I first learned of Amber Michelle Russell’s art when she expressed interest in TAE through one of our team’s creative. Born in 1984 in St. Paul, MN, she is a self-taught artist and curator who specializes in the macabre. Since 2012, Amber has been showing her art in exhibitions all over the country.

She has two types of art she has extreme passion for – realistic graphite drawings allow her to feed her love of detail, but her main love is painting haunting images as her “personal outlet.” Currently based in Wisconsin, Amber continues to follow her love of the arts and improving herself in the process.

“Functioning without art as a constant in my life would be like living without water. I need to be doing something artistic and creative or I become lifeless,” she says. “I create emotionally captivating visceral subject matter. My artwork usually depicts a female figure in an emotionally vulnerable state. My work is an extension of myself.”

When asked what inspires her and makes her art original, the artist says it’s what flows from her. “I paint what comes out of me … I’m not trying to be mainstream with my work,” she explains. For her, even if at times people wouldn’t generally see her emotive art as “pleasant,” it’s a “personal release” anyway.

“If people enjoy it, that’s just an added perk,” Amber explains. “During adolescence I realized that engaging in the creative process had supported and sustained me through some darker life experiences, and it continues to do so. Making art (for me) is emotional therapy.”

Amber is also proud that she’s untrained. “I’m completely self-taught. I found my style by painting what I was feeling,” she recalls. “I started drawing when I was three … other children played outside; I played in my sketchbook.”

Here are some of her mixed-media portraits:

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Check out more of Amber’s work at her website. Thanks for reading!