The interesting thing about Elijah’s work is that the figurative concepts are usually quite accessible. It’s the formulation; the brush strokes, the texture, the interaction between the colors, that demonstrates remarkable complexity and depth. And let’s just be clear: choosing to demonstrate complexity in these ways takes an incredible amount of time, energy, focus, and skill; something that is sorely missed in the digital age we find ourselves in these days. There is a difference between skill and talent, between concept and concentration, and these paintings show us that Elijah is just as much a craftsman as he is an artist.
When did you start painting, and why?
I started painting in High School where one of my art teachers introduced me to oil paint. I never enjoyed anything about school except my art courses, and ended up taking every art course my school had to offer and opted to spend all of my free periods and lunches in the art rooms. I suppose I did it because I didn’t really have anything else.
What influences your artwork?
The biggest influences in my artwork are my own experiences, emotions, and sensations that I try to convey through a visual language, but I also look at a lot of contemporary and historical painters for inspiration and techniques.
Do you have an established process you feel comfortable with?
Yes, I often start out with loose ideas, writing down words or phrases that resonate with me. I grab a couple of friends and have them model for me while I take photographs, with varying levels of control over their poses and environments. I go to my studio and edit the photographs, look at different color schemes, see what lighting, colors, and poses best reflect my ideas. Then I start painting. Once I am painting, everything else kind of goes out the window. I don’t try to paint a photograph, rather I use the photograph as a point of departure while exploring the material of the paint on the surface, and the creation of light