1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I’m Ellice, I’m originally from Bath, UK, but a couple of years ago I moved to Berlin to live in a van. I split my time between living in the van and living at my boyfriend’s parents house when we’re poor or cold. It somehow works. Mostly, I make comics. I’ve just completed my first Graphic Novel called ‘Something City’ which is published by Avery Hill Publishing. Now I’m looking for the next thing to sink my time into.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Colourful, patterned and shapely. Often my work lacks line and focuses more on the shapes and textures. I like to explore themes the deal with social constructs, how we connect to others and how people exist in their environment.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
For my last project, I worked in a process which is similar to the one used when screen printing. I painted on acetate with ink. Each colour was painted onto a different layer of acetate. Then I would scan each layer in and place together using photoshop. At the moment I’m exploring a more digital approach to this technique.
4. What is your artistic process like?
When making comics I start by coming up with the kind of story I want to create. Then small bits of speech will pop into my head. I always write possible speech bubbles into a Gmail template. Then when I have a rough sense of what will happen in the story I’ll rough everything out, draw the final outline and then start colouring. I try not to dwell on work after it’s finished. For me, it’s much more productive to just move straight on to the next thing. I use podcasts to prop me up during a work session.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I always look at the work of other illustrators who I admire to get me in the mood to start something. Some of my favourite artists and illustrators are Grandma Moses, Diego Rivera, Nikifor, ATAK, Sophia Martineck and Till Lukat. I also like to listen to poetry readings whilst I work. There is this amazing poetry reading from Allen Ginsberg on youtube where he reads from his ‘Collected Poems 1947-1980’ book. Every time I listen to it I feel really grounded in my own work. I recently listened to the S-TOWN podcast from This American Life which inspired me to make illustrations based on S-TOWN.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
If I wasn’t drawing I’m quite sure my life would look a lot different. I wouldn’t have had the guts to move to Berlin, nor live in a van. Life as an illustrator is often uncertain. You grow this thicker skin that allows you to take it as it comes when it works out great, but when it doesn’t you become more resourceful. As for the aesthetic side of things, I’m always on the lookout for the next thing I want to explore. I can find this in people I meet, or things I hear or listen to. Yesterday I was going for a walk in Bristol and we found this cave in a forest which was inhabited by this polish guy who was trying to live a self-sustained life off of the grid. He’d built his own kitchen in the cave, wood burner and everything. He even said he played with the squirrels. Sometimes ideas just hit you in the face.
7. Where did you study?
I studied illustration at UWE in Bristol. For anyone looking to study on this course, I would totally recommend it.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I’d like to carry on making graphic novels. I would like to find a side job which would help sustain this, which doesn’t eat my soul and allows me enough time to take on more book projects. But I try not to invest too much time into planning like this. It takes away from feeling satisfied with the right now. I like staying a bit open to things and I’ll just see.
9. What about in ten?
I have no idea.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope to create a body of work which examines how we live. I’m really interested in modern living and the characters of people. I just want to tell stories based on connectivity and if that resonated with people I’m happy.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I love this German dinner called Senf eier. It’s basically eggs covered in mustard sauce. I love roast dinners and burritos. I really like food. But for eating, not so much for drawing.
12. Favourite book?
My favourite book last year was Just Kids by Patti Smith. It’s a memoir about her life in New York City with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s such a special book. whilst reading this book I got turned on to so many great poets and artists. Patti has exquisite taste.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I don’t have a favourite genre as such. I go through phases. Sometimes I’ll spend the morning listening to Outkast, J LO, Wu Tang Clan. Then in the afternoon, I’ll listen to Frank Zappa, The Modern Lovers and Blue Oyster Cult. It varies.
14. What are your hobbies?
I like going on trips in my Van, last month we drove to this abandoned hospital in the countryside in Germany and explored it. It was really creepy and interesting. I like being outside with other people and I like to rent movies from video world and watch them back to back.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I thought about this question for so long. If I couldn’t be an artist I’d like to be a love and sex therapist (not that I’m emotionally or intellectually qualified for this job), but I like listening to peoples stories about relationships. I’d also like to make floor tiles from pieces of other tiles. But this is also a form of art.