Be inspired by the work and career of this graphic artist and printmaker from Peru
Elliot Tupac (@elliottupac) is a Peruvian graphic artist and printmaker who channels his passion for screen printing, calligraphy, and lettering into creating pop art and marketing tools. His style–characterized by spontaneity and color–makes his work stand out; Elliot has redefined both a traditional art form and what it means to be a lettering artist in his native Peru.
The workshop where it all began
Elliot began experimenting with letters in his dad’s screen printing workshop. While it only had limited equipment, this was the place where Elliot witnessed the creation of a great number of music posters over the 80s and 90s. It was also where Elliot learned the techniques involved in creating the chica poster–an iconic form of Peruvian folk art that was born of necessity and requires minimal resources. It was through these experiences that he learned all about the poster scene.
Elliot has had a taste for art ever since he was a child, having picked up drawing very naturally. He would often help his father with projects that they would develop together in the workshop; this was how he first discovered lettering.
Training and vocation
Elliot trained as a social communicator, but he prefers to be known, firstly, as a printmaker and letter artist, and secondly, as a calligraphy and lettering specialist, particularly the typography that he discovered thanks to his father. It was the latter who taught him that typography reveals the human soul and spirit.
Elliot used to see how people undervalued or criticized his father’s profession. Not only did this not deter him from pursuing a similar profession, but it made him feel an even greater affection and respect for the work produced in their workshop. He felt inspired to redefine it and change the way others saw it. He did so by pushing the idea that “a town’s posters reflect its soul”.
2000: the journey
In 2001, Elliot began to make contact with local artists. In 2004, Claudia Llosa started shooting their first film, Madeinusa, and Elliot developed most of the production’s graphic material.
Shortly afterward, his work was featured on the front cover of a British magazine, garnering him attention back in Latin America. Afterward, Elliot participated in a competition in Chile, where his lettering work made a big impact.
Finally, in 2010, the artist’s dreams came true when he started creating works in public spaces. The pieces incorporated elements of chicha posters (the colors and letters) while replacing what would usually be music content with messages to do with social change and that encouraged passers-by to reflect on powerful ideas.
Embracing this art form has led Elliot to work with well-known brands, not just in Latin America, but worldwide. He has had the opportunity to travel to lots of different countries to paint murals and exhibit his work.
If you would like to learn more about Elliot Tupac and his work, sign up for his course, The Chicha Poster: Design and Screen Printing of the Popular Peruvian Art. He will teach you artisanal processes for creating traditional posters inspired by music.
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