Elliot Lovegrove’s art charts new territory

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Brandon Fellow Elliot Lovegrove explores the relationships of lines and objects. Photo by Will Crooks.

Elliot Lovegrove has lived in the same Greenville house his entire life, but that never stopped him from exploring the world and developing an affinity for maps.

Lovegrove was named one of three 2018-19 Brandon Fellows, a fellowship program designed to develop three local emerging artists between the ages of 21 and 30 and provide them with mentorship and community within the Greenville arts scene.

Describing his mind as connection-seeking, Lovegrove says maps are about finding the relationships between lines and objects. He expresses this connection in his artwork, primarily through mixed-media painting. Lovegrove also enjoys making his art more interactive and immersive through the use of video projection and lights.

“More important to me than the particular media that I’m working in is the concept and that side of the work,” Lovegrove says. A recent graduate of the studio art program at Bob Jones University, he created his senior showpieces around the idea of maps.

Lovegrove always felt connected with and drawn to maps, he says.

“Maps are very rhythmic in the sense that it’s not a perfect pattern, but there’s this logic,” Lovegrove says. “All that motion and all those lines, I think that’s very appealing to me.”

The connection to travel and exploration also makes maps significant to Lovegrove. From age 6, he had opportunities to travel often in the Western United States, South Korea, and Europe. 

“On a deeper level, I realize that maps give you sort of this middle stage of knowledge, because you go from maybe knowing nothing about this place,” Lovegrove says. “Then you see a map, and now you know a lot more about it.”

Lovegrove says what’s most appealing to him is how maps spark imagination in the minds of onlookers while leaving some open-endedness. Examining the relationships between known and unknown things and making associations through colors and textures is his favorite part of the creative process, he says.

As a youth, Lovegrove attempted drawing maps of the South Korean subway systems and the many neighboring playgrounds.

“As far back as I can remember, art just kind of felt like this core part,” he says. “It’s the thing to do, like a thing in the center.”

As part of the Greenville Center for Creative Arts’ Brandon Fellowship, Lovegrove’s work will gain greater visibility. Having his own studio space at GCCA, he can experience what it’s like to work in a studio 25 hours a week. The program allows the Brandon Fellows to work independently while still receiving feedback from one another and their artist mentors.

“One of my concerns with doing studio work is that I didn’t want to be just by myself in the studio all day and kind of isolated,” Lovegrove says.

With Lovegrove considering graduate school or teaching art after the program, the Brandon Fellowship gives him an opportunity to strengthen his visual art portfolio. 

“Working with Mark Brosseau, who’s my mentor, will be really great,” he says. “He just started teaching at Clemson, and he teaches lots of classes here. I think he is going to really challenge me to keep growing and making good work, and I think that will be good preparation if I do go to grad school.”

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