In this part II, Eelus discusses with Butterfly about his upcoming London Show, The Colour of Space, that opens at Blackhall Studios on 25 February.
Butterfly: Is this your first London solo show? How long have you prepared for it?
Eelus: Yeah this is the first time I’ve shown work by myself in London and it’s only the second solo show I’ve ever done. I’m not working with any galleries at the minute so I’m organizing EVERYTHING myself, it’s crazy, and expensive. I think when people hear you’re an artist they just presume you sit around all day drinking tea and painting pictures but it really isn’t like that, especially for me because I don’t like tea. There’s so much admin to do every day and doing this show by myself has just created so much more but it’s a great learning experience. I started sketching out the original ideas around 6 months ago, then working them up on the computer takes a while. There’s been quite a lot of other stuff going on too so I only actually started cutting the stencils at the start of January.
Where does the name of your show ‘The Colour Out Of Space’ comes from?
It’s the name of one of my favourite stories by my favourite author H.P Lovecraft. The work isn’t based on that story but it just seemed to fit the work and it’s my little homage to another artist who literally laid the foundations for other greats by being true to himself and his own vision.
There’s a lot more colour in this show than I’ve been known to use in the past and the ‘space’ side of things just reflects the sci-fi elements that are woven into some of the pieces.
You are exploring a new direction for this show, mixing colours and geometric elements. Can you tell us a little more?
It’s something I started to look at back in 2007 but was never happy with how it came out, I felt like I wasn’t getting it right, it wasn’t tight enough. So I wanted to set myself more of a challenge and see if I could improve it. So instead of using card to create the stencils, for some of the pieces I’ve just used masking tape, intuition and patience to lay down a lot of the colour. It was an interesting process, very time consuming but I’m pleased with how it’s come out.
Dress Up. Spray paint on canvas. 30×24″
What is your thinking behind this shift?
The geometry side of things just comes from an interest in things like Pi, sacred geometry and the ‘golden section’. It blows my mind whenever I think how the universe has the same geometrical design running through every aspect of it. How the orbit of some planets create almost perfect pentagrams as they dance around each other in space, and you can see the exact same shape in the most minute examples in nature. Incredible stuff.
How would you describe your newest body of work?
Messages you are trying to get across?
There are no real messages, I’m a believer in art for art’s sake, why do things have to be tied down with meaning and reason? Obviously I have a chosen narrative in my head for every piece but that’s such a personal thing and I want the people who look at the work to bring their own story to it.
Do you have any favourite pieces?
My favourite pieces at the minute are two I’ve just done. I painted one called Lung Mixture onto an old, worn out metal sign advertising some kind of chest and lung tonic. Again, taking something old, giving it a new life and completely transforming its meaning.
Lung Mixture. Spray paint on vintage metal. 36×24″.
I’m really happy with Firestarter, the colours, shading and general feeling is just what I wanted. It’s based on the idea of Pyrokinesis which is the ability to start fires by extreme concentration. So for me, I see this quiet kid, kinda nerdy, probably doesn’t have many friends. But he’s only quiet on the outside, inside he’s raging, full of almost uncontrollable energy. Never piss off a nerd, you just never know what could happen 😉 But the thing I love about art is, that’s what I see, just because I’ve said all that doesn’t mean that’s what it actually is. To someone else, it’s just some kid with an ASBO who’s just torched his Dad’s car. Just because it’s different to my vision, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Firestarter. Spray paint on canvas. 36×24″
What projects do you have coming up that you can share?
Well in September I’ll be collaborating with C215 when we take over the Brooklynite Gallery in NYC for a month. I’ve never shown in NYC before so I’m really excited about that.
Then in October I’ve had a hand in organizing something amazing. I was asked to handpick a group of 7 artists to fly to The Gambia to transform a rural village with spray paint and bring art to a community that survive through farming to hopefully encourage tourism in the area. The people organizing it out there have 2 charities set up trying to help eliminate poverty in an 85 sq kilometer area called the Ballabu Conservation Project, incorporating 14 villages and 100,000 people. The Eden Project are behind what we are doing, and have given us a permanent exhibit in the tropical biome there. So I’ll be going out there to paint for 2 weeks with Logan Hicks, Broken Crow, C215, Lucy McLauchlan, Will Barras and Eine. This is a project that you really need to be getting excited about now, it’s going to be incredible.