Blue Totality, 2017
(from the Coronograph Series, inspired by the 2017 solar eclipse)

in studio

Since the early 1990’s, Russell Crotty has made important contributions to contemporary drawing. Utilizing ballpoint pen as his primary medium, he is especially renowned for his distinctive drawings on paper-coated suspended globes and within large-scale books. His work engages astronomy, landscape, mapping, surfing, coastal studies, along with an idiosyncratic commentary on the natural and manmade worlds. Crotty ambitiously broadens his vast body of work by incorporating bio-resin, collage, and non-traditional materials, exploring new ideas that investigate and expand the notion of “works on paper.”

As a serious amateur astronomer, Crotty has studied the night sky for decades, utilizing his own array of telescopes with occasional sojourns to professional observatories. He has made important observational contributions to accredited astronomy organizations such as NASA and ALPO (Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers). He obsessively and enthusiastically documents the night sky and celestial phenomenon. The resulting body of astronomical work is informed by scientific research by contemporary astrophysicists, romanticized by his extensive knowledge of exploratory 19th century science, and fueled by his immense passion for the cosmos.

Russell's work has been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally and is owned by private collectors, museums and public collections. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.

A native Californian, Russell grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, began and nurtured his art career in Los Angeles, lived many years in the Santa Monica Mountains – and now works in Ventura and resides in Ojai, California with his wife Laura Gruenther and their three Kelpies. |


October 20 - December 21, 2019

Opening Reception: October 20, 3 - 5 PM

Russell Crotty:
Paintings Distant and Perilous

Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles CA

The exhibition features an extensive body of work produced over the past four years, along with a selection of rare, seminal ballpoint pen drawings on paper-coated suspended globes. Crotty describes his latest body of work as a "different take on astronomy" but also as the culmination of three decades of creative exploration of the possibilities of drawing. This body of work obsessively documents celestial phenomena blended seamlessly with references to landscape, mapping, astrophysics, and space exploration, all rendered with the artist's signature, obsessive attention to minute detail, modes of perception and the raw power of line.

October 18 – November 8, 2019

Preview: October 17, 7pm – 11pm

Gaïa, what are you becoming?

Guerlain House, Champs Élysées, Paris France

Part of FIAC’s ‘Private Itinerary’ since 2006, this annual event is a celebration of the long-standing links between Guerlain and the contemporary arts scene. This year's exhibition brings together around twenty artists from all over the world who will shine a light on the precarious state of our natural world. A tribute to Gaia, goddess of the Earth in the Greek pantheon, the exhibition is a call to recognize that we all have a responsibility to act, confronted as we are by a challenge that concerns every one of us: protecting our planet to ensure the generations that come after us have a future to look forward to.

Thursday, October 17 at 5:30 pm

Space and Wonder:
A Conversation with Russell Crotty

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA

With a few quintessential astronomical works featured in "The Observable Universe: Visualizing the Cosmos in Art," Russell talks about his deep interest in and artistic interpretation of the art and science of the universe.

September 29, 2019 - February 16, 2020

The Observable Universe:
Visualizing the Cosmos in Art

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA

Drawing primarily from SBMA’s permanent collection and supplemented by loans from area collections, "The Observable Universe" explores a diverse range of artistic representations of the cosmos coinciding with the ‘Space Age’ of the last sixty years.

August 5, 2019

‘I Like Drawings”:
A Conversation with Todd Hosfelt


Justin Manley's review of the group show "Between Them" at Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco.

July 13 - August 17, 2019

An Installation Composed of Drawings"

Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, CA

A group show of approximately 200 drawings in an installation designed to reveal thematic and conceptual relationships across time and place. In drawings spanning the 16th to 21st centuries, from European Old Masters to work made utilizing technology, from South American geometric abstraction to photo-realism, drawing directly on the wall, drawing on three-dimensional objects, drawings made only of paper and one drawn both with and on graphite, this is an exploration of the intimacy, immediacy and pleasure of drawing.

July 27 - August 23, 2019

"The Drawing Room"


A group exhibit featuring 15 contemporary artists for whom drawing is the major focus of their work.

May, 2019

The Art and Science of the Universe"

By Roberta J.M. Olson and Jay M. Pasachoff | Published by Reaktion Books

Proud to have my work included in "Cosmos: The Art and Science of the Universe" ... described as "charting the human love affair with the heavens in art and astronomy in a story based on sound science and insightful art and cultural history." Thanks Jay!

April 18, 2019

"Studio Visit: Russell Crotty,
The Penumbra of Existence"

Art and Cake | Article by Gary Brewer

An online contemporary art magazine with a focus on the Los Angeles art scene.

February 7 to April 6, 2019

"Stargazers: Intersections of Contemporary Art and Astronomy"

Orange Coast College | Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion | Costa Mesa, CA

This group exhibition runs concurrently with the grand opening of the new PLANETARIUM at Orange Coast College.

Exhibition will include the collaborative installation piece by Russell Crotty and Laura Gruenther entitled "LOOK BACK IN TIME" ~ originally exhibited at the San Jose ICA in 2016.


February 3 to March 16, 2019

"Bordering the Habitable Zone"

Hosfelt Gallery | San Francisco, CA

Fueled by the abundance of scientific discoveries of exoplanets – worlds within other star systems that may be able to sustain life – this new body of work delves into the realm of science fiction by exploring unknown territories, futuristic means of transportation, and fantastical habitats on other planets.


October 13, 2018 – April 15, 2019

"Peindre la nuit" (Painting the Night)

Centre Pompidou-Metz | Paris, France

An important group exhibition featuring the night in modern and contemporary painting along with a catalogue and numerous associated events.

Catalogue of the exhibition: "Peindre la nuit"
Edited by Jean-Marie Gallais
Published by Centre Pompidou-Metz