Brooklyn street/gallery artist Ellis Gallagher aka © Ellis G. takes us on a personal ride through his creative process and the defining moment that led him to his signature style of shadow-based outlines.
It’s a nice concept to focus on shadows, which we generally filter out in our way of seeing, and also on time: the things that existed in the same place before we were there (eg the shadows and/or objects of the night before). The artistic end product is not aesthetically complex, but it certainly is an attention stopper, a re-orienting point in our habitual ways of perception.
The video has a few hints of another, this time cultural habit: the omnipresence of the market. In this case it’s its art part, with street art morphing into its opposite: gallery art. But at least in Ellis G.’s case it can’t always be the simple copy/paste job that so many street artists go for when transferring their works onto canvas or gallery walls; hard to demount a street light and move it into a gallery. Its easier though with the objects Ellis often takes to the stage of his productions, like milk crates and bikes.
And they and their shadows do look different in a gallery setting. Being stripped of the rawness and real life character of street reality, the object and its aesthetically manipulated shadow have become colder, more abstract, arty, sophisticated. Rather than adding vibrancy to daily life, they are transformed into decorative objects with market value, to be transferred into the mansions of hip Wall Street bankers whose money never runs out and who know something about being cold. Money rips the soul out of life and therefore the artist who sells his.
This video doesn’t show yet the full extend of this life-expiring process – go to Urban Prankster to see the updated, slicker 2009 marketing version of this clip that seems to parallel the journey from street art to gallery fame. Tellingly, in that newer version the nice 120 seconds spot on respect, graffiti and street art closing with peace has vanished. Pity.