After he spent more than a decade painting in the streets of Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood and sketching caricatures on the city’s beach promenade, an unlikely event recently catapulted graffiti artist Elior Yosef into the international spotlight — an Instagram post by fellow Israeli Gal Gadot.
Yosef, 30, says the “Wonder Woman” star discovered his work on Instagram and began following him about three months ago. A few exchanges between the two led him to create a special painting on a skateboard featuring an acrylic portrait of Gadot as Wonder Woman.
“She asked to see more of my art, so I told her I would come to show her a special piece,” Yosef says. “When I showed up to bring it to her, her husband asked me if I was a surfer and I said, ‘This surfboard is not for surfing!’ Then I took it out of the case and they were both wowed.”
Growing up by the beach in Neve Tzedek, Yosef spent his childhood painting and drawing superheroes. When he was 18, he began painting caricatures on the promenade, and eventually took to painting on surfboards, cars, motorcycles, clothing, and sneakers, he says.
His surfboard series combines stars from “Justice League,” including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, with elements from classic works by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and takes about seven months to create, he says.
Yosef’s acrylic creations also incorporate sparkly objects such as Swarovski crystals, fragments of perfume bottles, and even diamonds.
Since his meeting with Gadot was made famous on Instagram, Yosef says many opportunities have emerged. Though he can’t discuss all the details yet, galleries in New York and Los Angeles have shown interest in his work. Collaborations are in the works with high-end fashion companies, who have taken interest in his paint-splattered jeans, leather jackets, and sneakers painted with intricate designs.