Interview - Elph

Rosie Lesso talks to the graffiti artist about demons, drink, spirits and bitumen

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Elph

Rosie Lesso You have an established reputation as a graffiti artist, so how do you feel about exhibiting with Recoat Gallery?

Elph Over the last few years I’ve done quite a few exhibitions in small galleries, so I felt fine about showing the work in Recoat. However, it’s always a challenge to create a body of work before the show. The work here is more illustrative than graffiti-based but it still references my graffiti pieces.

RL Do you find the transition between street and gallery art easy to make?

E At first I thought it was a big deal when someone would ask me to do an exhibition, and usually I would come up with these strange ideas that looked nothing like the work I was doing outside. But once you treat it the same way as approaching painting a wall then it comes together more easily and without the pressure.

RL What does the title of the exhibition, Spirits and Bitumen refer to?

E The title came from the first paintings I started for the show that were using white spirits and underbody seal for cars which has a lot of bitumen in it. I also like the idea of spirits and demons, which are reflected in some of the work, be they alcoholic, narcotic, financial or mental: everyone has demons whether they like it or not.

RL What different styles have been incorporated into this exhibition?

E I am showing acrylic paintings, and drawings in pencil, ink, watercolour, gouache and marker pen. Along with all the painted/drawn works I also produced three screenprints, and made a zine to go with the exhibition that Analogue books helped with.

RL Could you describe some of the characters in the show?

E In the show there’s a mix between the drunk characters that I draw, mixed with soldiers, cute fashion girls and surreal demons; just a normal night on the ranch really.

Recoat Gallery, Glasgow, until Wed 23 Apr.

Spirits and Bitumen

Recoat's 8th exhibition is a showcase of new work by the distinctive and hugely acclaimed Scottish illustrator and graffiti artist Elph.

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