A chat with artist, Russell Markus, the Founder of Lily CBD, a CBD oil subscription company, to chat about life, art, and meaning. He’s like the Banksy of creative entrepreneurial projects, he’s darn near impossible to get a hold of and he’s always up to something fun. His work is typically witty, done in the shadows, and delivering a finished product that the masses get to enjoy. From noble social causes to trendy geographical curation, today we’re looking at something else, something more ambiguous, art. Because if you’ve never asked someone to describe art and what art means, you should. It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun, especially with someone like Russ, a grooving and exuberant wildcat…

What is art to you?
Art is your experiences and feelings actualized into form. Maybe that form is a canvas, the side of a building, a poem, or maybe a salad…

If art were a meal, what would it be? Breakfast? Lunch? An apple with peanut butter?
Food is art. BUT if I had to be a meal AND that meal was art… I would beeeee a toasted everything bagel with really fresh tomatoes, gravlox, smoked salmon, some thinly sliced onions, and capers. I’d most likely need a tall glass of iced coffee with raw sugar. That’s art. Layers. Textures. Memories. Sweet and salty. Quenched thirst and a full belly. Or that’s the meal to get me to be your friend.

Art is also a dinner with friends. The chef as the artist. Spending hours, days, weeks preparing to share with friends. The art is only realized after the meal is finished. The art is the memories shared with friends.

Interesting. Do you create art that people would consider weird?
The term “weird” is in the eye of the beholder. What is completely normal to me and you might be completely unacceptable and weird to someone else.

If we consider weird as unique then there was a point I was using a lot of bleach to create shapes and designs on canvas. It was definitely not a healthy medium so I stopped.

Is art even a word anymore?
Art is a word. Just like fashion or money or avocado. Art is just so ambiguous.

How many interpretations of what art means do you think exist?
7.125 Billion.

Russell Markus

Russell Markus

What’s the NYC art life like?

Best venues in NYC to see art?
Whitney Museum of American Art.
Gagosian Uptown
The Streets (the actual streets, not the name of some hipster enclave)

Any current artists you’re digging right now?
Daniel Arsham and Il Lee

How does the city shape your art and or art in general?
As a forth generation New Yorker the city has always had a hold on me.  From the cobble streets to the sunsets. There’s detail, texture, and presence in it’s very DNA that influences my experiences as easy as inhaling walking down the sidewalk.

Is there one thing an artist SHOULDN’T do?!
Pretend like other artists don’t influence you.

Let’s talk about some of your art…

What do the portals mean to you? What are they designed to do? Tell me about this….
After creating several sets of portals I was fortunate to get featured in SNAX Magazine. The founder (who is an amazing soul) asked about how the pieces relate to power.

Russell Markus

Russell Markus, Portal

It got me really thinking. The portals really truly represent connecting.

The most successful relationships are deeply rooted in the foundation of positive connection and energy transmitted between each entity. Without that energy, they fall apart; they implode and ultimately cease to exist.

Truthfully, I was and sometimes still have moments when I’m deeply overwhelmed with the concept of space, in particular, my relationship with mass, mind, spirit, and matter around us. But what gives me comfort through this is the very real energy that is our connection within all relationships.

Often times we forget how powerful our relationships are. As two parties connect in a relationship so lives the universe between each point.

This is why Onspace Portals were and are created. These works are a physical reminder of the everlasting powerful energy that exists in our relationships and within the people in them. The power of the pieces truly manifests once the second part of the piece is gifted to another individual where it can be placed in a second physical destination.

Thus, creating the link between both parties connected in the relationship.

If anything, these Portals have the power to bring us closer together, irrespective of the massive universe between us. These Portals are a reminder. These Portals are comfort. These Portals are a subtle simper in the powerful face of our relationships.

Russell Markus, Portal

Russell Markus, Portal

Who has the portals?
Friends and collectors.

Have you sent a portal to a stranger? Famous celeb?
No. Have someone in mind?

If you could get coffee with 5 artists at the same time, who would it be?
De Niro.

That’s a great list. What do you say to someone who says they could never be an artist?
You should see the first thing I ever painted :/

What’s next for Russell Markus?
Heading downstairs to the studio right now 🙂

For more wit & creative art, follow Russell Markus live on Instagram