Born in Lufkin, Texas in 1971, the landscape and culture of deep East Texas influenced Russ in an important way. Working in traditional and experimental methods Russ uses landscape as both a center and as a point of departure. Major personal and artistic changes occurred however, when Russ fell ill with an auto-immune disease in 1994. He worked and completed graduate studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas until a relapse in 1997. This forced him to change his working methods and materials from large mixed media works to small-scale watercolors. The circumstance gave a new meaning to growth, through volatility, resulting in more content-driven work, concerning spiritual issues.
Russ Havard's paintings have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions both regionally and nationally. “My work demonstrates the paradox between space and reality. I use landscape to symbolize growth through volatility. Enduring storms, seasons, and deforestation, the landscape that survives is a reminder of past and present action at work. Beauty exists within the desolation. Using wood, paint, paper, and razor, I create, break apart and reconstruct until the pieces are de facto collages, portraying how forces play with both internal and external realities. While the media and patterns make up the skin of my constructions, the shapes aid in generating meaning and providing a formal platform, giving the images and symbols clarity and dimension. I arrived at the physicality of form through facing physical limitations and I invest a lot of energy into every piece. The process of endless building and reconfiguring transcends the physical, encompassing the spiritual and symbolic. When I create, I take part in a reclamation.”