Russell Barnett Aitken worked at the Cowan Pottery Studio in Ohio while attending the Cleveland School of Art. Upon graduation in 1931, Aitken traveled to Vienna to study with Michael Powolny. Aitken returned to America achieving considerable attention when one of his works was included in a 1935 Surrealist exhibition at the Walker Galleries, New York.
Like Viktor Shreckengost, Aitken created stylized and figurative works in the Viennese-style. Aitkenâ€™s work favored western and mythical imagery; the horse a favored motif. Aitkenâ€™s ceramic career, while successful, was short lived as he turned to other interests in 1945.