Getting to know you: Serrah Russell

Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Samantha Malay. This week: Serrah Russell!


Serrah Russell’s collage work can stop you in your tracks. Appropriately, we discovered her work at a juried exhibition titled “Arrest Me” last year. Serrah’s piece “She cried for stars she had never seen” was on view that night and, despite its seeming simplicity, we couldn’t stop looking at it.

"She cried for stars she had never seen." (collage, 16 x 12)



Where is your studio?  Since my work is fairly contained, I don’t have a studio exactly but make my work at my home, in a condo in Belltown. Most of my work takes place at a beautiful drafting table that I received as a gift from my husband on our first Christmas together. I work with a view of the water and particularly enjoy watching the changing weather and the ferry’s journey back and forth to the islands. This view of nature from within the city has really influenced the direction of my work.

Native Seattleite or transplant?  Native

What’s on your studio soundtrack?  At this current moment, I’m listening to The Smiths, but typically it’s a rotation of albums by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, The National, The Head and The Heart, Macklemore, The Weepies, and Mumford and Sons. But if it’s a long day, I’ll definitely throw on some episodes of The Office or This American Life to make me feel less alone.

Who is your art history crush?  Most of my art crushes are writers rather than visual artists. I’m pretty in love with all works by E.E. Cummings, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck and J.D. Salinger. For visual artists, I really wish I could spend some time with Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha and Moyra Davey.

What is your favorite Seattle fall activity?  My birthday is in October so I have always felt a kinship with all things Fall. Unlike Summer, I feel that the fall season ends up being cozy, chic and a bit more minimalist. It is focused, clearer, calmer. I don’t try to pack so many activities into my day, but I feel more at ease with taking time, allowing for resting, relaxing and moving more slowly and thoughtfully. So for me, a great day would include a morning walk to get hot tea and a maple bar at TopPot, some time working in the studio, making work or reading and writing, catching a matinee movie, and a dinner with friends or family, finishing things off with a whisky cocktail and a cheese plate at Clever Bottle.

Where is the best coffee in town?  I might be the only person in Seattle who isn’t a die-hard coffee drinker, but if I’m ever at Cafe Presse, I always have a cappuccino. And Bauhaus makes a great iced coffee.

What is the last book you read?  Currently and slowly making my way through a few books, including The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

What is your most treasured possession?  I don’t know what I would do if I lost all (or any!) of the Polaroids I have taken over the years. Also, I adore my wedding ring. It’s a beautiful daily reminder of love.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?  I don’t think I’ve really had any really terrible jobs. I’ve worked at an antique store, a floral shop, a postal store, and right now as a photo editor for a wedding blog, but I have to say my favorite job was during one summer in college when I worked at a gelato shop in Fremont. It’s hard to be unhappy when your main task is serving rose and pistachio gelato to sun-kissed people in the city.

What super power would you like to have?  Time-travel. I just want the idea to be possible. I wouldn’t go back or forward to change anything, just to be a witness. (And probably try to take some photos!)

What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)?  I couldn’t pick just one. Although I am excited for the fall, I am still trying to hang onto this gorgeous Summer so my picks are reminders of the perfection of a Northwest summer:

Oyster and Lemons - Rachel Maxi
They call it way too rowdy, we call it finally free - Susanna Bluhm
Summer Birthday (Seattle) - John Armstrong
Untitled 1 - Rachael Lang
Wood Corner - Jennifer Zwick

Thanks Serrah!

See more of Serrah Russell’s work on Artsyo.

"Carbon Copy" (Oil on Found Photograph, 8 x 8)

"Everything At Once" (Archival Inkjet Print of Digital Collage, 12 x 16)