Born in Buffalo New York, Murphy has earned legitimacy and respect as a graffiti artist “writing” Cash4 since the mid aughts. Around that same time, he also began showing his artwork in gallery under a variety of names, from Cash4 to Cassius Fowler, and now Russell Murphy. His work traverses an assortment of mediums, from paintings on canvas, paper and poster board, to drawings, sculptural collages, painted bottles and found objects, to public installations, including his iconic “Cash4 signs.” Mixing acrylic and oil paint with the tools commonly found in the streets, from spray cans and fire extinguishers, to paint pens and markers, Murphy layers media and image chaotically, partial to capturing the intensity of an instinctive stroke.
After studying as an architect at Syracuse University, Russell Murphy has explored the fusion of highbrow and lowbrow, a theme that can be traced throughout his work. Murphy abstracts anything to it’s character, from portraits to landscape paintings, often portraying the New York City urban environment in a postmodern Superflat style. Employing the marketing language of political campaigns and protest posters, the viewer is coerced to expect a moral statement or message. “I’m an apathist” is how Murphy depicts himself, a classic vandal attitude, preferring the label of playful anarchist or messianic messenger. Yet it’s clear that 15 plus years of passionate and determined work both in and out of the studio have honed his talent and technique.