In the Spotlight: Damien Elm


My name is Damien Elm, born in 1987. I live in Lille, in the north of France. I used to write songs in my younger years, recording, touring. But I came to a point where words failed at expressing what I had within me. It’s in drawing geometric and abstract pieces that I found a new impulse, about five years ago.


Each drawing is a variation of a larger exploration: that of the symbiosis of the multiple towards the unique; a “thing” which may eventually emerge between the lines.


My drawings are based on the accumulation of lines – usually in four steps: vertical, horizontal, and both diagonals. The process is repetitive, accumulative, hypnotic. The drawings are both minimalistic, in that they present basic geometric shapes in four colours maximum, and intricate with a lot of details if you concentrate on small sections. It comes from my interest in ambient music and objectivist poetry I guess. Say less, because the words or sounds will occupy a much bigger space.


I want to explore more, make my work more acute and precise. I don’t feel like becoming a professional artist. I see myself as an amateur, though it is usually – and quite inaccurately – associated with mediocrity. There exist independent musicians, independent filmmakers but I don’t recall visual artists calling themselves “independent”. I teach in a middle school, which allows me to explore freely, without the need to “belong” to the artistic world.


I may expand my thoughts on what I’ve said previously, about saying less. “Less is more” is famous since the Modernists. But if you look around you, the world has not put the motto into practice. Everything is imposing, opulent, fast, mechanical, even grotesque sometimes. I’m touched by artists who had the ability to open so much with forms that were stripped down to their minimum. Think about Albers or Taeuber-Arp.


Understanding comes with being open to the sensible, to small details, to imperfections, allowing us to step aside and witness a new representation of space. Thanks for reading all of it; please send me a DM on Instagram if you want to continue talking about all this.

Thank you, Damien.

Artist page

Instagram: @damien_elm

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