Elle in the Arts District

 

For Love & Lemons has called the Arts District its home for the past 4 years. We love this part of DTLA because of all the hidden gems in unexpected buildings and the presence of street art. Whether we're walking to Pizzanista to grab a $2 slice on Tuesday or having a lunch meeting at Zinc, we can't help but notice all the murals along the way. 

Our girl, Elle, recently flew in from New York to paint a mural on a building right next to our office. We caught up with her and stopped by during the week to see her work progress each day. Check out her amazing mural and our little catch up sesh below.

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Hi Elle! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started.

I started doing Street Art about 6 years ago when I moved to New York. I had never really seen it before then, but I was making art and living in a closet at the time, and had nowhere for the art to go-- so I decided there couldn't be a better place for it than on the streets! I started painting on paper and gluing the work up on the streets, and I immediately fell in love with the dialogue that happened with pedestrians and other artists on the street- and I haven't stopped doing it since then! 

When did you start painting murals?

I started painting large scale walls and doing murals just about two years ago. I was getting frustrated by the brevity of my paper street art... there's something wonderful about ephemeral work, but if I spend a huge amount of time on something, it's nice to have it last sometimes! Also, murals are legal, where the street art wasn't, so I was able to start spending several days working on a wall, and it totally changed the game. It's also really fun to see neighborhood individuals respond to my work, and its nice to be able to have dialogues with the people who live and work where I'm painting-- it inspires me to leave them with something beautiful.

 

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What drew you to the Arts District and how did you decide on what piece to do? 

I had visited LA last year and had driven around putting up street art posters with Sharktoof, another artist, and had remembered driving through the Arts District and seeing many murals... this time when I came back I recognized friends' pieces-- Meggs and Lister, and many other familiar characters-- Roa, David Choe, and Aryz. I wanted to paint in the midst of these friends and giants! The image that I chose to paint is from my guardian women series. I enjoy painting strong, powerful women emerging from tropical-esqe scenes, or just guarding over the streets. It's a twist on the big brother-- but here the women are there looking out for the ladies.

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What's the story behind your moniker, "ELLE"?

When I chose my alias I wanted something very feminine. ELLE means "she" in french. It was important to me that individuals knew that there were ladies putting up work on the street, as the street art and graffiti world tends to be male dominated. I had few role models when I began doing art on the streets, and I like to think that I'm promoting the idea of equality, and that women can participate and do street art as well.


What type of things do you like to paint and what are you most known for?

I like painting very colorful pieces and figurative work, primarily female. I enjoy painting strong, beautiful women. I grew up in a catholic household and I always loved the images of Mary, as well as all of the super epic stained glass pieces you find in churches. I'm no longer religious and my work isn't either-- but I think it holds the power and strength of saint-like imagery. I aim for the work to be stern, silent, powerful and beautiful. Most recently I've been painting lots of tropical scenes, bringing beauty and nature into grimy cities, and also have been creating light boxes in my studio!