Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Linocut and acrylic washes on vellum, pasted on wall by street artist ELBOW-TOE. 6 x 10 feet. My current body of work is an allegory about memory's power to hold us back or move us forward. The central character in this parable is a 6 x 10 foot linocut of an Everyman, who has lost it all and wanders the plains with all his belongings strapped to his back. He navigates a world in crisis by learning from his past. The remainder of the characters that he encounters are individuals lost in regret. I have developed these paintings and prints during the American housing and credit crisis of the past year. In contemplating where we are and where we might be, I have found myself looking back at history, remembering the Great Depression, and considering what effects it had on the American psyche. The uncertainty that existed then is present now, and I am addressing the kind of escapism through nostalgia that can occur in the midst of calamity. Every character that the Everyman sees is gripped by this need to escape their present circumstance. They are people lost in a memory at the very point when they should be paying attention to what lies ahead. Many different artists have inspired the flavor of this world including the photography of Walker Evans, the films of the Cohen brothers, the music of Tom Waits and the theatre of Robert Wilson.

Big props to Wheeler, Luke and Michelle.


Andy said...

So can you now officially name NPR as one of your influences?

ELBOW-TOE said...

I should :) Since I listen 15 hours a day.

Carlos Gurgel said...

Excellent art, Elbow.

I'm from Brazil and linked your job and your blog in my website.


Jaime Rojo said...

Hi Elbow,

When I first saw your art on the street I was mind was racing fast to try to assimilate all the emotions that came to me in a flood. There was pain. Your images have a lot of pain in them. There was extraordinary beauty. Lots of it. There was the myriad of colors and the infinite details. Goya came to mind very fast. An artist that I admire and like. Your art almost always remind me of his art. I am still in complete fascination with your craft and in much gratitude for sharing it with us on the streets of this most intriguing city. Our city. I am Jaime Rojo. From Brooklyn Street Art. We have met but then again we have not. I am not sure that either of us knew who we were when we talked. Next time when I see you I will come and say hello. Cheers!!

ELBOW-TOE said...


stualdo said...

Elbow-Toe, came across "can you spare a dime" and loved it. Just saw one of your newerpieces at the Bdc where Black Rat are exhibiting your work, are you signing up with them, would be nice to get hold of a piece of you art.