Fabio López and Ellodie Arshak
Painting around Los Angeles, California.
Down an alley overlooking downtown Los Angeles, I find Fabio on a crane 20 feet above ground. He is spraying paint and neatly finishing an amazing art piece that consumes at least 100ft width on the rear of a brick building, as part of the Animal Alley L.A. in Echo Park, curated by Jason Ostro from the Gabba Gallery.
Fabio is hugely skilled. The life he imbues into his painted characters, and the natural-looking shine he draws into their eyes - in this case, the Blue Monkeys, almost extinguished in some parts of Asia - communicate to me the innate talent of this artist. He draws inspiration from within, connecting with the purpose of an assignment, but always including a twist with his own personal agenda. His murals usually show the struggle of the human condition but within a real life context, and yet all the artworks are characterized by a slightly dreamy look, a style he formulated in Madrid in the late 90s, and which he subsequently named 'Dourone'.
By his side sits his amazing companion and the organizational mastermind behind of all the Dourone projects, gorgeous Ellodie. A Parisian by birth, she has been a loyal supporter of Fabio’s work and his girlfriend for some time. Before embarking on this travel/art adventure, she worked in fashion, but it wasn't until she joined forces with Fabio that Dourone started to gain its full potential. Together they are a dream team, as they travel the world together, finding murals to create, and projects to paint, always intrigued by what people and places will inspire their journeys. They are true adventurers, yet so grounded too, and one cannot help but admire such a dedicated artistic endeavor.
I met them for the second time in LA, just as they arrived from a whirlwind trip to Colombia, Miami and Costa Rica. This time around they are about to paint murals across the city, in Hollywood, Echo Park, South Central, Playa Vista, and off West 3rd Street in the car park of the art supply store Blick, which has generously supplied them with the requisite gallons of spray paint.
Fabio initially conceives the huge murals in his head, then commits the ideas to his computer tablet. He eventually projects an outline onto the wall at night, and traces the image after blocking out the brick and textures behind. Dozens of spray bottles are needed for his large compositions, and he has recently introduced color into his artwork, which in my opinion has added a whole new line of inspiring and soulful art.
Fabio comes from a family line of film industry scenic painters in Madrid where he grew up. He spent years doing jobs that were paid well, but not creatively fulfilling. He found his own way, inspired by the rise of street art, mostly outside Spain, and was able literally to paint his way across Europe with murals in various cities in Holland, France and beyond. I cannot wait to see where Fabio and Ellodie will get to next. Hopefully I see them again soon, in Brussels, where they plan on settling for a while.