In the late '50's and early '60's, Russ was known world-wide as a successful actor/dancer. Upon meeting Wallace Berman in 1964, his creative focus changed from entertainment to fine arts. He gave up his plush home and life-style in Pacific Palisades and moved to Topanga Canyon. There, along with Wallace, George Herms and Dean Stockwell, Russ began a journey into the underground world of personal art.
It wasn't until 1970 that Russ had his first solo exhibition at the Community House in Topanga. His work consisted of collages, assemblages and mixed media, including music provided by his neighbor and friend, Neil Young.
In 1975, Russ took his work into the city for a one-man show at the Mizuno Gallery in LaCienega. He has also participated in shows for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Design Center and L.A.I.C.A. His last solo exhibition was held at his home in 1977, in Topanga. Recently, he joined the Surfboard Art Invitational, a national fundraiser for Heal The Bay.
As Russ' career returns to entertainment, he remains active in the world of art. He co-starred in the movie HUMAN HIGHWAY, which he choreographed and co-wrote with colleagues Dean and Neil. He also joined other artists and actors in David Lynch's critically acclaimed television series TWIN PEAKS, in the role of 'Dr. Jacoby'.
His style as actor/director/writer mirrors itself in his collages. In a fanciful blend of reality and wry humor, he displays an upbeat view of life and all its possibilities. Says Russ, "In entertainment, your function is to make the audience's head spin ... in art, your function is to make your own head spin".