Fifteen years ago, Elias Telles woke up from a dream in which an angel holding a lit candle was descending a staircase. The next morning he tore some wood from a dilapidated fence and started painting angels on it.
Like many self-taught artists, Elias had already led an adventurous and colorful existence before embracing his calling as an artist. Born into a family of fourteen siblings in East Los Angeles, he joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school and served two years in Vietnam as a rifleman. Upon returning home, he experienced undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and could only subdue the demons by producing drawings that he would quickly destroy.
It wasn’t until he was in his late forties that he started painting. At a local flea market one of his early works caught the attention of a set designer who placed it in a Steve Martin movie; his paintings have subsequently appeared in a number of other productions and made him a sought-after artist in Hollywood, where his collectors include film directors Michael Mann and Chantal Ackerman. His work is part of the permanent collection at the House of Blues and he was one of the featured artists on the PBS series ‘Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations’.