Local Artist Profile: Josh Russnell

JoshThis is Josh. He was laid off two weeks ago and is waiting for a new flooring job to begin. In the meantime, he’s been making ends meet by selling his art on the street in the Mission.

When he approached Heather and I outside of Puerto Allegro tonight, he told us that this particular piece is blue Bic on cardboard and took six hours to create. He also told us he was $14 away from having a hotel room for him and his daughter tonight.

We gave him a twenty. Personally, I consider it a great investment. If you’d like an original Bic on cardboard, Josh can often be found in the Muddy Waters cafe on Valencia. Be sure to get him to sign it.

8 Comments so far

  1. Brendan (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 11:35 pm

    Is that a tattoo on his chin? No wonder he got “laid off”. It seems that every person on the street in this city is “a few cents short of a BART or MUNI ticket” or “a few bucks short of a hotel room”. Don’t worry you’ll build up an immunity soon, either that or you’ll be sucked dry of all your change.


  2. Matt Stone (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 7:32 am

    Funny, I heard the same story from him two months ago, and bought some of his art. I’ll be honest, the art is good, but he’s definetly not honest w/ his story.


  3. Derek Powazek (unregistered) on June 2nd, 2005 @ 8:54 am

    Brendan — I’ve lived in this city for 10 years and LA before that. I’ve heard plenty of stories. But this guy I believed. And since I met him and you didn’t, well, maybe you could take my word for it. Or get out from behind your computer, go to Muddy Waters in the Mission, and see for yourself.


  4. Bob (unregistered) on June 4th, 2005 @ 10:27 am

    Yes, that’s a tattoo on his chin. So what? Dude’s story may or may not be true


  5. Ed (unregistered) on June 5th, 2005 @ 10:36 pm

    I am always impressed.. when people in the worst of times.. manage to create something beautifull and cool. I draw and paint here and there.. and that design and creation is trully well worth over 14.00. He is definitely making ends meet, and doing so by making our world a little more worth living.

    It is think kind of post that make blogging worth while. thanks for sharing it!


  6. Kandi Carol (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 1:10 pm

    Amazing that you care whether his story is real or not. Isn’t that part of the art? The purchaser gets to tell his/her friends the story about how they purchased original art from the streets of San Francisco. It doesn’t matter what the artists story really is, it’s more the fact that he’s out there doing it and making money instead of sitting behind pretentiousness. He tells a wonderful tale of how he needs the money for something (maybe not a hotel? what if it is for drugs?) and you bought it. Consider it a gift with purchase: you get a piece of original art AND a story to go with it. I wish I could be that creative! I say that Josh R. is better than all of us for having the balls to go out there and do it, rather than sit around passing judgements. Kudos Josh! You inspire me.


  7. Pete (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 6:12 pm

    Wow, so all I have to do to be a praiseworthy artist is do enough speed to fill a bunch of cardboard scraps with ballpoint scribblings, and then use the same lie over and over to try to sell them? Cool.

    I have heard the same -exact- story in person from Josh months ago, and even bought one of his pieces, which I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I was very drunk (which may also explain why I liked the art enough to throw down cash), and left it at the bar. Hopefully he managed to resell it to some other drunk sucker.


  8. Pete (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

    Ha! Didn’t look at the original posting date. It was months later that he pitched me the same story.



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