Russell Metzger's works on video
Russell Metzger - Artist Biography
I was born June 14th (Flag Day) in Winchester and raised in Oskaloosa, Kansas, a small town with a population of fewer than 1000, counting cats and dogs. In first grade, I received a failing grade in art because I refused to color within the lines. It seemed too restrictive to me to be confined by lines, but I was branded a disobedient rebel at that young age for breaking the rules. The shame I felt when I brought my report card home was so traumatic that my future career as a professional artist stalled.
I pursued athletics, becoming a National AAU Champion at pole vaulting and earning a track scholarship to the University of New Mexico. Then along came many other professions, from selling cars to chemical manufacturing to writing music and then performing in Nashville on TNN (the Nashville Network). When my wife began working for University of New Mexico, I started a business in Albuquerque to create artistic floors. I made patterns of swirling colorful dyes that resulted in beautiful floors on top of polished concrete surfaces. I began with an emphasis for the home-owner who wanted to add an unusual upgrade to his basement, and I expanded to the point where I made these "fantasy floors" for schools and businesses that included casinos and restaurants.
As unlikely as it may seem, this profession gave me a special appreciation of artists such as Jackson Pollack, whose modern art, created by pouring and splattering paint on canvas and other surfaces, set a new trend. That's when I began using my unique flooring techniques to create my own style of abstract modern art, using dyes and epoxy resins to fill canvases with imaginative and very colorful abstract images.
Jezebel Gallery in Madrid, New Mexico, began showing and selling my work, and I am proud at how productive I have been as a creator of abstracts, and how they have been appreciated by so many people, selling and shipping to places as far as Australia.
When Jezebel gallery had an exhibit of Paul Davids' paintings of Sedona, Arizona, we met and formed a close friendship -- and then after a year or two, an artistic alliance. Soon we realized we were creating together an entirely new style of contemporary art. There haven't been many two-man art teams -- Courier and Ives comes to mind -- but count us as expanding on that tradition. In addition to all of my solo work, since 2012, Paul Davids and I have completed 24 collaborations, some of them eight feet wide! Donna Bond, the Director of Marketing of the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel, California, recognized our collaborative works of art as being exceptional and unique. She curated 13 of our works for a 3-month exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton beginning in February, 2014.
So it turned out that coloring outside the lines in first grade, which resulted in a painful rap on my wrists as punishment, was actually the best possible preparation for my future!
From riding, roping and working on a ranch, Wrangler Western jeans have long been used for a wide range of needs. However, just how wide that range is wasn't clear until the recent discovery of an unconventional way the iconic jeans are being used: contemporary mixed-media oil paintings created by a remarkable two-man art-team.
Born and raised in Wrangler Western jeans, artist Russell Metzger began his career in a flooring business until one fateful day when his path took an interesting turn. On that day, Metzger was creating art, as he often does in his spare time, and decided that instead of throwing away an old pair of Wrangler jeans, he would harden them with chemicals and create a canvas where the Wrangler jeans formed an American flag. The piece was aptly named "Born in the USA" and a commercial artist was born. Metzger had the piece shown in Jezebel Gallery in Madrid, N.M., where it sold to collectors in Australia.
And that was just the start. In 2008, he had the chance to help Hollywood producer, writer, director and artist, Paul Davids, on the film "Before We Say Goodbye." During a visit to David's home, Metzger admired the large oil paintings that filled his house from top to bottom. The paintings struck an idea and Metzger gave Davids a challenge; he would cover a huge canvas with hardened Wrangler Jeans and Davids would paint over it with oils. Both stuck to their promise and their first collaborative piece came to realization and was named "Night Snowfall in the City." Due to the success of their first piece, the duo continued to work together and produced many more works of art that you can view below such as "Four Corners Sunset", "Blue Grotto", "Jean's Cove", "Mountain Men", and "The Spirit of Vincent".
Russell Metzger and Paul Davids have 13 of their pieces currently on display at the exclusive resort, the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif., from Feb. 8 through April 30, 2014. To find out more about the exhibition, please visit http://pauldavids-artist.com/link/announcing_Ritz-Carlton_Exhibition. To learn more about Metzger, Davids, and their art, visit www.pauldavids-artist.com and www.russellmetzgerstudio.com.