Elliot Cowan is an award winning animator, writer, artist and educator. He was born in Melbourne, Australia where he attended the Independent College of Art and Design and followed that up with a further post grad year at the Victorian College of the Arts.
He spent nearly 11 years in Tasmania writing, directing and editing low budget television commercials. In 2006 he left for London where he worked for Uli Meyer Animation, working as a story artist and gag man on the feature film Monstermania! He conceived the characters Boxhead and Roundhead who appeared in several award winning short films as well as an animated feature currently on the festival circuit.
In 2007 he moved to New York where he paints and draws, makes sculptures out of foam core and cardboard and teaches animation. He has completed animation, storyboarding, writing and story consultation for Sesame Workshop, Elizabeth Arden, Nathan Love, PBS, Ace and Son Moving Picture Company, The Logo Network, Uli Meyer Animation. In 2016 Elliot spent a week working with visual artist Wayne White on Wayne's big history and art project, Wayne-O-Rama.
Currently he is working with Oscar nominated Irish studio Cartoon Saloon (Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner) on their new film, Wolfwalkers. He teaches animation and story classes at The Pratt Institute, University of the Arts, Queens College, Mercy College and Sarah Lawrence College. His personal, straight talking approach to being a working artist make his guest appearances in classrooms and festivals a unique experience.
His drawings, prints, sculptures and paintings have been shown in Melbourne, Hobart, Launceston, Los Angeles, Chatanooga, Chicago and New York.
“My motivation for this exhibition was based on Sam Cooke’s 1964 composition and recording “A Change is Gonna Come”, a plaintive emotional response to a racial injustice incident that Cooke experienced in 1963.
The stencil “A Change” painted on a crumbling facade is a reminder that when things are broken, rebuilding must begin from the ground up- a new foundation with fundamental rights for everyone. In 1968 in an NYC playground, my outdoor work focused on minimalizing an art object so that it becomes a shared visual experience for the local community and general public. Working in abandoned properties, closed storefront windows, non-profit alternative spaces, etc., my affinity for public spaces drew me to the Garage Art Center; the closest thing to the street during a social distancing pandemic, was a few blocks away in my home town.
"So many of the cultural identifiers that we have connections to are things we’ve never ever experienced.
I draw the Australian outback all the time but I’ve never seen it.
How many Italians have never had a nonna make handmade pasta in the kitchen?
How many Chinese Americans prefer chicken and broccoli to”real” regional foods.
That’s the kind of thing I’m going to explore.
I don’t have a title yet, but that’s my plan."
- Elliot Cowan, 2020
To learn more about artist Elliot Cowan, please visit www.elliotelliotelliot.com.