For the first time, artist Russell Irwin will open the doors of his studio to the public.

The grand opening will take place this Friday, March 29, from 5-9 p.m., at 313 Elm St., Washington.

Irwin hopes to create an art experience for guests. 

“The fun idea is that (the guests) are actually part of the art,” he said.

Even though this will be the public’s first invitation to the studio, Irwin isn’t new to the space. He and Marty Coulter have shared the working studio for roughly two years now.

The studio also is open by appointment. People can make appointments for a short demonstration by Irwin, attending a workshop where guests participate and take home a finished product, or to simply walk through the studio to view the art pieces.

Irwin also intends to create quarterly themed events. This Friday, the theme throughout the studio will incorporate a flame element.

Irwin will have art pieces displayed on the walls throughout the studio for the event. All of the art will be for sale, including prints and posters.

“In fact the wall is for sale,” he said. The “Wind” piece covers a wall in the gallery. Irwin actually created it on wood boards, so the painting can be removed without tearing the wall down. 

His Work

Originally, Irwin used gold and metal leafing in his paper mosaic creations. Recently, a friend of Irwin’s told him about using precious metal and that’s what got him started on his current technique.

Irwin’s now known for his artistic technique of paper mosaic and incorporating precious metal over the paper to create a “shiny, metal skin.”

The metals, which are packaged as powder, are mixed with a binder. The artist spreads the combination on a surface and it hardens.

Irwin’s inspiration for his art pieces stems from his Christian faith.

“My faith is super important to me,” he said. “I love to see what God has done in the world. That inspires me. We’re walking around in some amazing, dynamic art everywhere we go.”

Irwin said to be inspired, one has to actually work in the studio.

“The work will create inspiration,” he said.

Irwin said the work could be anything from cleaning the space to painting walls. It’s just important to get in the studio space. He encourages aspiring artists to believe in their ideas.

One of the most important things is to say “yes,” according to Irwin. He calls this “yes confidence.” 

Irwin said there are so many reasons to say “no” so it’s important for artists to figure a way to accomplish a feat.

“Get in there, roll up your sleeves and duke it out with your fears,” he said.