Rolling Out

Zaria Russell shows Dutch Masters how she’s making smoke and mastering art

Atlanta-based Russell makes bright, colorful art using several mediums
Zaria Russell shows Dutch Masters how she's making smoke and mastering art
Photo by rolling out

Zaria Russell is a passionate artist who is based in Atlanta. She expresses emotion with the vibrancy of different tones and pigments to not only capture of the eye of observers, but to also create conversation. She spoke on a panel presented by Making Smoke and Dutch Masters about how she discovered herself as an artist.

How does if feel to create a masterpiece and what is your emotional connection with the creation?

A masterpiece that I created is called “We Made Mona.” I love the art community. I love collaborating with artists, I love talking to artists, I love seeing other people’s vision. I feel like what I created really pushed that part of me that really wanted to connect to other artists. I wanted to show two artists working on one piece. Showing that also made people realize how important it is to collaborate with other artists and to be in tune with the art community because what we’re doing right here is important and inspirational.

When you see other people’s ideas and you see other people’s flow and you see how they work, you learn so much. That’s what art is all about. It’s all about learning and really building yourself and really becoming the person that you never thought you’d be. We can become whoever we want as time goes on and on and on. We are ever-changing, and so is art. It never stops.

How do you master technical skills and mediums as an artist?

When you’re mastering a skill as an artist, first, you’ve got to find something you’re completely comfortable with, and you’ve got to find your lane, something that helps you express yourself. If you’re mastering any type of skill, and you’re not passionate about it, it’s not going to work. If you’re not passionate about art, then it’s not going to work. That’s the most important thing about mastering anything, you have to be passionate about it.

Now, as far as mediums go, you just have to go with the flow, you have to try everything. I’m really really an advocate for trying everything and then picking your favorite once you’re well versed in everything. Once you’re well-rounded in every medium, you get to pick which one you like. That’s the best way to go about picking your lane. You also have that experience with other mediums so that makes you a multimedia artist.

Find yourself first and then you can find your skill, and then you can find your medium, and it will all work simultaneously. It’s like a domino effect. You have to try new things. That’s how you meet new people and that’s how you learn new things and how you keep that push in your whole career. It’s limitless. You can do so many things. There [are] so many ways to express art. And that’s what makes mastering multiple skills and multiple mediums so fun.

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