WELD Artist of the Week: Dawson Russell

WELD Artist of the Week: Dawson Russell
Career:Graphic Designer / Web Designer / Landscape Photographer
Mantra:“We all need places to play in and pray in…” - John Muir

Interview by: Kristin Read

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in design and photography?

I started doing a lot of video work in high school. I served in my youth group, in the sound booth, and with other media, and I think that fed my interest in the creative world. In college, I started helping several non–profits with graphic design work, and that’s what sparked my interested in pursuing graphic and web design work. At the same time, I was taking photography classes—practicing with film and dark rooms, which lead into the digital world. Over the years, it has really been a transition from one thing to the next. I still dabble a little in each, but career wise, I’m focused on pursuing landscape photography.

Do you have any hidden talents we should all know about?

I play the mandolin. How’s that?

As an artist, how would you define success?

Personally, even if I never had a full gallery of my pieces, I would consider myself successful if I were able to spend my time in nature capturing a moment. I don’t look at success as “If I don’t have ____, _____, or ____, I’m unsuccessful,” instead, I consider myself successful just for having the time and the freedom to spend in creation. Knowing that no two sets of eyes will stand in that exact place and see it exactly as I do, is really what I consider a personal success.

What do you think your biggest break has been?

Prior to the move to Dallas a year ago, I lived in New Mexico for two and a half years. During that time, I was fortunate enough to open a small gallery. My prints were posted in restaurants and businesses there, so getting to see that was pretty inspiring. My dream would be to have a permanent gallery where my work is shared. So, being able to see a part of that dream actually happen, was self assuring that my dream will eventually become a reality.

How much creative freedom do you have over your work?

A few years ago, I believe the creative freedom I had over client projects was limited—but after successfully proving my capabilities, they’ve grown to trust my creative concepts and ability to execute on those ideas. Allowing me to become more of a “creative director,” per se, as I’ve been given creative freedom on additional projects like video work, etcetera.

Have you ever had the opportunity to use your talents for a cause/benefit?

I donated my time and efforts recently to a mission organization that went to Cuba. It was an eye opening experience; as well being the first time I’ve worked for a non-profit, or a client for free, for that matter. It was a gift for me to share what is actually happening in Cuba through the hands and feet of those committed to the lives there, beyond our departure.