Eelus is a mysterious stencil artist. His work is often both beautiful and haunting, humorous and sinister, a daring mixture of light and dark.
With the opening of his debut London solo show “The Colour of Space” at Blackhall Studios on 25th Feb. Butterfly catches up with him to ask a few questions about his style and background.
After moving to London 10 years ago, Eelus was almost instantly snatched up by master printmakers Pictures On Walls. Since he started his journey, he showed at the Cans Festival in 2008, painted a picture for the band Green Day , exhibited all around the world, and things are only set to get busier.
Butterfly: Firstly, we’d like to know, where did it all start for you, how did you get into the stencil art?
Eelus: I didn’t really know much about stencils until I moved to London back in 2000. I was just attracted to it instantly but it took me a couple of years just watching from the sidelines before I felt like I really needed to get more involved. Then in 2003 I went to the first Santa’s Ghetto organized by Pictures On Walls and something in my brain just clicked. I was blown away by the work that was in there and the second I stepped out I knew I had to get serious about what was at the time just a hobby that I didn’t put any importance into. From there I just spent every bit of spare time I had cutting and painting stencils.
What was the defining moment of your career as an artist?
Things really started to roll for me after Banksy and Eine saw my work painted around East London and agreed to produce my first screen print after I approached POW. The print went on to become the fastest selling print they had produced up until that point and was sold at that years Santa’s Ghetto. That just blew my mind and opened up so many doors. Things just gradually moved on from there.
I think the real defining moment is yet to come, I don’t feel like I’ve even really started to get my teeth into this yet, it’s early days.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
My main inspirations come from reading and watching films. I love horror and sci-fi and like to include a pinch of that in whatever I do. From a really early age I was big into people like Giger and Vallejo, my room was covered wall to wall with fantasy and sci-fi madness and I still take inspiration from those kinds of artists. I get really inspired by artists who have the balls to create their work without a second thought to what others may think. People like Giger and Vallejo, Aubrey Beardsley, Henry Fuseli, William Blake. They all have/had a dark and fantastic vision that is poured into everything they do regardless of how it will be perceived by the public.
In general though inspiration can come from anywhere, just day to day life. Meeting people, spending time with friends, walking along the beach, chasing the cat round the garden. I think the more you enjoy life the more open your eyes are to everything, especially the little things that make all the difference.
Please tell us a little about your creative process.
The first steps of creating a new piece can differ from time to time. An idea can be sparked from a book or a film, I’ll make a sketch or take a photo and work it up on the computer. Other times I’ll see a photo in a glossy mag that will spark an idea, or I’ll find an old vintage black and white photo of an unknown person in an unknown place that is just dying to have life breathed back into it.
I really like the idea of recycling and transformation, breathing new life into old stuff. Whether that’s transforming a woman from a glossy perfume ad into something completely unrecognizable or finding an old worn out piece of wood and making it beautiful again, giving it a new purpose. At the end of the day we’re all a part of this process, whether you’re a person, a rock, a tree, if you look deep enough we’re all made of the same stuff. When we die, we break down but atoms and molecules and energy doesn’t disappear, we just get turned into something else.
American Girl for Green Day
Do you prefer to work more in the outdoor or indoor space?
Both have their merits and I can’t really choose one over the other. Working in seclusion listening to music, almost in a meditative state, learning and experimenting is so rewarding. But painting with the sun on your back with friends, few beers, lots of laughs, you can’t beat that. When I paint outside I like to paint big if I can and I get real satisfaction in seeing my work at that scale. Sometimes it really is all about size. (laughs)
The Good, the Bad and Moon, Cans Festival 2008