You can’t spell ‘artists’ without ‘art’. That’s why we shouldn’t forget artists who are working on art, graffiti, stencils, designs and other related stuff. That’s why we present you this first Art Interview with ELK.
Hometown: Canberra, Australia
Specialty: Stencil Art
I chose ELK for his head-bursting technicality and shameless eye assaulting use of color that, when thrust upon the observer in its’ unashamed essentiality, rarely fails to draw an approving voice. Although we had some internet connection failures during our session, I retired from my experience grateful for the virtue of patience and the subsequent reward of spiritual enlightenment bestowed upon me (a lowly neophyte) by one of the true self established Stencil Gods.
Q: At what age did you start making stencils?
ELK: I made my first stencil when i was 24, but I didn’t get into it seriously until i was 26.
Q: Why did you make your first stencil?
ELK: Basically I just needed a creative outlet that didn’t involve getting trashed and spending heaps of money.
Q: Why do you stencil now?
ELK: I’ve been a full time stencil artist as of 5 months ago… and because i love it.
Q: Who or what is the greatest influence on your art?
ELK: I have to give credit to artists like Logan hicks, Adam 5100, Klingatron, Koleszar, seeing the quality of there work has inspired me to better myself as an artist. The person that has inspired me most is an artist named George Gittoes. I remember being dragged to a lot of exhibitions in high school and his was the only one that stood out. He is a war artist from Australia. I’ve always found it amazing that instead of painting landscapes from the safety of his lounge room, he actually goes outside of his comfort zone and creates from the most fucked up places in the world.
Q: What would you most like to do before it’s too late?
ELK: I’d like to experience as much of the world as I can while I’m here.
Q: If anarchy is 1 and strict conformity is 5, where would your art be?
ELK: Regarding technique, definitely a 5, I think strictly inside the square – that’s what appeals to me most about stencil art is that I have more control over the outcome.
As for subject matter it’s probably about 2, as much as I want people to like is what I do. I won’t be doing Che T-shirts in a hurry!
Q: What do you look for when choosing a subject?
ELK: I like to find beauty in things that aren’t particularly that attractive, I like irony.
Q: What is the best thing or best way to help you get into your ‘hard work stenciling?’ groove?
ELK: At the drive in/ caffeine.
Q: What is the longest time it has taken you to produce one quality stencil, and was it worth it?
ELK: Somewhere between 150 and 200 hours. Sometimes it (the work) makes you question “why do I do this?”, but in the end it’s always worth it.
Q: What is the most amazing experience you have had as an artist?
ELK: I recently won most popular piece at the Melbourne stencil festival poster competition, it really made me feel like this hard work is starting to pay off.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to someone just starting out to make stencils?
ELK: Evolve your own style & be nice to people.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
ELK: I’ve got some work coming up in the Melbourne stencil festival this august. (August 1-8, 2008. See http://www.stencilfest.net/ for details)
Words by: ZeeZee