Elicser Elliott, Graffiti Artist Born Montreal
Elicser Elliott is a Toronto based aerosol artist whose creations adorn the cultural landscape here and abroad. As an integral part of downtown Toronto’s street art community for over a decade, he has been recognized for his artistry and praised by both street and fine art collectors all over the world. His work has been featured in a multitude of publications, hung in prestigious galleries like the Art Gallery of Ontario, and for a number of years he had his own installation in the Royal Ontario Museum.
Although he is a Montreal native, Elicser grew up on the West Indian island of St. Vincent, where he was first made aware of his artistic abilities. His father was the creative genius behind the country’s annual festival, and he followed alongside him while he created the costumes for the event, trying to recreate the designs to the best of his ability. Eventually his family returned to Canada, where he was introduced to the world of street art while attending the Etobicoke School of the Arts. However, suffering from the influence of what he describes as the “West Indian mindset” he had not seriously considered art as a possible occupation until he had a discussion with a guidance counselor who encouraged him to study animation at Sheridan College.
The art he originally set out to create and the reality of his career now are quite different. Using aerosol spray paint cans he illustrates deeply meaningful pieces as a cathartic release for himself, corporate and consumer enjoyment, or for the viewing pleasure of those who desire to have his artwork etched into their community. He recently ventured off to South Africa where he was asked to be an Artist in Residence, and it was an experience that he notes not only changed him as an artist but as a black man.
In February 2012, he illustrated a book called Know Love, which is filled with hand drawn illustrations depicting how children view love. The book was born out of his own frustrations with love, and in the hopes that all who read the book would come to understand how simple love is. Know Love was successful in selling out of its 100 edition launch at the LE Gallery and a second edition of the book will be available soon.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK AND WHY?
The Artist’s World in Pictures by Fred McDarrah: It makes you feel like you’re on the right track.
Ruler in Hiroona by G.C.H Thomas: My grandfather wrote this book. I guess you could say he’s Who’s Who in the Caribbean. He wrote about how this one guy came up from nothing to rule St.Vincent at the time …steady rise to political reign.
The fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Good life values.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?
“Earth without art would just be eh!” – Anonymous
GIVEN THE CHANCE, WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE YET?
I’d like to produce music. That’s a really cool thing to do. I’m kind of a part of a group called Notes to Self – they’re amazing. I do a lot of the cover work for their albums. I wouldn’t even say that I want to be an MC …I just want to produce music in a creative way.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Egon Schiele , Alphonse Mucha, Norman Rockwell and Michel Gondry
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
One day my English teacher in St. Vincent said, “I just want to give you a little piece of advice: everything you do in life is for the opposite sex.” But really, I do stuff to provoke thought. Sometimes I see things and think “do people see this? Do people see things in this light?”