Elijah Maura for Footpatrol | Now Available!

At Footpatrol one of our passions is coming across new artists across the creative landscape. For our latest own brand offering, we’ve partnered up with New-York based artist and illustrator Elijah Maura. Elijah takes you on a contemporary journey through the East Coast, underpinning vivid iterations of his cryptic graffiti style.

At just 25 years old, Elijah Maura has created his namesake through his time-resistant realist portraiture that contextualises the realities of everyday life, taking artistic nods from the 80s and 90s bright and rendered style of graphics, his artwork offers a fresh, retro-contemporary perspective to the eye. Elijah Maura’s work not only offers something new but honours the foundation of artwork that lies deep in New York’s city discography.

For our latest collection, we wanted to deliver a hint of New York spectacle to our apparel. This three-piece collection encompasses Elijah’s hand-drawn style across the board featuring detailed illustrations and graff-inspired logo work, taking its creative inspiration from the diverse landscape of both cities. 

The collection consisting of two T-shirts and one hoody is now available to shop in-store and online at Footpatrol here!

Footpatrol: Elijah, really great to finally have our chance to talk. How have you been?

Elijah Maura: Yeah I’ve been looking forward to it! Also, I had a blast working on this project! I wanna thank y’all for reaching out to me. I’m doing good, excited for all the change happening right now. I’ve been having fun with all the projects I have goin’ on right now which is super refreshing. Thanks for asking! 

FP: Could we delve deeper into you as a creative person. Would you be able to share with us a brief overview of who you are and what you do?

EM: Yea sure, I can try! I’m Elijah Maura. I was born in Las Vegas in ’97 and moved to NY to be with my family and go to school in 2015. I’m an Artist, mostly an illustrator. I try to make stuff that my peoples’ kids are gonna be hype to find in 20 years. 

FP: Your illustration work really does stand out. Reminds me of the old Snoop Dogg ‘Doggystyle’ graphics. Where does the origin story begin?

EM: Thank you! That’s the first I’ve heard that specific comparison, I appreciate it. That cover is mad freaky. I guess I always drew, like most kids, but I didn’t start drawing with the intention of it being ‘ART’ until high school. My parents convinced me to apply to an arts high school called Las Vegas Academy where I had a pretty classical art training (SHOUT OUT MS. KELLY MABEL YOU’RE MY DAWG FOR LIFE). I mostly painted realism until I moved to NY. I went to school for illustration because I wanted to make myself draw more, develop a good style and I knew that I wanted to make art in context to daily life for everyday people. I wanted to make shit I looked at like t-shirts, skateboards, album covers and flyers. After years of doing all those things with no specific drawing style I just started paying more attention to the art I first remembered getting excited about like my dad’s black books and his old gang box stickers, flyers I found him using as bookmarks, album covers like Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus and MM FOOD. My mom had an ill portfolio from her time at LaGuardia High with drawings of punk chicks with mohawks and super 80’s style bright, bold, flat renderings of faces. My dad’s best friend Soyca who wrote OpenEye was a sick illustrator and we had his woodcuts and prints around the crib. Thats the true origin story. I knew that I wanted to contribute to whatever those images represented one way or another. It all felt so strong and relatable and the artist weren’t some super stars it was people that I know and looked like me and listened to the same shit my parents told me to listen to.

FP: How long do you think it took to finally work out the aesthetic you currently have?

EM: I don’t know if anything is fully worked out but it feels closer than ever. I definitely have more of a consistency than I did but I still do a lot of jumping around. I would say that I have 3 main styles or a gradient between two. I do my more realistic drawing style that has a lot of texture like i did for Tripp Jones “Raining Flames” album cover, or the WifiGawd “LEGG” single, then I have a more stylized realistic drawings that are correctly proportioned or whatever (the in between style), and finally my more abstract and flat characters directly derived from 80’s/90’s graff characters. I think that right now the graff characters feel the closest to what I wanna share and why. I just wanna respect and contribute to this legacy that gave me an identity, made me feel seen and gave me the courage to stay true to the shit I knew was made for me. It’s been mad cool to see how many people my age resonate with it. I wanna shout out my boys Andre (@andersen_onecler) and Shaheim (@333.333.333zzz) for being on the same page and keeping this shit alive. We share references and styles and put each other on and I’m grateful for and validated by them all the time.  I’m not alone so I know I’m not crazy lol. They don’t really know each other which I gotta change.  

FP: From what I understand you also did quite a bit of graffiti, was that something you planned to bring into your work or keep it as a separate medium?

EM: I guess there’s some separation. Graffiti is bound to influence my drawings and my letters. Most the stuff I make or do comes from the same place so there’s always gonna be a relationship. Graffiti stays illegal though i have no interest in making money off of it. I make and do what I do for freaks who have taste and style and I wanna honor the legacy of the people who did it before me. The drawings I have been doing are both ripped and inspired directly from illegal graffiti and I’m definitely not hiding from that, because I grew up on that and I really touch this shit, I didn’t just read about it online. But Graffiti is for me and my Art is for you. I think a little bit of opacity is important. 

FP: Let’s talk about milestones. From what I have read and seen you have worked with a whole host of people. Was there a project you worked on that has stood out for you?

EM: Yes I’ve been very blessed! My first few jobs started out strong, my sister Asha Efia was doing art direction for Lizzo in like 2012 and was making all these connections and passing them my way. One of the first commissions I got through her was the insert for Oddisee’s “The Good Fight”, then I did Chance the Rappers band Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s “Surf” album cover, followed by Lizzo’s 2015 tour stage visuals. Those 3 commissions as my introduction to freelancing were my biggest milestones cause it taught me a lot about what I like and what I don’t. After some years in NYC I had a community of artists around me and started working with musicians like sLUMs, SMTB, Drmcrshr, Tripp Jones and artists like AINT WET and it webbed out from there. My circle started CORPUS alongside Julian Pratt from SMTB and my sister in 2016, which was big for all of us. It turned the larger part of our immediate community into a team, and we’ve been exceeding our own expectations since! I’m always making more milestones with the homies. Beyond that, I love getting cool poster opportunities like the ones I’ve done for Wu-Tang Clan, Chief Keef, RXK Nephew. There’s a lot of shit I’ve made that hasn’t come out or probably never will, like my collabs with Corteiz. I have a group art show “Pieces of Bread” with my friends I met working at Greenpoint Tattoo Co. Jeff Syphered, Enrico Grosso and Ryan Mettz. It’s gonna be at the Noah flagship store on Feb. 17 which I’m super excited about! I also have a print shop that will officially open in the next couple months. Any time I realize that my life is going down the path I’ve been carving out for myself and alongside my people it all kinda clicks for me. I don’t take being an artist for granted. 

FP: Tell us a bit about the apparel you made for us, could you walk through the designs for us to give a bit more context to the Footpatrol community?

EM: I will try my best! As y’all know by now I’m better with images than words.  But I wanted to do the same thing I do here in NY for your community in London. I wanted to make sure that the people in the images would be representative of the people who are buying the sneakers and setting the trends. I wanted to make sure I didn’t dress them up or manicure them in a fashion that made them seem like influencers or professionals. The crew is keeping it calm but they all fly. The logos I wanted to feel loud and representative. I kept it simple. I’m not tryna reinvent the wheel, I’m tryna respect the legacy and point towards what works and do it better and better. I love the sole logo i made, it reminds me of old Timberland graphics but feels less mass produced cause you can see my hand in it. It feels a lil more intimate, which lends itself to Foot Patrol’s experience in the more intimate retail setting. I think I dove pretty deep into how I think about representation and why the figures in these images are important to me, so as not to be redundant I’ll leave it there. 

FP: It’s been a really great project to work together on and can’t wait for the launch, so Elijah thank you. Before we let you go, we like to allow our guests to share a message of positive or anything at all on their minds to the Footpatrol family, so please take it away!


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