Tuesday, May 10, 2011


New York street artist Elbow Toe sees all. To him, the streets are alive with creative possibilities. From commuters nodding off on the train to vine-hemmed, dilapidated ‘theatre spaces’ crying out for a new 'interactive' piece. For Elbow Toe, it’s all about the setting and the way his art works with its surroundings. He lives and breathes the city, reflecting his fellow commuters in lines of poetry and sketches, running its streets barefoot and decorating its walls long before the rest of us have sunk into our daily grinds.

In studio – as unmasked alter-ego Brian Douglas – he spends more than three months on one piece, working on giant paper collages and woodcuts with a kind of blind determination and work ethic that’s inspiring (and humbling). In February, Brian was in London for his first solo show Due Date, at Black Rat Projects. And while he was here, Elbow Toe crept out to see what the city had to offer him (and vice versa).

I caught up with Elbow Toe after a “nightmare” two months of “personal family issues” and physio, just as he was settling into his new studio space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Predictably, he seemed as creative and focused as ever.

Where does the name come from, are you a contortionist?

Ha ha, no. Elbow Toe pays homage to another street artist named Neck Face. I believe he’s from California originally. I’d seen some of his tags around New York City. And one day at work, joking with some friends, I said I’d call myself Elbow Toe if I was ever a street artist.

Click here to read the full interview on Don't Panic Online.

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