Elzo Durt is a Belgian illustrator and graphic designer. His universe, largely inspired by psychedelia, is sprinkled with cosmic allusions and a vintage touch very urban. We met him on the occasion of his exhibition at Nero Gallery in Rome, open until January 30.
How did your passion for art begin and what pushed you towards pursuing the artist’s career?
I’ve always lived surrounded by comics because my father loves them very much. When I was little, my parents took me to many exhibitions, and I knew I wanted to be an illustrator when I was still very young, I knew I wanted to make beautiful pictures. In high school I was already in an art school, I did not like my drawing, so I had to find another way to express myself through illustration. After I finished high school I studied graphic design, and pretty soon I started to do lots of flyers for parties, concerts, and then slowly I started working for other stuff, record covers, illustrations for magazines.
Music is an essential element of your life and your works. Let’s talk about the relation you see between art and music. Is one of two predominant over the other or is there a symbiosis?
I always bought a lot of records, listened to a lot of music and album covers have always fascinated me. On a record sleeve, we can express what we want. It’s totally free, and the cover always has to identify the disc. When I studied graphic design, I knew that my goal would have been that of taking my inspiration from the bands i loved, but I had no idea that I would have the opportunity to work with them as well… today I am very happy to work for bands that I considered the best, I’m very proud. I listen to music all the time, I also organized many concerts or parties. Four years ago, I created with my friend Froos, the label TEENAGE MENOPAUSE, we do not want to lock ourselves into a specific style, we operate at the stroke of heart. For this label I do not do album covers, I make enough for other labels, but we try to discover other illustrators through the album covers that we produce. We pay a lot of attention to the music and then to the object, the cover .
Let’s talk about the topics of your drawings: what do they have in the common and why?
I work with collage, so I am dependent on images I find. My thematic -thus- varies according to my database. Lately, I work a lot for the press, they ask me to illustrate a text, and I have 24 hours to make one or more illustrations on the theme. I love working like that, it requires me to work on theme that I wouldn’t necessarily approach. In my personal work I often go back to specific themes: portraits and diverted religious scenes. That of portrait is a never ending theme. I think just across a face, there is a way to share a lot of different emotions. Religious scenes appear regularly in my work, as anatomical drawings do, because I work a lot from old carvings, and the 17-18th century are very recurring.
Dreams and future projects: where do you see yourself in twenty years?
In the near future, I plan to release a book that presents all of my work, I want it out in time for the opening of my exhibition at “the Gallery du jour” of Agnes B in Paris that starts in early April. I am also very pleased to exhibit in Italy, because I love the space. I organize three festivals in March / April / May in Belgium with 6-7 groups each night, which takes lot of time away from mr as well. And then of course, I continue to draw illustrations for various projects and I have a lot of record covers to achieve in the upcoming months. As for the distant future, I do not think too much. I work hard day by day, the main thing is that I’m happy to get up to work on projects that fascinate me.
Interview by Giulia Capogna