Putting pen and ink to paper with Callum Russell

A drawing created through repetitive mark-making and strict, repetitive actions, Callum Russell imposes strict limitations on the action of drawing, which culminates in its ultimate deconstruction and the creation of abstract shapes and patterns. The process of drawing straight lines mutates, establishing something unexpected and organic from the cold and indifferent drawing process.

Why did you put yourself forward for the open call? 

I felt that the theme of ‘process’ was one that corresponded with my abstract drawings. I like to create strict rules and limitations on my works and the techniques that I use to make them. I define a simple physical process, then repeat it as closely as possible until it begins to break down, mutate and glitch. In these works, I am collaborating with the process. The rules I have set out will ultimately dictate how the image will appear. I cannot know exactly how the drawings will look because I am only implementing the pre-established rules.


Tell me about this particular piece.

RPDA301 is part of a series of works where I repeat the same action over and over again - that of drawing a line with a ruler. After each line I slide the ruler over slightly and draw another one. As I continue to repeat this action across the page, ink from the pen pools on the side of the ruler and is smudged across the paper. This interruption of the clean methodical lines I am attempting to draw is entirely random and unpredictable. By working this way I am collaborating with the process, and allowing the elements of chance and chaos to create the drawings. I have made many of these drawings using exactly the same technique, and the outcome is always different.


Is this the kind of work you usually do? 

I have used this technique both on its own and combined with other elements of chance-based and rule-based drawing. I am also interested in language, visual communication and concrete poetry and have incorporated these interests into my abstract drawing and painting work.


I also have a separate printmaking practice where I create linocut prints, screenprints and papercut stencils of urban landscapes which you can see here at callum-russell.co.uk or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cal_russell.   


How do you connect to Paulin as a member of the creative community?

I appreciate the effort by Paulin to create this exhibition, allowing artists and makers to share their skills and visions with each other as well as with fans of the Paulin brand and their high quality design and watchmaking. 

Drop by our store in Edinburgh to see RPDA301 in action.

You can find Callum Russell’s art on Instagram at www.instagram.com/cluisrustle/