Join Standard Goods this coming Thursday July !3th for Capitol Hill Art Walk for a group exhibit. Showcasing art from various artists with unique styles both focusing on Neo Dada Pop. Meet Seattle based artist Elliott Klein, who has been cutting and spray painting stencils for almost seven years. Inspired by the city and it's people, he takes cues from traditional graffiti and translates them into portraits of it's people. His paintings of people are rarely whole, but rather, often in fragments, either coming together, or falling apart.
Growing up, did you always want to be an artist? Can you recall your earliest memory with art?
As a kid, I did a lot of art projects and loved making things, whatever they were. My mom is an elementary school teacher and all year long we would do crafts. She's been doing DIY everything long before Pinterest. I think I built a lot of creativity from those years. I especially drew a lot as a young adult. I stepped away from art for a handful of years and when I came back to it, I settled into spray painting stencils primarily, but still love the creation of a thing, no matter the form.
Favorite thing you've ever created?
I think my favorite work is the wall I painted a few years back. I spent months designing it, and cutting it before going out to this old abandoned house and painting it. I shot video, produced gifs, and made a zine from it which took tons of post-production work. It was incredible to make something that I could use to create so many other things from, over such an extended period. Most of my paintings can take between a couple weeks to a month to finish, but this one was such a large undertaking that it really stood out as a piece I felt a great deal of accomplishment toward.
Where is your favorite place in the world? Anywhere you are dying to visit?
The City. I mean this in a bit more of a conceptual way. Not necessarily a specific city, but any. I draw my inspiration from all the different lives you see out in the world. All the different faces, and circumstances they must come from all inspire me to think, gain perspective, and try to understand.
I think the place I am most excited to visit someday is Japan, they have such a long history, such a distinct style of art and creation, I find that country incredibly inspiring and interesting.
Who is your favorite pop culture icon?
If I'm honest, it's without doubt Kanye West. What an undeniable genius with clearly so much ambition and so little way to express himself the way he would like to. Every time I hear a new wild story about him, it captivates me all over again. Last week I read an article about when Comedy Central give him $1 million dollars to shoot a pilot episode of a puppet show. He met Kim then. Everything he does is ridiculous, and there are hundreds more stories out there, all more wild and interesting as the last.
How has your style evolved? Have you always used spray paint as your medium?
I've been spray painting stencils for about 7 years now. Probably the first 4 I attempted to try something new in every piece. Most turned out terrible. But with those experiments I was able to find what I liked, what worked for me, and what worked in that medium. Only in the past year or so have I felt like things are starting to fit into a matured format, that show a progression and an expertise that I could not have mustered ever before. I am still constantly trying new styles, and techniques, but with much more direction and intention than I ever have before.
I have always, and will always use other mediums to express my thoughts, I try to write, short and long form, I draw some, teach myself hand lettering to a degree, I use the Adobe Cloud and come up with projects to help me learn how to use them. I try to stay in the know about other techniques, because I never know where inspiration will come from.
Where do you get ideas for your art?
This goes back to my love of The City. People, their situations, their various stages of coming into their own, or falling apart, fascinate me and always get the wheels turning in my mind.
What is your workspace like?
Ideally a clean desk but more often than not, one with various pieces of various projects strewn about. My tools are mainly my cutting mat, all kinds of markers, and an x-acto knife with extra blades. On the shelf next to me I have about 30 cans of Molatow spray paint. I have had better and worse places to paint depending on where I live. Currently I paint on top of old Rainier cardboard boxes in the parking lot behind my apartments, which embarrassingly, is one of the worse set ups I've put together.
How do you like to spend your time? Aside from your creative work?
I like to go out with friends, I am a big Mariners fan and am at Safeco all summer long. I'm a busy person and try to stay out and about, sitting around too much can quickly drive me stir crazy.
If your life was a movie what would the title be and who would you like to play you?
Mac and Jacks and Hip Hop Throwbacks starring Rami Malek
Anything else you'd like to share?
You can follow my developing works on Instagram: @elliottnes1, or my Behance page.