does it feel being a part of Hip Hop history thanks to your design work for ole ‘Riff Raff’?
It’s cool. I like like Riff Raff, he’s like Dee Dee Ramone or something.
I feel like he’s a genuine guy and i was happy to do a tee shirt for him.
I was even more happy when it was in some of his videos.
(Picture below of Russell’s work for Riff Raff)
You have released one art toy thus far – the one off ‘Malibu Mutant Barbie’ + i have seen an in progress pic of a sculpt on your Instagram…
Yeah man that was for the Streets of beige show, on your shelf.
They’re always putting on cool shows and they are super nice guys.
* any plans to venture further into the world of art toys / designer toys yourself?
I still haven’t finished Radioactive bastard but my aim is to finish him by the new year.
Next year i’d really like to make some limited edion toys, maybe in clear resin (which I love) or in soft plastic like Monsters in my pocket or muscle men.
* thoughts on the art toy scene in general?
It’s fucking awesome! It’s always expanding and there’s new ideas out there all the time.
I think it’s really going to get big in the next few years.
(Pictures below of the Radioactive Bastard figure by Russell)
How did you and ole ‘Trippy Pins’ come to work together?
I can’t remember!
I think they might have contacted me after the Riff raft t-shirts. However it happened brandon is a really cool gut and they are doing awesome pins by a whole bunch of wicked artists.
Check them out at @trippypins on instgram.
Odds n Ends
What role did toys play in your childhood?
My dad was a nurse and he’s bring me all these cool toys from the cereal when I was really little.
Someone he worked with also collected all the Rupert comics from the papers they glued them into a book foe me.
I remember going on holiday to Norfolk and getting a orange hunchback monster in my pocket in some cereal and dreaming monsters and making toys the whole time, totally ignoring all the beautiful countryside or whatever.
Just starring at this inch of rubber, mesmerised.
(Picture below of some of Russ’ favorite toys)
What does punk music and culture mean to you and why?
It means support your scene and fuck all authority and that’s as relevent in the art world as the music world.
Please describe your experiences growing up in Wales?
I didn’t grow up in wales, I grew up in Hereford on the English side of the Welsh border.
I lived in the country and there wasn’t too much to do.
It was very good for the imagination. Later I moved into town and there was a good local punk scene based around the art college.
I didn’t realise it at the time but art specific college’s are pretty rare and I was lucky that there was one in town I could go to instead of 6th form.
(Pictures below of a pin and patch featuring art by Russell)
I know you also dabble in music…
* what are some bands you have been in – i know one was ‘Micropenis’?
Micropenis was my electro punk band we were really inspired by a Cambridge based band called The Vichy Government and by Shampoo , before that there was Laminator which started out as a noise punk thing but eventually turned into a kind of indie band when my friend Ash joined.
Then he and I did Cash Cow which was even more indy and was the first band I used drum machines in. We’d write songs in his bedroom and everything was recorded on 4-track cassettes.
Currently I’m doing Bogus Pipeline with my house mate Lee which started out as my solo electro punk project and is now much more of a lo-fi industrial noise thing.
* most out-there on the road tale?
I think our performances with Laminator.
We tried to do all this out there stuff like smashing up equipment and fighting. Once my friend Omar was playing keyboard and he threw fireworks into the crowd.
In the early days we really tried to push what we thought a band could be and we’d always have different line ups and weird instruments.
* what release do you get from music that you don’t get from your other art?
I like the immediacy and performance aspects of it.
I worry less about it and enjoy it more.
Who was your 1st crush and why?
I liked Jenny Powell from Ghost Train.I’m not sure why, I was like 8 or 9, probably just cus she was pretty and Ghost Train had cartoons.
I think I liked her clothes at the time too.
(Picture below of Ms. Jenny Powell – Russell’s first crush)
Does sex change everything?
Maybe not everything.
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I was walking down all these roads and there was traffic coming both ways.
None of the cars hit me but they were coming close.
In the distance I could see lots of other people walking in between cars but the were all separate, miles from each other.
(Picture below of a sketch by Russell)
Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?
Yeah. Mostly really good.
Once I tried to play a gig after taking mushrooms and I could remember how to play the songs fine but couldn’t remember any of the lyrics.
There was a free festival in Cambridge called Strawberry Fair and I remember walking down the hill to it and the whole fair being this huge living thing that was pulsating with a glowing energy.
Another time we took mushroom and were in the pub watching all these drunk old farmers dancing, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
I want to work with animators more. I really love to make a cartoon or an animated music video that would stand the test of time.
Something like Masters of the Universe meets the peyote scene in Beavis and Butthead do America.
(Picture below of some Tittybats fan art by Russell)
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
Depends which ones.
They’re not the only gateway to the universe but they can help you see things differently.
Please describe what you think the UK Psyche/Zeitgeist is today?
The UK is a bit of a nightmare at the moment.
Lots of bad vibes, fear and hatred.
Please decribe the current UK underground art scene for those at home…
There’s a ton of awesome illustrators and underground publications, i’d say check out Eyeball Comix, Satanic Mojo, Flabby Dagger (the zine I edit with my friend charlie mellors) James Burgess, Sina Sparrow, Paul Arscott, Bans Illustration and Aidan Cook for a start.
What led you to vegatarianism?
Learning about factory farming.
Which 1990’s era cartoon, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?
(Please sketch a prototype as well.)
How about a Dr Zitbag from Dr Zitbag’s Transyvanian Pet Shop butt plug.
Why? Because it’s an underrated 90’s cartoon and his head is basically the perfect shape for a butt plug.
(Picture below of the Dr Zitbag butt plug by Russell)
Who would win in a fight and why: a Welsh farmer in town for the weekend Vs. an art punk on her way to a gig?
(Please draw the battle in all it’s violent beauty!)
The welsh farmer of course!
There’s no one more pointlessly violent than a welsh farmer out on the town.
(Picture below by Russell of a Welsh farmer fighting an art punk)
Any collaborations on the horizon?
Yes! A bunch with my tag team partner @therealstu_art on instagram. check him out.
We’ve got a bunch of mutant wrestling related stuff we’re gonna do together.
Any major projects you want to hype?