Creative Director + Designer + Photographer
So how does a ranch hand, Hawaiian tour guide, forestry technician, log home builder, surveyor, butcher and electrician end up in a creative career?
Your guess is as good as his…it would have been a lot easier if he had known what to do, gone to college and landed a sweet job. Instead, he took the winding adventure of life that landed in design and ultimately shaped his approach to his work.
Russ’ entry to the design world began at a small local newspaper in his hometown where on his first day, he struggled to coax a CD from a Mac and had to teach himself QuarkXpress in two weeks (the equivalent of learning a foreign language in the same time frame). In the process, he realized, “Hey, maybe I have an aptitude for this?” Organizing things, setting type, using the grid, obsessing over the details… It was here that his passion for design began to unfold.
Russ grew up constantly sketching inventions. He was always curious about photography, signage, industrial design, dimension, order… yes things neatly placed. The Reagan administration probably didn’t know what to think when Russ’ sketch arrived for the new battleship the government didn’t know they needed.
As Creative Director and Designer at Studio Absolute and over 20 years after fumbling with the Mac CD drive and sending sketches to the President, Russ’ portfolio includes work recognized in the Oregon Addy’s and the publications, Visual Marketing, Logolounge Books 7, 9 and 10 and Master Library editions. Russ is self-taught and credits his success in design and photography to years of experience in agency work in the branding field. Today, nearly ten years after Studio Absolute opened its doors, Russ continues to lead with same vision he started with—an emphasis on strategy-driven design, strong typography and an eye for imagery which drive the successful projects that channel through the studio.
In June of 2019, Russ took his expansive experience in design and branding to Northview Hotels & Resorts where he works with a progressive, creative team in an Executive Creative Director role.
Russ’s love for photography was spawned in his teens when shooting film with his Canon AE-1. His rural Oregon roots engrained a love for the outdoors that continues today. You can find Russ with his family and friends exploring the wonders and inspiration of the Pacific Northwest from his Bend, Oregon home. In his spare time, Russ is a local fly fishing guide for Fin & Fire Fly Shop where he enjoys teaching others the sport, taking in nature and making connections. You’ve probably seen him casting a fly on a river or lake somewhere—camera nearby, and his trusty pup, Juno, by his side.