ELLE is a female graffiti and street artist based in Brooklyn, noteworthy for her use of diverse mediums and tools on the street including but not limited to; fire extinguishers, rollers, aeresol, markers, acrylic and silkscreens to create a variety of tags, fills, murals, wheat pastes, sculptures, and bus shelter AD replacements.
TODAY we are interviewing ELLE so we can know more about her street art adventures.
When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?
I moved to New York about 6 1/2 years ago and I first really saw street art then. I hadn’t really ever noticed it before, but I was walking around Chelsae and saw a piece by swoon and Gaia and fell in love with them! I decided that I wanted to so the same thing. I was later introduced to graffiti and then got very in to that a couple years after I started doing street art.
Which artist/s influenced you?
I’m inspired by anyone who has a passion for their work. Pear has been bombing really hard lately… I also love Smart Crew’s work.
What style is your work?
I do a little bit if everything. I tend to get bored easily so I get my hands into everything– spray paint, hand drawn and painted Wheatpastes, silkscreened posters, tagging, murals, painting in the studio, carving ice sculpture with chains saws, pouring carving and melting wax sculptures, making videos, replacing bus shelter ads, painting billboards, rollers, and most recently I’ve been cutting colored plastic light gels to create light boxes- inspired by the bus shelter pieces I’ve been replacing in the city streets.
Are there any particular cultures that have influence your artwork?
Hmm. Good question. I love old Japanese artwork- super flat paintings, I love Middle Eastern work- all if the nonfigurative decorative work, as well as Yves Klein and Egon Shiele, Bruce Nauman, Kiki Smith and Marina Abromovich, Miss Reds, Picasso and so many more.
What is the source of your inspiration these days?
Music, travel, and nature.
What do your pieces usually focus on?
Hmm… I’m always changing things up…. So it depends what I’m doing at the time… I always am looking up to people that are doing things better and more spectacularly than myself.
What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve climbed up a few billboards to paint and those were all pretty terrifying… They were Sooo tall… If I had fallen off or stepped it wouldn’t have ended well.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?
I’m not always satisfied with a piece as I’m working on it– that’s the struggle of the artist-the piece is is control and you have to tame it, you bring it to life, fight, and then you have to conquer the piece… Sometimes you can’t always win though, and those pieces end up in a closet… when those pieces are on a wall in the public and you run out of time to work on it that’s the worst though– I feel like there’s always at least one thing I want to go back and change…. So it’s nice to work on an outdoor piece for at least two days! You need to sleep on a piece sometimes to know how to make it work.
Do you listen to music while working? Or you need a quite environment?
I love listening to music when I work. One of my best friends Cat King came out and DJ’d while I was painting a wall a couple weeks ago- that was awesome!! I also love Fever Ray, Nosaj Thing, Dj Grimes, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Warm Ghost and so many other sounds.
Where your work is usually located?
Anywhere on the street is fair game! I love doing rollers off the top of buildings, or on rooftops, painting the sides of walls, anywhere I can put my hands basically!
Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?
New York is especially challenging to do illegal street art and graffiti– the police and undercover have taken over the city… Sanctioned legal work is easy and can be great though also– I enjoy having 5 hours or even days to spend on a piece sitting there, petting and painting a wall.
Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?
Yes. I’ve been arrested numerous times, unfortunately. I’m trying not to get arrested anymore- I’m good on street cred. Lol.
Do you have a formal art education?
I did not go to an art school, but I ended up graduating with an Art History and Art Studio degree.
If YES! Do you feel that you benefited from it?
I had a few professors that were very good from whom I learned technical things and art history, which I think is important to be relevant; among them: Wayne Thiebaud, David Hollowell, Jonathan Hexner, Ken Tisa and Gina Werfel.
Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?
I enjoy painting alone but I also love collaborating! So, both!
Have you every collaborated with other artists?
Yes, I’ve collaborated with the London Police, Martha Cooper, ClawMoney, BunnyM, the Dega film crew, Sharktoof, Shin Shin, Rambo and many others. I always learn a lot when working with other artists.
What do you see as the future of street art / graffiti?
Whoah… Hmm… That’s the coolest thing about the future right… There’s no way to predict!
How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?
I am so incredibly grateful to photographers and bloggers. There is no greater compliment for my work than someone who wants to take the time to write about it or share it.
It’s also changing the speed at which street and graffiti art is changing- the worldwide sharing encourages competition and improvement and a mix of styles unlike ever before.
Thank you so much and was pleasure having you.
Thank you guys!! Keep crushing! Xx ELLE