Had to represent my hometown with this feature. Representing Northern Virginia, by way of Brooklyn, New York, welcome the conversation and work by artist Elstabo.
STAMP: Introduce yourself. What is something you want the world to know about you?
Elstabo: Originally from Brooklyn, New York and moved to Northern Virginia. I’m known throughout the art world as ELSTABO. It’s a pen name I’ve held since back in the early 90s. One of the most important things that all artists should represent is professionalism. Get your work done on time and don’t make excuses.
STAMP: When did you become interested in art?
Elstabo: As a child around the age of 4 or 5 I recall my father doodling on a scrap of paper. It sparked my interest in art. Cartoons on the television cradled that desire as time went on.
STAMP: What is your medium of choice and why?
Elstabo: I work in many mediums, but the one medium that seems more important to me are oils. Oil painting takes time and it’s expensive, which is why I price them higher than some of my other works.
STAMP: Did you study art at an art school? If so which one and in what way did that experience help you as an artist? If not, do you wish you did?
Elstabo: I studied at The School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I thought it was a waste of time since I was coming from the art field already with wet feet. Although I still believe there’s no better teacher than the real world, school has a lot to offer. School can show you different ways of examining things and helps develop those skills that are necessary in your chosen profession.
STAMP: How has your experience been as an artist in your country/city of residence? Are there any demographic limitations or advantages?
Elstabo:While living in New York I worked as a graphic artist doing commercial gigs and working in the fashion industry. Once I moved to Virginia I changed up to a fine artist. Not because I think it’s more lucrative but because graphic work is scarce and architecture is centered here.
STAMP: As an artist, what are the most common setbacks that you’ve faced? (Personally, w/medium, w/craft etc)?
Elstabo: The only set back that I can really complain about is the Personal computer. It’s a wonderful tool for any artist and it has helped me in so many ways like creating and exposing my work. But this damned contraption will suck the life out of you. There are so many things you can do with it that you find yourself unable to move away from it.
STAMP: Have you ever shown in galleries? If so, what was the experience like? If not, how come?
Elstabo: I started showing in galleries around my senior year at school. First, around town in New York city then other states like Virginia, Maryland, Detroit, Florida, California etc. My experiences have all been excellent, even if didn’t sell in some of them. It gave me the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and artist.
STAMP: What role do you feel the Internet has on art? Positive or negative?
Elstabo: The Internet has been great for exposing art in my eyes. Sometimes one doesn’t have the resources or time to get out there and try to get folks to look at your work. With the Internet you have full control of how you want to present yourself and to whom. I can sell my work directly to buyers without having to go through the traditional outlets.
STAMP: Have you ever felt limited or trapped by your style? With so, much pressure on mainstream art, have you felt peer pressured into conforming?
Elstabo: There have been times when I thought that if I made my work look like this maybe it will sell quicker. That of course is a mistake. You want to be true to yourself and do the type of work that is original. Folks out there will recognize and appreciate you more for that, not to mention sell more. I do have many styles since I worked in different fields, so one way to help not confuse the audience was to blend the styles all together. It seems to work better that way.
STAMP: After viewing your work, what feeling or thought do you want to leave the viewer with?
Elstabo: I like to keep my audience wondering, and I try to do that by storytelling with my art. A painting of a apple is ok but wouldn’t it say more if that apple was smashed up against a window? I think that’s the point of art, to make you think or feel.
STAMP: Do you agree with the overall objective of STAMP Magazine? Why or Why Not?
Elstabo: STAMP’s objective is noble and a blessing. Sometimes we artist try to speak with our art, but the message is lost in translation. This outlet can help clarify those misunderstandings of who the artist is and what the work is about.
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