Russ Swain

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uss Swain spent his first twenty-five years of artistic life as a graphic designer, but when computers began to take over that world, Russ got out. He thinks art loses its soul when it is filtered through a machine. Since then, Russ has used his talents to paint murals, and trompe l’oeil works for clients. All of his work is obtained by word-of-mouth referral, and Russ travels the world to create his art.
   Russ hails from Ogden, Utah, where he grew up and graduated high school in 1968, and then served his two-year mission to Brazil for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He enrolled in Weber State College in 1972 while working as a sign painter, and then enrolled in Brigham Young University in 1974, to continue his studies as an art major. He returned to Weber State and graduated in 1976. Russ then worked in an advertising agency, getting hired because of a postage stamp he had created when he sent in his application. Later, Russ opened Para Graphics, his own design and printing business, in 1981.

    He counterfeited money between 1983 and 1984, and then stopped, when the Secret Service caught up with him. He avoided prison, thanks to the Secret Service’s admiration of him and his work, and then worked out of a home office, doing freelance design. He began decorative-painting and wall murals in 1987, and his work is now much in demand.

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