an art show with a 125 mile blast radius

blast radius

One of my illustrations was just accepted into a juried show at the The ARTS gallery at Collin County Community College. The show, which features work by 125 local artists in a variety of media, has the interesting requirement of the artist needing to both live and work within 125 miles of the city.

I'm excited to participate, and hopeful that the event's impact far exceeds its blast radius.

125 Show

125 Plano Arts Association Juried Show

Please join us as the Plano Art Association presents a collection of exciting works executed by local artists.

The juried exhibition will include work in several categories, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

Exhibit Dates: April 12 - May 15
Reception: Wednesday, April 14th, 6 PM - 9 PM

The ARTS gallery exhibition hours:
Monday - Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 2 PM

For more information: The ARTS gallery


category: events
04 / 05 / 2010


austrian snail mail

Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (and used email for correspondence), I had a fairly regular exchange going with artist James Seehafer.

James was always pretty active in the arts community, and went on to do some pretty awesome things. Amongst them, he coined the term Massurrealism, and through his own work became the ad hoc father of the movement.

I lost track of my pen pal after a few years, and had always assumed he had gone on to things far more important than little old me.

As it turns out, James has been reading along the entire time. He got back in touch with me after my recent ramblings about social media.

He's since moved to Austria, from where I recently received a surprise package. Inside, I found two sheets of mint-condition Massurrealism postage stamps. A nifty souvenir from an old friend.

Massurrealism Stamp Massurrealism Stamp

Learn more about James, and the Massurrealism movement, at


category: playing
03 / 30 / 2010


the queen's cup runs happily dry

Queen of Cups was my first limited edition giclée, and a few days ago it finally sold out!

The illustration was created in conjunction with a Valentine's Day art event benefiting Genesis Women's Shelter. To raise money for their cause, we produced a small but high-quality run of fourteen hand-signed and numbered prints.

Half of those prints sold at auction that night, with 100% of their proceeds being donated to Genesis.

I did have one bit of personal gain that evening. I traded number fourteen from my edition with artist Michelle Stroescu. She's an amazing artist who was also participating in the benefit, and we decided to "swap fourteens" during the reception.

As for the remaining giclées, a few friends and clients added them to their personal collections over the years. Eventually I found myself with the final print from the edition, lucky number thirteen, framed on my office wall.

A few weeks ago, a friend who shares my passions for wine and art saw the piece at my studio, and decided it would look better on his wall than mine.

In honor of the original intent of the series, I'll be donating a portion of the proceeds to Genesis Women's Shelter.


Queen of Cups, by Russ Sharek


category: studio
03 / 19 / 2010


stumbling upon old friends

Last weekend, while joyfully stumbling about the North Texas Irish Festival, I bumped into my friends Joshua and Celina Mauk. I hadn't seen them in ages, so it was good to get a chance to reconnect.

Josh and I have done a couple of amazing projects together, including a beautiful Mitsuro and black diamond ring for his lovely wife Celina.

Celina reminded me that I never got a chance to photograph the custom piercing plugs she had me make for Josh, and he was kind enough to pose for a couple of quick pictures:


Joshua Mauk


Joshua Mauk


Joshua Mauk


If you happen to be in the Denton area, be sure to check out Josh's band Lavish.


category: playing
03 / 10 / 2010


ambiphyte update

Like almost everyone I know, I'm currently suffering the ravages of a wicked head cold.

I had assumed that the combination of the "creeping crud" and the cruddy weather would make for a really difficult opening for El Corazon. Much to my surprise, a couple hundred dedicated art lovers braved the obstacles to see some amazing heart-related creations last Saturday.

For my part, I spent the evening in a medicated blur. Mostly, I smiled like a vacant spokes-model and politely avoided shaking hands with the uninfected.

Amidst my haze, I did manage to bump into a number of old friends. It was wonderful to get a chance to reconnect with people I lost in the shuffle of the previous decade ending.

To those I may have missed by leaving early, consider yourselves lucky for being exposed only to my art.

During my recovery, I managed to prop myself upright at my desk long enough to upload Ambiphyte, my entry for the show, to my illustration portfolio.

I'm also trying something new, by offering a special "sweetheart print" of Ambiphyte during the run of the show. This is not a photographic reproduction, but rather a higher-quality unframed giclée print at an affordable 11x14 size. The prints are $60 each, which you can order by contacting me at the studio.

I'll be there drinking hot toddies until the plague ends.


Ambiphyte - Russ Sharek, 2010


category: studio
02 / 11 / 2010


opening the conversation

Some artists are now sharing their process on a daily basis, creating a much more active feedback loop with their audience. Former receivers of completed artistic output are now often participants in the creative process in terms of how they influence the work. So, while many artists still control the content, none of them control the conversation around it.

KERA's Art&Seek Blog

A good friend, and fellow creative collaborator, recently pointed me towards this article from the KERA arts blog. It's about, in part, the changing way we interact with artists thanks to modern technology. I think it's a worthy read for any modern artist, or those interested in their process.

Like a lot of creative professionals (read, artsy weirdos who eat because of it), I've been spending a lot of time pondering the question of how to foster a more open attitude towards both my work and how I go about making it.

Times have definitely changed, and that era wherein an artist dramatically locks themselves in a cave in order to create seems to be dwindling to a quiet close. Now the answer seems to involve getting out there and collaborating, or at least not being a stick in the mud about it happening around you.

The truth is I've been working with other creative people for years. The lion's share of my work is commissioned by people who need a talented collaborator to swing the odd hammer, stylus or torch on their behalf. In the end, I'm just helping their creative process along, despite my getting to take credit for the lot.

Due to the complex and fidgety nature of the Mitsuro technique, I tend to work in batches of pieces. In a perfect world I'd expound upon this being an iterative process, wherein I circle ever-closer to the pure heart of a concept.

The truth is it's probably closer in spirit to emptying a loaded shotgun while blindfolded in the direction of a fleeing mouse. While the actual output may be scattered, the effect is always dramatic enough to impress bystanders. What's more, I often get lucky and kill me some rodent in the process.

Russ Sharek

Whereas I have traditionally limited sharing works-in-progress with those involved in the process, it seems that the brave new world now recommends inviting a few hundred million artistically-leaning internet addicts to the conversation.

I must admit that thinking conjures up the mental image of lolcats and other internet phenomenon lurking about my workshop.

While waiting on the exterminators to come and spray for stray memes, I had chat with one of my more artistically-minded clients about this whole "open studio" concept. She loved the idea of getting people excited about process, and suggested that I post some of the work-in-progress images I had recently sent her way to get the ball rolling.

Of course, what you're about to see is not actually her project. That piece is slated to be a surprise gift for a friend, so I've agreed to leave it off my site for the moment. Instead, here's a sampling of wax models which were a part of the "shotgun effect" of working towards the exact piece she dreamed up.


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


copyright: The Morpheus Company, 2010


Now, a couple of quick points about process. First and foremost, I'm a terrible photographer. I did my best to make these decipherable, but I'm destined to leave the creation of good looking photographs to the professionals.

Secondly, these are just wax models at this point. Try to think of them as "jewelry sketches", and realize they will likely change a bit along the way to becoming finished pieces.

Thirdly, if you have an opinion about these pieces, now is the time to speak up. Once these pieces move to the casting stage, there's really no turning back. If one of these pieces is "almost perfect" and you know what it needs, I invite you to contact me at the studio and get involved in the process.


category: studio
01 / 29 / 2010


el corazon

The 16th Annual El Corazon Art Exhibition

16th Annual El Corazon Art Exhibition
Curated by Jose Vargas

February 6th - March 6th, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 6th (7-9 PM)
Admission is free and event is open to the public

Bath House Cultural Center
521 E Lawther Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 670-8723

Last October, in between stints of "live digital doodling" on a video projector, I had an opportunity to show my illustration work to Jose Vargas. Jose is a fantastic talent in his own right*, and he also curates several art events in and around the Dallas area.

*I have one of his "cemetery angel" photographs in my home. She is as beautiful as she is unsettling.

Jose and I have known each other for years through the Bath House Cultural Center, but we've never really had a chance to work together directly. To him, I suspect I've always been that weird jewelry guy in the lobby, and he's that really quiet photographer/painter whom I wave to in the hazy, pre-caffeinated mornings while setting up my booth.

Thanks to ArtLoveMagic, we finally had a chance to converse a bit, and after seeing my new illustration work he invited me to put together a piece for El Corazon.

One of the requirements of the event was that I submit a sketch of my piece-in-progress for approval.

This presented an interesting challenge, as all of my vector illustrations are created without the benefit of paper. The "sketch", if any, continually evolves into the final piece. It's a bit more like sculpting lines than drawing them, which probably explains why I've got the temperament to do it.

In any case, in order the meet the requirement I actually sat down with a piece of note-taking software called xournal and used it to rough out something in a olde-school pen-and-paper sort of way.

The nice part of doing this electronically was that I meet the requirement of making a rough sketch, and then I could import this chicken-scratch-quality image directly into my tools-of-choice. If nothing else, I gain some geek-cred for the effort and was saved the hassle of locating my now seldom-used paper sketchbook.

I'll post the final piece after the opening reception.

Concept Sketch for El Corazon


category: events
01 / 27 / 2010


back then

I launched in 1996. Back then, an artist with a website was sort of a freakish oddity. Most people in the arts were not comfortable or familiar with technology, and all but the edge cases ran their creative lives quite happily without the benefit of "them there interwebs."

I found myself living in Dallas at the start of the dot-com boom, and thus spent a fair chunk of my copious free time socializing with deep-in-the-trenches geeks. The very ones who, in their copious free time, built huge swaths of the technological infrastructure we happily take for granted today.

These guys, and yeah back then they were all guys, kept telling me how all of this internet stuff was going to change everything we knew about human interaction. Their mantra was that this ephemeral web of online "stuff" would become the platform on which we could communicate our ideas, plan cool projects and ultimately collaborate to make awesome stuff happen.

There is, before I continue, one thing worthy of mentioning for perspective's sake: Back then I was an enormously self-important ass. While I may well be an ass today, I now like to think I'm a little less self-absorbed about it.

So, deeply ensconced in my own ego, I missed the enormous beauty and potential that could come from this sort of connection. What I did hear, however, was that there was a new way to get my artwork exposed to a world wide audience. That was just enough to keep me from blowing off my technology-savvy friends and languishing in offline oblivion forever.

Thus greedily inspired, I collaborated long hours amongst my geeky brethren to forge what was, back then, a fairly spiffy web presence. A few phone calls and in-person visits convinced our favorite coffee emporium to host a website launch party.

My favorite irony of this project was the fact that this particular pre-boom non-Starbucks caffeine emporium had no internet access. We were, back then, left with no alternative but to bring computers pre-loaded with offline copies of our internet-based efforts to show technologically unsavvy people the website of an artist who at the time did not fully appreciate the value of social networking.


Serve Your Addictions, October 1996.


Looking back, it sounds as much like advocacy (and perhaps a bit of intervention) as it did advertising, but I still say it was one of the coolest things I ever did.

The benefit of all that work was that I found myself, for a brief time, a tiny bit ahead of the artisan-geek curve. Reading through it again, I think it is pretty plain that I wasn't particularly smart or special to have accomplished this. I was merely lucky for being connected to the right people, and just open enough to be willing to work with others towards making it happen.

Because this decision was so beneficial to my career, I found that shortly thereafter I became overly cautious about my online existence. Beyond my predisposition to paranoia, I had successfully carved out my own chunk of the ether and I just didn't want anyone to screw with it.

The danger is that sliding from cautious to curmudgeonly is simply a matter of calcification. Just make a decision, stick to your guns and ignore every development that might outdate or obsolesce that initially sound thinking. If you continue down the road of letting your decisions define you, you're just a bad attitude away from transitioning from curmudgeon to crank.

During my time with the geeks, I absorbed a lot of high-level notions of living in a connected society. The term social network hadn't really been coined yet, but I already had a fundamental grasp of collaboration (and how to do it online), freedom (and why it was important), copyright (and how broken it can be) and privacy (and how to protect it).

What I did not possess was a fundamental understanding of how these ideas applied to me. I could prattle on, preaching for endless hours about open source, freedom and not giving away your rights, but my working knowledge of the information age's bogeymen left me with little more than a checklist of what not to do.

And so, despite the fact that almost every good thing I had done with my career had come out of opening up and collaborating with others, I cut myself off from the big scary internet of fools and evil corporations.

Never mind the fact that doing so actually prevented me from connecting to the very people interested in working with me. I was not going to let my "genius" be stolen (which you can't really do), mocked (which at this point it clearly needed) or be photographed unflatteringly (which it really wanted all along, but was too shy to admit) online.

So yeah, for a while I was just a bad mood away from crank town.

The failsafe mechanism in my intellectual DNA which allowed me to survive this epic and largely self-inflicted stupidity is that I am a fundamentally social creature. Put me in a room alone long enough and I will leave it to seek out interesting input in the form of people. Even in my most misanthropic moments, I fervently believe in the synergy that occurs between people playing with ideas and its potential to create better things than working alone.

Part of the process of overcoming ego is simply being open to listening to other people's ideas. Once you stop assuming you're the best, you're suddenly magically allowed to learn more. Part of that whole collaboration thing is the ability to listen to other people, who sometimes say things that can actually make the "not the best" you even better.

For the last year or so, I've been listening a lot.

It seems that during my time on my own private island everyone else managed to catch up. Oh, who hell am I kidding? You geniuses ran right past on your way to socially interactive nirvana. Of course, just like me, you got lucky too. You didn't have to waste all that copious free time building infrastructure to communicate, or drink coffee while waiting on someone smarter than you to invent it.

While I still need to lock myself in a room from time to time, possibly for the betterment of humanity at large, I'd like to get off my lonely island and join the fray. Maybe I'll catch another lucky break and get ahead of the curve again. Maybe I'll just get to collaborate on cooler projects.

Either way you'll be able to friend me on facebook (amongst other places) now. :-)


category: business
01 / 08 / 2010


local press

During the last Winter Art Mart, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Misty Lorraine. In addition to being a fan of my work, it turns out she's also writes the "Artist on the Scene" section of the White Rock Lake Weekly. Much to my delight, our brief conversation quickly morphed into a feature in their December 11th issue.

Check out page eight of the electronic edition for the story.


category: press
12 / 31 / 2009


2009 winter art mart

2009 Winter Art Mart

Art sale and silent auction. Fall in Dallas means, among other things, that art lovers can get a head start on holiday shopping during the Bath House Cultural Center Art Mart.

11/20: Opening reception and art preview (7 p.m.)
11/21: Art sale and silent auction from 12 noon-7 p.m.
11/22: Art sale and silent auction from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Art Mart has always been the place to find a special piece of art for yourself, family, and friends: paintings, sculpture, photography, pottery, ceramics, jewelry, cards and other unique creations. This year, the Art Mart will include a reception launching the Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center, a new non-profit organization supporting the Bath House.

There will also be a sneak peek of art on sale, a silent auction, and much more. The Bath House Winter Art Mart benefits the Bath House Cultural Center's year-round visual and performing arts programs. The artists participating in the 2009 Winter Art Mart are: Kim Argubright, Candy Austin, Rita Barnard, Brenda Benson, Martha Boles, George Boyd, Mary Brinson, Judy Buckner, Sharon Chaples, Dan Coppersmith, Barbara Erickson, Joney Ferguson, Brad Foster, Fred Gardner, Niki Gulley, Rebecca Guy, Carmen Kelley, Cindy Kelley, J. Lynn Kelly, Cindy Laughlin, Keith Livingston, T Lee Marshall, Jorge Martinez, Mick McGill, Sylvia Mims, Jo Moncrief, Pam Myers-Morgan, Gail Roberts, Marty Ruiz, Elisabeth Schalij, Kathy Sides, Russ Sharek, Lugina Stanley, Mily Sugranes, Regina Tanasescu, Judith Trimble, Tink, Dave and Sheilah Unger, Art Wells, and Scott Williams. The 2009 Winter Art Mart is free and open to the public. Please visit for more information.

The Bath House Cultural Center


category: events
11 / 11 / 2009


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