Scratching the Surface: Elle

February 3, 2015 | Aymann Ismail

ANIMAL showcases a different street artist regularly in our feature, Scratching the Surface. This week, we profile ELLE.

ELLE, or ELLE StreetArt

Decade you were born in:
The ’80s, yo!

City you currently live:

Drugs or natural highs?
Mushrooms and pot sometimes, but I would say I’m pretty much au natural. 😉

How did you get your name?
ELLE means “she” in French. I wanted something overtly feminine, so that people would know the ladies are up on the street as well!


Why do what you do?
Why NOT?!?!? Haha.. Ok, no for reals. I started doing street art because I was (literally) living in a closet when I moved to NY and had absolutely zero space to keep work once I made it. I also couldn’t afford a storage unit, so when I saw other artwork on the street I realized that my work could be out there too, and live a much richer life than one within my closet. Making art became about the mission of finding a spot that helped the piece to live, and integrate into the space, and become as much of a conversation as possible. I wanted to find things that were very exciting, or terribly boring, or weird, or somehow it could interact with the space. This developed into my interest in graffiti, and eventual participation, which became a love affair with the streets and I just haven’t been able to stop!

How does your mother feel about your art?
My mom is very supportive of my studio work and street art, but not the graffiti. Haha, who wrote this question!?

Are you making a living off your art? How’s that working out so far?
I am making a living off of my work. It’s rad to be able to travel, make things, and paint for a living is pretty dope.

Fuck the art world or embrace the art world?
What art world? Nah. There are some cool things going on in that world. I try to keep my distance and do my own thing for the most part though.

Do you bring your smart phone into the bathroom with you? Why?
Haha, umm… skip?


Do you ever feel like giving up?
Always! Haha. No, just kidding. I couldn’t not make things if I tried. It is funny though because sometimes before I embark on a big wall or project I doubt myself. I’ll think… I don’t even know if I remember how to paint or if I can do this, even if I was painting the day before, but it’s always reassuring to wrap up a big project and be happy with it and be like oh yeah, I can do this!

Suggest an artist to follow.
Vexta and Catking_duh