Elliot “Funskull” Routlege Featured



“I think there is power in the unknown. Leaving space for people to imagine can reveal the most incredible concepts” -Elliot “FUNSKULL” Routledge

On the question of whether abstract art is misunderstood when compared with more figurative art forms, Elliott Routledge suggests that it is like comparing Bjork to Taylor Swift. “With Bjork’s music, you might need to listen carefully to the lyrics over and over and explore her whole catalogue”, he explains. “With Taylor, however, one listen and you’ve got it. No offence to the Taylors of the game though!”

In this way, Elliott seeks to imbue his own work with that slow-reveal of meaning, which is introspective and inspired by the things he experiences in his own life. “Aesthetics is a large part of the process, obviously, but for me the narrative plays a big role also”, he says. “I’m trying to portray a feeling or a state of mind; an abstract field representing the personality of us as humans and the many things that make us unique. Abstraction faking its way into conceptually driven portraiture.”

Elliott intends that each painting or body of work speaks the same language as the one before it and the one to follow. He describes his signature as color-focused abstraction and his work is highly saturated, expressive fields of harmonious chaos, or at least the illusion of chaos. “I like to restrict or challenge myself in terms of color”, he admits. “This is definitely something that goes in waves, and I often find myself arguing over why I should even do it, but it seems to feel right for the work.” To that end, Elliott once spent three solid years using only two colors as a way to prove to himself the work was good enough. The colors employed from that point onwards have often had a direct relationship to the concept or the situations Elliott himself as experiencing at the time. 

Characterizing his earlier work as ‘graphic and figurative’, Elliot became frustrated that the finished painting would appear so obvious and easy. “There’s something in my personality that doesn’t like being told what to do or what to think. In abstraction, I found a way to completely express myself without conceptually being held down by a singular idea,” he explains. Often there will be some figurative elements in Elliott’s paintings which function as an ambiguous, embedded narrative layer that he feels might be necessary to the work. Similarly, typography and words are devices that Elliott will regularly utilize for this effect. “I think there is power in the unknown. Leaving space for people to imagine can reveal the most incredible concepts,” he says.

The rebellious streak in Elliott was perhaps seeded in his youth. A square peg in the round role of the high school system. Elliott was always painting graffiti and street art without any particular aim to take it further than the walls he painted on. “Painting was always a hobby for me, and I surrounded myself with other like-minded people who chose that same path and ultimately, we became each other’s teachers,” he recalls. “That DIY mindset and no rules environment gave me the freedom to try as many different painting techniques as possible, and find ideas and information about art via my peers.”