Founded by award winning artist Russell Altice Case in 2009, the RAC Design Studio is a private workshop that brings images to life through paint on canvas. 


Russell Altice Case began painting professionally in 1991. However, as a person who wandered from place to place for over a decade, he didn't establish a permanent studio space until settling in San Francisco. In 2016 he has relocated his studio space to Calgary, Canada, where he resides and continues to create stunning works of art. 


Russell Altice Case

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My graduate advisor (the American Expressionist painter Dan Gustin) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago once suggested creating an entire universe out of whole cloth.  He suggested that an artist's career is to manifest this other and wholly idiosyncratic world in the studio, on the canvas. This is something the Chapman brothers (Jacob and Dinos Chapman the twin postmodern artists) despaired of at Art School.. locking yourself in a white cube until a whole new civilization is made is something best left to a sanitarium normally.  

It does remind me though of being a child watching my father pour breakfast from a Quaker Oats grits carton, waiting with raw animal hunger, asking each time if he was done with the box so I could add it to my town tableau downstairs in the basement. I needed, desperately.. a grain silo.   I spent six weeks building it out, referencing a photo I had seen in a Sesame Street magazine until it was washed away and dissolved in a spring flood. I was 5.

      Later as an 17 year old, even though I considered myself a natural painter, I had been encouraged to think and act more broadly and more contextually as an artist.  I left the New Orleans Center of Creative Art to Chicago focused on Basquiat and DeKooning and the project of identifying motifs and brush marks that were singular and idiosyncratic, to learn there in the Great Midwest that painting itself was dead and buried and we should each be creating a new language of art, process, and critique.  I was game, though thoroughly intimidated.  


However, as the story goes, by my senior year, I abandoned performance art, video art, and other novel modes of Post-Modernism.  I decided that Folk art and näive retinal painting could be an avenue of self expression that would avoid alienating a middle class.. or just people really. I took Elizabeth Rupprecht, the Hans Hoffman disciple, as a teacher; first learning structural mechanics of composition, and then moved to NY and took the Classicist painter Lennart Anderson as a mentor to better understand the transition between edges of painterly lines and just really how to fucking see.

(Too often I found that the ethos of Modernism--which has as its main function the mandate to speak directly to "the working people" but had all too often been perverted towards antagonizing family members--however conservative in their worldview they might be. Yes, the problem with objects is that they can be bought and sold.  People do like them though. The choir at the Art Institute enjoyed our attack on our neighbors with Christmas dildos when we were supposed to be upending the applecart of white male patriarchy.. like Jesus.)

      Of course I was aware that the decision to pursue Folk painting is a choice only a Post-Modernist can make. The secondary issue for me in post-war art schools is that Modernism, however benevolently, had thrown out drawing with the bath.

I needed it to do what I wanted with painting... 

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As a 40 year old, after practicing drawing with paint for 15 years, I chose to explore the trompe l'oeil. I realized I had been dancing around it for decades always painting paintings within paintings.. looking at Matisse like that.  This genre of painting though is distinctly American as Woodville, Peto, and Harnett ingenuously developed its creative possibilities (they look just like square Hoffmans to me--so much push pull). I believe American 19th century trompe l'oeil to be intrinsically post-modern.

 (You see, to be modern is to act.. it is to overthrow offensive monuments and replace them.  The creation of the metric system, for example, is a modernist act just like Buddhism. To be Post-Modernist is to pick and choose arbitrarily what satisfies the individual.) 

    So what satisfies me as an artist is the possibility within each frame for multiple languages of landscape, portraiture, still life, and comedy.  Within these little cubes I can tell stories and bounce little narratives and jokes off of each little paradigm.  I am calling my work Volk Art.. and it is distinctly post-structuralist as it weaves a range of intertextual connections and cultural motifs through its field of view.  

That is to say..
Who are we looking at all these things? 
Where does the seer reside?  
Who is the one doing the looking at all of these things?

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2001 Inaugural Terra Fellow

2005 Royal Academy Summer Exhibitionist

2007 Royal Academy Portrait Exhibitionist

2016 John F. Peto Invitational


Patty Barnett Gallery