Interview with Ellis Gallagher

April 21st 2010

Interview with Ellis Gallagher

Whilst interviewing artists out here in New York, and showing them the work from the UK, one artist’s work kept coming up. Prompted each time by Matthew Vernon’s Dictionary of Synonyms, I had several conversations about people’s reactions to this kind of work and comparing it to the chalk drawings of a locally based artist.  However, in these mentions in passing, no one quite knew the artists name or if it was in fact the same artist each time.  I tracked down the man in question, and clear and to point, just like his work, here is what he had to say.

IS: One of the pieces in the Art/Value/Currency collection (Matthew Verdon’s Dictionary of Synonyms) comprises of chalk text written on a pavement. The work in the collection is a video documenting people’s reactions to this work.  As I have been showing people the collection, a lot of artists have mentioned having seen your chalk pieces in the street.  However it took a while before I found out your name, I actually happened upon your website whilst researching another gallery.  The people that are familiar with your work ad have experienced it, might not actually know who it was made by.  How do you feel about this level of anonymity?

EG: Fine with me. I normally sign all my pieces, however.

IS: What do you consider as the role of art within the public domain?

EG: To expand horizons, to inspire, to affect, to culture the collective you.

IS: You were previously a graffiti artist and have been arrested for your chalk work.  To what extent do you think work made on public property should be controlled or monitored?
EG: Everybody is still going to draw/write/paint/wheatpaste/install/sticker/stencil out of doors regardless of the law

IS:How well do you document the responses to your work? Is that something that concerns you?

EG: I document my work when I am finished making it outside. I never document peoples response to my work.

IS: With much of your work being temporary or site specific, how do you balance that kind of practice with making a living?

EG: Screenprints, photographs, installations, commissions.

IS: What advice would you give to an artist moving to New York?

EG: Never give up. stay busy, keep working.