ELLE Magazine Sept Issue - The Black Issue


We would like to see where it all begins with creative masterpieces. Five artists give us a glimpse into their moleskines and sketchbooks, and give explanations.

JOSEPH KLIBANKY (28) - Artist - Surprised the art scene when his work went for a record price under the hammer at Sotheby's auction. He makes his utopian city portraits of hundreds of photos, acrylic and liquid glass.

"Photos are the starting point in my work. As you see, New York is almost always central, because it is such an obvious symbol of the western world. Lately I want to tell a story about the growing power of China, an intriguing phenomenon. First I travel there, stroll through cities and make thousands of snapshots. With a naive perspective, as a tourist, I capture everything around me. From this huge database I choose elements, sometimes as small as a street sign. All things together become an unrealistic cityscape where I paint over it. Then I add surreal aspects to it such as huge hummingbirds. Drawings are mainly used to determine depth and dynamics. Only in the end the finesse comes, that distinguishes my work. My sketches are too fast and rough. Yet there are now even galleries that want to buy my studies, a great honor. From start to finish a painting cost me over four months. I want to make each piece into a masterpiece. There are so many details and little jokes in my artworks that you maybe only discover some after many years and you just have to look at it. This also counts for me. Sometimes I see one of my paintings I didn’t see for a long time and find myself details I had forgotten. That's very special."