Featured Artist Russ Cox

Meet Russ Cox, the latest featured artist and a source of great entertainment. Find out more about his illustration work by visiting his website at Smiling Otis Studio.


Russ Cox was raised by a pack of crazed hillbillies in the back woods of Tennessee. Without much in the way of modern conveniences, like a television set or running water, he spent his time drawing and whittling away the hours, often dreaming of the joys of a shower.
Having been born into a family with a flair for racing, Russ hoped to be the next Bobby Allison or Richard Petty. After dismantling his grandfather’s lawn mower engine, and without a clue on how to get it back together, he soon realized that he did not have an automotive bone in his body. Back to the drawing board he went with his pencil and paper (and sometimes the barn wall). After spending much of his childhood roaming the South with his mom and sister, they moseyed to Pennsylvania. While in high school, Russ developed an interest in design and a passion for music. His automotive shop teacher was relieved.
After graduating high school he got his education at a local art school. With a portfolio in his hand, he ventured into the world of design and illustration. Good ole Russ worked for various design and advertising agencies until coming to his senses. With his wife giving him a swift kick-start in the rump, he opened his own studio, Smiling Otis Studio, where he presently specializes in illustration, Flash animation and logo design. Russ also found time to teach various classes at PCA&D for several years.
Recently he and ma packed up the wagon and headed to the wilderness of Maine where they have setup a homestead in Pittsfield. When not drawing, running amok in the snow, or training their four cats to sing “Bohemian Rhapsody’, Russ enjoys some quiet time with his banjo while also taking in the beauty of Maine. His wife would prefer him to play the triangle or build a sound proof room.
What are your goals?
My goals are to break into illustrating children’s books. I would like to visually tell a complete story. I would also l like to do some fine art paintings and drawings for gallery shows but that is more for my later years.
What are you working on now?
I am currently writing my first children’s book. This is a new process for me and one that I am finding a bit challenging. Being a visual person, it is taking longer than I thought to get the story and words to flow to match the visuals in my head.
What inspires you?
There are so many things that inspire. Definitely my family and friends but I also find inspiration in the world around me. Music also plays a big part in my life and work. It is my second creative love.


  1. Great post. I love Russ’s work!

  2. Great stuff. Love the go-carts.
    How much fun is that!

  3. This is great work! I love the energy of the characters! The kids on the bikes is just great! I wish Russ much success in his children’s book endeavors, as I think his work is perfectly suited for it!

  4. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments. It makes me feel like I am on the right track when people like what I am doing. Much success to all of you as well!

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