Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Elzo. Psychadelic. Surreal. Kaleidoscopic. There are many fabulous adjectives that spring to mind when considering the work of Elzo. Like Monty Python on acid, his works are a truly original melange of colors and forms that span styles and eras. Lacoste L!VE meets the man behind the marvels…
Elzo, what on earth are you?
I’m an illustrator! I make collages using elements that come from anywhere. They can be old engravings, comic drawings, photos etc. I then combine, deform and color them on my computer. I normally screen-print these images when I’m done. The result can be pretty colorful, at times tortured and more often than not psychadelic. It’s somewhere between illustration and graphic design I guess.
How did you get started?
I studied graphic design at school and before then I drew a lot.
How did your collaboration with Lacoste L!VE come about?
They just asked me to do an illustration for a t-shirt ! I’m looking forward to seeing the result.
Are you used to collaborating with fashion brands?
Not really no.
So did you find it difficult to find your feet when approaching this project?
Not really. They asked me to start from the idea of an African mask and so I just developed it in my own style. I like to work in that way, it’s always interesting to be creative within some boundaries; it often leads to the most exciting work.
This edition of Lacoste L!VE concentrates on Tokyo. Have you ever been?
No, but I would love to ! I have to admit that many Japanese artists have influenced me greatly, or at least I’ve been passionate about them. Keiichi Tanammi, Keiti Ota, Tadanori Yokoo to name just a few. Not to mention Japanese cinema and prints!
And what about Tokyo and the brand Lacoste L!VE? Do you see any links?
I think there’s a link between the eclecticism and the respect for tradition. In Japan, you see some of the wackiest things. The way people dress, the crazy pop culture, and the futuristic gadgets. But still, there’s a deep love for traditional Japanese culture that shows no sign of dying. At Lacoste L!VE, there’s a similar mix of eclecticism and heritage.
Couldn’t agree more! Do you have any exciting new projects you would like to share with us?
Yeah, I’ve got quite a few exhibitions lined up, Barcelona, Lille, Paris with Arts Factory and some other things that are in the pipeline that I’d rather keep secret for the moment !
Fair enough. What keeps your work moving forward?
My technique really depends on the images that I dig up and the documents I discover. So if I make an awesome discovery, I’m inspired to make new images. What I find determines where I go next!