Earlier this year we caught up with street artist Eelus to talk painting walls, new works and which artists he would most like to have dinner with.
artrepublic: Earlier this year you released your out lenticular with artrepublic - a truly impressive feat of printing and design. How did that project come about?
Eelus: I was approached years ago by someone else asking if I wanted to do a lenticular release of Not Everything Is So Black & White and at the time I just wasn’t interested, but it did plant a seed in my mind as to the possibilities of what the image could look like in 3D. Since then I thought about it on and off and thought it could look great but was always too busy to follow it up, then Art Republic approached me about doing something, anything, as a lenticular release so it seemed the perfect opportunity. For that release it was great to breathe new life into an older image and put a new angle on it. The results were better than I expected and I’m excited to explore the medium further in the future. Now I’m familiar with the process and what’s possible I have all kinds of ideas that I’m excited about.
artrepublic: What else have you been working on recently?
Eelus: It’s been a busy 6 months. I painted a permanent mural at Vandal, a recently opened restaurant in NYC. It’s an amazing space with walls by Hush (who curated the art for the Tao Group, the guys behind the restaurant), Will Barras, Tristan Eaton, Vhils, Shepard Fairey and Apexer. In February I flew out to San Francisco to sign and release a new print edition with Spoke Gallery who I also have a solo show with in July. In March I flew to Dubai to paint a wall for the first stage of the Dubai Walls project. It’s a 13m high monster, way bigger than anything I’ve done in the past so it was a great learning experience and I got to hang out with a great team of other artists like Ron English, The London Police, D*Face, Rone and Roa to name a few. Fun in the sun! Right now I’m working full steam ahead for my show ‘The Dark Side of the Rainbow’ at Spoke Gallery which opens June 30th. The artrepublic Art Yard Sale is coming up in June. You were without a doubt the main attraction of last year’s event. What can Eelus fans expect from the 2016 installment? I shall indeed be peddling my wares at this years’ sale. You can expect a small new print release that we’ll be working on throughout the day as well as some more classic images and a few new surprises, all at ‘yard sale’ prices, so come grab yourself a bargain for, your collection.
artrepublic: If you could have dinner with any three artists who would you choose?
Eelus: Great question. Well, it’s important to surround yourself with people you can learn from. So the first would probably Gustav Klimt. I’d ring him dry of any advice, tips and mentoring he could offer. Secondly, someone like Caravaggio would be good. Not only an incredible painter but a total pirate with an incredible life story. Hopefully he’d take me drinking after we get kicked out of the restaurant. Last one is very tricky, there’s so many I want to choose, H.R. Giger, Van Gogh, Leonardo, William Blake, Arnold Böcklin, Matisse, Jamie Hewlett. But I think I’d have to go for the guy who started it all off for me, Banksy.
artrepublic: When not busy working away in the studio what else do you enjoy doing?
Eelus: I like to fuel my imagination by immersing myself in other worlds and stories, so I try to read as much as possible and I watch a lot of films. Other than that, walking my dog gives me time and space to think in quiet, which is important to me. I’m trying to teach myself to play the guitar, that’s a lot of fun but I’m struggling to find time at the moment. And who doesn’t love a few ales and a bag of crisp with good friends?
artrepublic: If you could have any work of art hanging in your home what would you choose?
Eelus: Ouch, another killer question. Maybe The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. That’s like three for the price of one and there’s so much to look at! Failing that, The Vision of Faust by Falero or one of Böcklin's The Island of the Dead paintings would do very nicely, thank you.
artrepubic: What’s the best piece of art related advice you’ve ever received?
Eelus: When I was at school, a teacher told me there was no money to be made in art, which made follow the path of graphic design instead. And now, every person outside of my family who’s important to me I either met at design college or through working in the design industry. My design career moved me to London where I discovered street art, and it was my boredom in the design industry that pushed me towards making my own street art. That one piece of throwaway advice changed everything. I’d like to find that teacher and thank him for being such a pessimistic bastard.
artrepublic: Do you have a work that you are most proud of?
Eelus: A couple of years ago I painted a tribute mural to our daughter Ruby who was stillborn quite late into the pregnancy. It was my first freehand mural that didn’t involved stencils, projectors or grids, just a piece of chalk taped to a bamboo cane and some paint. Not a massive feat for a lot of people, I understand that. But it was a first for me, and was the first wall I’d painted after a 7-year break. It’s not the best looking thing I’ve painted, but the process was pivotal and personal.
artrepublic: Finally, what else do you have in store this year?
Eelus: As much fun as possible. I advise you to do the same.