Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk at MZM Projects bring us an exemplary profile of the French public art/street artist/fine artist Eltono. A former graffiti writer and semi-professional lounger, Eltono is always experimenting with his own process, hoping sometimes to “facilitate some kind of accident,” say the directors. “He often relies on the roll of a dice, the act that provides the possibility to lose absolute control over the final look of an artwork.”
To continue with MZM Project’s focus on post-graffiti, it is fascinating to imagine this former graffiti writer’s route to get here. Most likely, it was many routes, given his penchant for experimentation.
“Eltono is an amazing narrator, he’s so genuine and true. You just want to listen to it over and over again,” says Borhes.
“You didn’t have a lot of input – and the input you did have had a lot of impact!,” says abstract painter Jeroen Erosie (b.1976, Netherlands) about his beginnings as a graffiti writer in the early 1990s. The revelation of seeing new works in print or on street walls was not something to be taken for granted, as with thumbing through an Instagram feed.
Tracing the evolution of an artist from graffiti writing to personal life and professional art practice – this is what some broadly refer to as Post-Graffiti. With graffiti at its genesis, it is also fascinating to witness how practices and techniques progress in later times at the hand of older practitioners.
“We want to discover the stories from artists’ graffiti past and to understand what role it played in the process of forming their artistic practices,” Borhes tells us. ‘Every episode is dedicated to different artists from a particular scene.”
The Ukraine-born/France-based duo of independent researchers and documentarists have had to delay production of this long-planned project due to the ongoing war in their home country, but are proud to have reached this benchmark. This is the first of two completed interviews, but there will be many more if they can follow their planned program.
Ms. Borhes tells us that one of their influences is the work of documentary filmmaker Michael Blackwood, who collected valuable video interviews “with Rothko, Guston, the New York School, and many other artists.” The filmmakers are in awe of the opportunity to study the artist up close without unnecessary packaging, filtering, or attempts to otherwise manipulate the viewer. Borhes says one of the aspects she admired of Blackwood’s earlier documentaries allowed the viewer, “This possibility to see how they talked, to follow their emotions, gestures.”
BSA is proud to premiere this work and series days after its release. Shot and produced in collaboration with last year’s Bien Urbain Festival, this one will be followed by a second interview with street artist/fine artist and master experimenter Eltono.