Elliott ‘Numskull’ Routledge is a man not just of many names but also of many mediums. He’s worked his signature style of bold colours and abstract shapes in to many forms: canvas, sculpture, and maybe most recognisably in outdoor murals. The Sydney-based artist’s work, together with a love of travel, has seen him install and exhibit all over the world.
What sparked your interest in art as a kid?
My family are all very creative. Our household was a creative space so it encouraged me to explore various artistic mediums from a young age.
What inspires you creatively?
My inspiration comes from everything really. For certain projects at the moment I’m taking ideas and concepts from my past—things that happen in and around myself.
You initially began working outdoors. How does working in a gallery and indoor spaces compare?
My gallery work has a different energy to my outdoor work. My paintings are very considered and planned to the finest details. My outdoor pieces have to adapt to the environment they’re in. A canvas sits on my studio wall and I tell it what to do, whereas a large exterior surface tells me what to do.
How has the international reception to your art grown after installing in cities like New York, Tokyo, and Vienna?
I try to travel as much as possible. A lot of the earlier years of travelling with my art were self-funded and self-initiated. With Instagram and other social media platforms it’s a lot easier for people outside of Australia to find your work. Vienna was a great experience, as I spent a whole month just focusing on my art. It still has a major effect on my practice.
You once said you’d be a fishmonger if you weren’t an artist. Is that still the case?
I copped a lot of heat from friends after that one. I still have full respect for the fishmonger community, but my ideas have changed since. I like the idea of always working with my hands and being near the ocean, so maybe that’s why I thought that being a fishmonger would be good. I’ve always liked the idea of being a carpenter or something similar.
What is your favourite piece of work so far and why?
I painted a large wall at Ashfield Train Station in Sydney’s inner west. I spent my life on the Sydney train system so to have a mural that’s viewed by a crazy amount of people daily is an awesome feeling.
How do you view the role of the computer in creating art?
The computer is an important part of my process. Like a traditional painter uses brushes, sketchbooks or other devices, I see the computer as just another tool in my arsenal.
Do you hope to start dabbling with any other mediums?
I am starting to create more sculpture work. I guess it’s an extension of my outdoor work in the way it interacts with the public. I also hope to show more gallery work and paintings too.
You can catch Elliott’s work IRL (alongside Georgia Hill) at Commune, Waterloo tomorrow night. Event details here.
This feature originally appeared in the February issue of Limit’d.