An illustrated chronology - Part 3
New York, New York.
Exhibition at Trump Tower + West 57th
Elliott takes his art photography to New York and exhibits on the main central art location of West 57th Street and also on 5th Avenue at Trump Tower. The show was entitled 'Synchrosynthesis', a paper Elliott wrote about his approach to art and the importance of engaging with it totally, spirit, mind, brain and body. A philosophy which was always there and never changed. Elliott is the complete antithesis of most contemporary art with it's spiritually bankrupt commodification. Elliott's art is saturated with emotion, substance and gravitas.
1990 (Age 39)
The Original Artist's Autobiographical Video
Featuring The Amazing Music of Jean Michel Jarre
Shot in London, New York and Paris.
Whilst exhibiting in New York, Elliott's art dealer referred to him as the 'Voice Of A New Generation'. The artist used this as the title for his pioneering, autobiographical video, a completely new idea for visual artists. It was shot on broadcast quality Betacam. Elliott states that every Tom, Dick and Harry was doing a book at the time, so he decided to do a video. Elliott was very fortunate to get permission from Jean MIchel Jarre, to use his music as the soundtrack. 'Voice Of A New Generation' covers the canon up to the final 'Great Symphonies' of the late Eighties. Many have said that the video is a work of art in itself, but Elliott says it was never intended to be. The intention was to be partly biographical, give a glimpse of his lifestyle and present a platform for the Art. The video took hundreds of hours to create but is only 11 minutes long. Elliott digitally re-edited and remastered it himself in 2009 and also turned it into a DVD.
1992 (Age 41)
After New York, Elliott's pictures were shown at art gallery Jacquester, in Paris, next to Beaubourg (Centre Georges Pompidou).
1992 (Age 41)
Elliott takes an extended stay in Los Angles to photograph American models and also to study digital imaging computer technology. This would prove pivotal. Although Elliott did not realise it at the time, he would never return to the type of Art Photography he pioneered in the Seventies and Eighties. The erotica did continue as photography, as Elliott believes there is no better medium for erotic art. The photography continued to be an element in some computer art and sometimes vice versa, but the great photographic orchestrations of reality for the camera, were never revisited. The 407 hour epic, 'Superchromatic Spectrosynthesis' of 1986, was the last. It should be noted that Elliott is an innovator and creates something fresh every time. He has no wish to create a recognisable style, by repeating the same motifs time after time. His style is originality, which requires vastly more creativity. He has created enough new directions in art, for hundreds of so-called 'styles'. The latter are really just recognisable mannerisms and motifs. Repetition, by any other name.
1992 (Age 41)
OK Computer 2
Back in London, Elliott moved to St John's Wood, just off the High Street and began to experiment with computers more and more, following his 1986 debut. He learns more about Photoshop, then seen as a set of corrective, retouching tools. Elliott saw Photoshop's powerful creative possibilities, rather than its retouching potential. Although computer hardware and software were still expensive, the cost was a fraction of previous systems, which were hundreds of thousands. Early systems even ran into millions.
1992 (Age 41)
Glamour Money & Power, London
'Hungerlust Capitalism' Banned
One image, 'Hungerlust Capitalism', caused some controversy and was banned from his 1992 exhibition 'Glamour Money & Power' in London's West End. The receptionist at the gallery resigned in protest. The picture has also been highly successful. The artist arrived in a stretch limousine with a couple of glamorous models and as he entered the gallery, special banknotes bearing his portrait rained down from the sky.
1992 (Age 41)
Pioneering Computer Art
Although Elliott's first piece of cyber art was "Digital Visage" of 1986, followed by 'Eclipse' of 1989, the next milestone piece was 'Gold-Digger In A Night Club' of 1992. Elliott spent much of the NIneties in London's top nightclubs and some of his images of the time, were an acerbic critique, as was the aforementioned 'Hungerlust Capitalism'. Elliott continued to experiment with computer imaging, despite the world view that 'You cannot create art with computers', which was pervasive at the time. Elliott continued to search for unique cyber imagery and emotion in the machine.
1994 (Age 43)
Pioneering Computer Artist
At a time when everyone was debating the merits of computer imaging, Elliott was busy pioneering again and invested a large amount of money in, what was then a high end system. If not the Ferrari cost of his earlier darkroom, it was about half of one.
On his new workstation Elliott creates 'The Angelica Geometrica' 1994.
1994 (Age 43)
Gallery Opens In New York Exclusively To Sell Elliott's Art
With his Art still ahead of the curve for the art world, in 1994, the DiTuri & David Gallery opened in New York, specifically to sell Elliott's Photo Art. This was a pioneering move. The gallery was in New York's fashionable Mercer Street, opposite the Guggenheim Museum in Soho. Very much the Art District of New York. Elliott, by this time had already exhibited at Trump Tower and West 57th Street - the 'Cork Street' of New York. The gallery was the brainchild of Tami Di Turi and David Murphy. It was spacious and modern with 2 floors. The initial show to open the gallery was entitled 'Exotic & Erotic. The opening night was a huge success with over 300 guests.
The picture shows some great Elliott classics hanging on part of the ground floor and is taken from the staircase to the upper level, which was devoted to Elliott's erotic art. The ground level showed the artist's photographic masterpieces. The show was all photography, it did not yet feature any of the emerging cyber art. Elliott declined offers from several New York dealers in favour of the venture. The gallery was in fashionable Mercer Street opposite the Guggenheim Museum in Soho.
Picture : Elliott with gallery directors Tami Di Turi and David Murphy.
1995 (Age 44)
Sex, Money & Midsummer Madness Exhibition, Berkeley Square, London
Elliott turned up in Berkeley Square to open his exhibition with two of America's top glamour queens. Balloons fell from the sky, there were top models dressed as cats, tearing each other's clothes off in Berkeley square, a video wall showing 'Voice Of A New Generation' and 100 bottles of Champagne. Elliott turned up in a convertible Rolls Royce Corniche.
1995 (Age 44)
Ground-breaking Computer Masterpieces
Elliott continued his tour de force with computers creating Aphrodite Autogenesis.
1995 (Age 44)
Metasphere sells for $40,000 - a world record price (again).
Metasphere' 1974+5 sold to a collector for $40,000, a world record price for a contemporary artist photographer. In fact it had broken the record for four consecutive years, between 1992 and 1995. As well as pioneering art photography, Elliott was also played a key leading role in the marketing and sales of the medium. Soon though he would abandon this, to concentrate on pioneering computer art.
1996 (Age 45)
Major Computer Works.
This is the year Elliott created what many consider the first major works of computer art. 'The Importance Of Insignifica' was a new direction, looking for all the world like a sort of visual electropop. Masterpieces like 'Rumours Of The Queen's Eclipse', 'Madness Mistress Metamorphosis' and 'Aftermath' pioneered a completely new trajectory in art and were glimpses of things to come.
1997 (Age 46)
Early web debut - JAMES ELLIOTT .com.
Elliott linked up to the internet back when the net was yet young. Slow screeching dial up. Few in London were talking about the internet. During a 4a.m. phone call from one of his American glamour queens, who was so well versed with the internet that she could write html, Elliott learns all about the web and she registers Elliott's name as a dot com. Elliott is officially online at jameselliott.com. Elliott wrote his first piece for the internet on 'Kiss On Frosted Glass'. The piece is entitled 'Tripping the Light Fantastic Of Lipstick and Lost Love'. It was the success of this piece which launched the huge, 3D Supersite, which exists in much expanded form today. It would gain Elliott an audience of millions.
1998 (Age 47)
Art For A New Millennium Exhibition
This exhibition at Art Connoisseur Gallery in London's West End, was the first public showing of the revolutionary cyber art. It was also simultaneously published in The Times. The venue boasted the longest gallery window in London, perfect to observe Elliott arrive in a 20ft long peppermint green Cadillac convertible, with 4 models, balloons and a load of Champagne. The entire gallery crowd erupted into spontaneous applause as the artist and entourage arrived.
Always the innovator, the new computer art shown was massively ahead of the curve and continued Elliott's tradition of relentless originality. Images included 'Rumours Of The Queens Eclipse' and 'Madness Mistress Metamorphosis' and countless new trajectories. The show was critically acclaimed. The Times describing the work as 'stunning images', which they were and are.
The British Journal Of Photography noted :
“Page 3 girls, glamour models and TV personalities, spilled onto the pavement as the Elliott entourage arrived - fashionably late - amidst a barrage of paparazzi flashguns. This was the opening of no ordinary exhibition...”
1998 (Age 47)
More world-leading Cyber Art
This was the year it became abundantly clear, that Elliott was making massive progress, pioneering a new art form. Having pioneered Photo Art since 1968 and Computer Art since 1986, it is difficult to find anyone working in parallel. They all came later. One thing is clear, in both of these new, revolutionary media, Elliott was first to create imagery at a level, which could not be refuted as art.
2000 (Age 49)
Moves to Abbey Road.
After spending much of the summer in New York and Los Angeles, Elliott returned to London and made his home in Abbey Road, world famous for its music studios and the Beatles album of the same name.
2001 (Age 50)
Elliott works on his 'Millennium Masterpiece, which would eventually be entitled 'Ultrametamorphica Supercybersynthesis'. This involved the use of no less than four software programs. One of these was cutting edge at the time, but has since disappeared. This happens often and much of Elliott's pioneering work is unrepeatable, due to obsolete software engines.
2002 (Age 51)
Elliott does an unprecedented amount of writing on his art, including several essays on classic works. This eventually totals over 100,000 words. These are all published on his website. The first piece he wrote was the 'Kiss On Frosted Glass' essay, in 1997, but the majority were written in 2002.
2003 (Age 52)
Elliott dubbed "KIng of the erotic" by Maxim (and L'Espresso)
Maxim dubbed Elliott 'King of the erotic' in 2003. At the time Maxim was the biggest magazine for men in the world. The quote went on to state ".....since the early Eighties". A huge accolade as Elliott didn't launch his erotica until the early Eighties. The photo art dates back to 1967, of course, but for the first decade there is no erotica in the canon. They made their point with 'Red Velvet Gloves' 1986, now long since sold out. By this time the erotic art had been widely published across the globe. Maxim would later publish Elliott's erotic art under the banner of 'Naked Genius'.
2003 (Age 52)
By the early Noughties Elliott had not only an international reputation but was considered by many internationally, as the world's foremost erotic photographer. His work was published in over 30 countries, even before the advent of the internet. In fact, there were whole small countries of people who thought Elliott was an erotic photographer. As if completely ignoring the world class artist and pioneer, that came attached, as part of the package. The publishers of the Italian Magazine 'L'Espresso' approached Elliott to do a monograph. The 'Masters Of Erotic Photography' series was to be mainly a global and historical overview, but with a few contemporary photographers. Elliott was one of the very few chosen.
The series included, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, Herb Ritts, etc. Elliott's work also featured in L'Espresso - a sort of Italian Time magazine, majoring on politics, economics and erotica. The book consisted of 45 of Elliott's images. All images were shown single or double page. 45 images was a significant proportion of the erotic canon at the time, which consists of about a third of the oeuvre.
2004 (Age 53)
Web Fame - Over 1,000,000 visitors a year!
Elliott's website becomes one of the most popular artist websites on the planet, with visitors passing one million a year. A phenomenal achievement. The revolutionary 3D design, rapidly expands to many times its original size.
2004 (Age 53)
Abbey Road Computer Room
The minute he moved into Abbey Road, Elliott designated a separate, special Computer Room, to create his masterpieces. Note that Elliott never, ever, used a mouse. He started on graphics tablets in the Eighties and never changed, as they are capable of infinitely greater precision. Much of his work is extremely exacting. He uses a puck and a pen for different tasks. He wears out a lot of them. Many fine computers have passed through the Computer Room, from the Apple PowerMac 266, to The Cube, the Mac Pro and today the beautiful iMac 27 inch.
2004 (Age 53)
Elliott's new erotica is another new direction and shows incredible mastery. The innovative fetish erotica of the Eighties, gave way to the Superglamour of the NIneties and the new work in the Noughties, is a much more sensual gorgeosity.
2005 (Age 54)
First Serious Giclée printing
Elliott has always been an archivist, in fact since 1973. Although the artist pioneered computer art, he held back on printing until digital conformed to his strict and demanding criteria, with regards to quality and longevity. The earliest pieces were output onto extremely high quality 5 x 4 transparencies and printed traditionally on Cibachrome. Elliott knew that dye sublimation prints and Iris prints weren't that good, so he continued converting to analogue, until digital caught up with his extremely high standards, from an image quality and archival standpoint. Simply put, early digital was vastly inferior to conventional analogue The latest giclée printers are capable, in the right hands, of the highest quality imagery ever. As indeed, can be seen in his latest pieces.
2007 (Age 56)
Electrodiary: "I'm not really a writer - I just do the good bits"
Elliott stopped keeping a diary recording events, at the turn of the millennium and instead started recording his thoughts and philosophies on 'Art, Glamour, Lipstick and the Universe' (as he puts it) in an electrodiary, on his computer(s). He has to date written about 1500 observations ranging from 3 word aphorisms to thousand word pieces. As well as the 14 much longer essays.
2009 (Age 58)
Revolution Innovation Evolution Movie
Elliott creates a new movie, talking about his pioneering Photo Art and Cyber Art. It features many works from both media. The artist also states his views on Art and his attitudes towards it. Shot at Piccadilly Circus, Abbey Road and Times Square, New York, it is full of penetrating insights and philosophical distinctions.
2009 (Age 58)
New Dynamic Erotica
Elliott's erotica becomes more dynamic and shot on location.
2010 (Age 59)
Abbey Road Autoportrait
Much of the new work shows altered realities in Elliottonian colours. Often being contrasted with natural colour for emphasis.
2011 (Age 60)
Elliott creates a number of images which capture much depth and spirit. This genre is typified by 'The Ephemerality Of Physicality', a large scale piece. A profound and atmospheric image with astonishing detail.
Also of great importance was 'Secrets Of The Heart'.
2012 (Age 61)
The Story Of Nude Photography
Despite having done very little nude photography, it constitutes less than ten per cent of the canon, Elliott is given four pages in the historical anthology, 'The Story Of Nude Photography'. It was a global survey both historical and contemporary. One of the images published was the widely loved 'Scarlet Smile' of 2005.
2014 (Age 63)
Large Format Giclée Printing
Elliott creates his first really large scale masterpieces, after buying his own large format giclée printer. They were printed in the computer room at Abbey Road, St John's Wood, London. The pieces created were up to 54 inches (137cm) wide.
Radical Next Generation Art
2015 (Age 64)
Diary Of Innovation
After 50 years of perpetual creativity, Elliott is still blazing a trail. His oeuvre reads like a diary of innovation. The degree of originality is unsurpassed.
The London Skyline self portrait, above, was taken from one of Elliott's favourite night spots. To the extreme left one can make out Tower Bridge and then the Shard. To the foreground, the building lit by purple lighting is Somerset House, where back in 1839, Sir John Herschel first coined the word 'photography', in a paper read to the Royal Society. Interestingly, the paper was headed 'the art of photography', a status it would not attain for some 150 years. Elliott probably did more than most, to change people's minds. Simply by consistently creating, such beautiful and artistically brilliant photographs, that only an imbecile would say they were not art.
2015 (Age 64)
Universal Wondervision - Radical New Visual Forms
At the same time as The London Skyline Portrait was made, Elliott was creating the extraordinary 'Universal Wondervision'. This is a completely new form of imagery, only possible with the latest technology. Although it is fair to say Elliott is an exception to virtually every artistic rule, he well and truly smashes to pieces the idea that artists do their best work when they are young.
In terms of originality, inspiration, beauty, substance and just sheer creativity, Elliott's art just leaps from strength to strength. It goes ever higher. Its stature undiminished. Decades ago Elliott studied and investigated the psychology of why the pattern of declining creativity occurs and made a conscious decision to avoid the behaviour and life paths which lead to diminished creativity. You will only need one of your hands to count the number of artists who avoid said decline.
2016 (Age 65)
Latest Pioneering Work - The Magical Masquerade
Hailed as one of his greatest masterpieces ever, The Magical Masquerade is a radical and original piece, full of vibrancy and vitality. 50 years on Elliott is at the height of his creative powers and continues to create brilliant, original and beautiful work.
STILL AT THE LEADING EDGE OF ART 50 YEARS ON
The Perpetually Perplexing Complexity Of Physicality
30 years after Elliott began his journey with computers and with 50 years of photo art behind him, Elliott is now creating some of his most extraordinary masterpieces, ever. The rarity factor is colossal and the quality extraordinary. This is cutting edge Art.
LATEST AND GREATEST
It has to be said that in the parthenon of contemporary art, most of the artists with authentic values such as beauty and depth, have long since left the building. In their place are the advocates of ugliness and banality. Many declaring the asinine notion that 'anything can be art'. Yeah you wish. They create lazy ten minute jobs disguised as achievement. Where today is beauty to be found in art? Everything is dumbed down for the average plebeian plonker. Which really means for the money. Well, we all love money, it's just that if you put it above art, then culture suffers. That's an altruistic thing. Elliott is in a completely different orbit to the crass mainstream. He upholds the authentic values of art as perceived by the cognoscenti, not those fools strenuously trying to be cool.
30 years after Elliott began his journey with computers and with 50 years of photo art behind him, Elliott is now creating some of his most extraordinary masterpieces, ever.
What singles Elliott out, not just from his contemporaries but from literally everything else, is the perpetual originality, the intense creativity, the diversity and the depth. This is heavyweight art. In the league of great masters. Full of emotion, substance and gravitas.
Elliott pioneered the two most revolutionary art forms in history - photo art and cyber art.
His art spans an incredible arc, from dark, deep and profound images of death,
violence, madness, sorrow, remorse and spirituality, all the way through to images of
indulgence, hedonism, freedom, glamour, money, power, sex, beauty and love.
All wrapped up in an achingly beautiful vision.
This has no precedent in art.
11,870 words and 85 rather fabulous illustrations
All images and text © JAMES ELLIOTT 2020