"I feel like I've spent the first half of my career helping people create memories and the second half helping people recall them."
- Dave Russo
Dave's cartooning career started as a teenager in concert lots and festival campgrounds ("lot" for short) in the mid-late 1990's. Rolling through on his skateboard with paper and markers, he'd draw fans, often in groups, in exchange for burritos, tickets, party favors, or cash. Hundreds of these caricatures are still framed on the walls of seasoned concert goers, largely Phish fans who named him "Scribble".
Throughout art school and then into his career, he preserved the marker style developed on lot with its explosive center, undefined boarders, and kinetic energy.
RUNNING AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS
In 2006, he founded The Primate Fiasco, a band that would soon go on to perform at many of the same festivals that he'd attended as a fan. The band toured for over ten years, achieving five albums with radio spins, a Grammy nomination, and somewhat of an odd-ball cult following. As a musician, often topping the bill, Dave no longer needed to hustle for burritos, tickets, party favors, or cash. These things were already supplied for him. The drawing markers collected dust while his electric banjo was the weapon of choice. His new campground hustle was trading memorable moments through surprise parading sets in exchange for an empathic rush from the surrounding dance party.
In late 2017, Dave's will to be a performer was struck by a perfect storm. What started as an inspiring dance party had become a sea of cell phone videographers. A very close loved one and muse had died. And a mysterious psychological phenomenon caused music to sound like nails on a chalkboard to his ears. It would take at least a year before he was able to listen to music again. The Primate Fiasco quietly switched off and went their separate ways.
In order to stay creative, and perhaps alive, Dave returned to the markers that were patiently waiting. He drew fond memories from his past life as a touring musician.
His fans watched as the art rolled out. Finally, people started asking "do I recognize this style? Is the singer from Primate also that Scribble guy from Phish lot?".
Dave was unaware that the print market within the concert scene was exploding. This vacuumed him back into the music scene, only without the cell phone firing squads and the breakneck schedules.