Self-taught artist and native New Yorker Eli Shallcross illustrates cityscapes around the world in an attempt to capture them quicker than they can change. Last month he came to NeueHouse Madison Square to paint an indoor mural of our very favorite skyline, and answered our House Questionnaire before he left.
Name: Eli Shallcross
Path not taken: I always wish I’d gone to art school growing up!
Describe your ideal workspace (both the physical and mental essentials):
Unlimited coffee and good music are all I need.
What’s a metaphor to describe your creative process?
That one day on every vacation when you realize you forgot to plan anything so you walk around aimlessly hoping for the best.
I tend to get my best ideas and breakthroughs by … appreciating the little things around me, and always keeping an open mind creatively. In recent memory, a coaster from a bar, a really cool shade of orange I saw in a book, and the packaging from an old model train have all inspired pieces.
Current read or listen: I am trying to read a book a month, and am currently reading In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, It’s a weird one! I have also been listening to a lot of Yussef Dayes who is an incredible musician that’s inspired me a lot recently.
What’s something “new” in your life and/or working-life? Bit of a curve ball here, but I have been working on trying to have more confidence and belief in myself as an artist… So far so good!
Something you’ve discovered in the last year that now you can’t live without? Basque Cheesecake. Although my doctor might disagree with the not being able to live without it part.
If you could travel back and re-experience one period in your life, what would it be and why?
My dad was a carpenter, and growing up I used to help him on the weekends for some extra pocket money. I always regret not paying attention. Woodworking is such an awesome craft, and something I really wish I was better at.
Current obsession. Lately I’ve been loving bright primary colors. It’s been really refreshing adding them into my color palette.
The best part of the work I do is: The learning process. I’ve really been enjoying experimenting with new techniques and colors, and getting more confident as I learn.
The hardest part of the work I do is: Staying motivated when things aren’t going my way.
What are you working on now? Documenting the rapidly changing landscape of the city as massive luxury condos and apartments seem to be cropping up everywhere you look.
What do you hope to work on next? I would love to do something with the MTA. I’ve also been thinking a lot about designing a wine bottle. That would be cool.