We had the good fortune of connecting with Elliot Lang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elliot, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Boulder, and grew up in Wyoming. I spent my summers in Alaska, finished college in Denver, and then moved to New York before coming back to the west for good. I didn’t appreciate it until I was away from it, but I think being immersed in the wide open spaces of the west beneath the open skies made me hone in on every detail of the landscape, and dream up stories and characters that could inhabit those expansive places. I think that might be a big part of my subconscious. Spending my summers in Alaska helped shape my love of the outdoors and wildlife, and that solitude I found as a kid left a lasting impression upon me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am satisfied with how my work is evolving. I can now see a clear distinction in craftsmanship in everything I work on, from my traditional painting to my digital work, to environments catered to experience. I started my career with an illustration portfolio of vivid, bright oil paintings, went to a digital/traditional portfolio, and finally, in the past couple of years, refocused on my drawing and draftsmanship putting brush to board. I’m excited and confident enough to use digital or traditional media to get a final product. After working at the fabulous Moxie Sozo ad agency in Boulder, I was taught how to polish a final piece for production at the illustrative and design stages, and to pay intimate attention to each detail. It was an education in story building, branding and creativity.
I don’t think any of my journey as a professional has been easy and in some cases, feels backward. The lesson I kept learning was that in adversity there is always opportunity, and one way I have overcome some challenges is to surrender my ego, seek advice and develop new skills. The number one thing that I learned is that you have to put the time in, “pay your dues,” and work tirelessly at what you want. There is nothing wrong with working hard at something you love.
My work is evolving, there are bigger paintings in me that I need to get out and I’m aiming to get my inner critic to say, “there it is! You have something, now do it again.” I want to continue to engage people in my art, and art in general. I would love if the takeaway from looking at my work, my brand, or learning about me, is to remember to have fun.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Great question, because Denver and the surrounding area is a giant playground. First, we are headed to the mountains to hike and get some fresh air. The reason I am in Colorado is for those beautiful mountains. We are hiking in the Fraser valley because it is lush and beautiful. (If it’s winter the place we are skiing is Mary Jane). We might swim at Lake Granby post-hike. We will have to go to The Ditch for a green chili cheeseburger after those activities to refuel, and on the way back we are going to visit Westbound & Down in Idaho Springs. During the week, we will be tasting beers at Mockery in RiNo, maybe Platt Park in between. Red Rocks is always a cool destination and one that you can climb around and get your sweat on, but with Denver being so hot lately, we’ll have to cool off: another swim will be in order at Chatfield. I’ll of course take my guest to Number 38 in RiNo to showcase the best of Colorado- tons of food options, live music or comedy every night, the best beers and spirits made in Colorado, served by the best bartenders in Denver, and beach volleyball if we aren’t already exhausted. In the mornings we will snag ourselves some Kaladi coffee, and breakfast is going to be either Lucille’s or Snooze to start the day right. Being a museum nerd, we will have to visit the Colorado History Museum, Clyfford Still and the Denver Art Museum to absorb some culture. Before saying farewell we will head to Lowdown for pizza and delicious beers, and I’ll be sending some empanadas from Maria Empanada with them on the flight home.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many shout-outs, its extraordinary when I think about the people that have helped me, inspired me and supported me. My incredible wife Jenny has always believed in me and her encouragement is the reason I have success. My family nurtured my artistic abilities as a kid and I can’t imagine being here without them. My good friend Zak Pullen mentored me after college and his advice has propelled me further in my career than I could have imagined. I have had 4 unique and inspiring swim coaches that instilled within me an unstoppable work ethic and drive, while also teaching me patience. When I think specifically of Number Thirty Eight, I know that without our advisors and the investors that believe in us we wouldn’t have this amazing ‘Social Frontier’ that is a love-letter to Colorado. Nowadays, my biggest motivator is my 2 year old son, Henry. My work has a greater depth and meaning since he was born, motivating me to leave a legacy that inspires the next generation.