Jeff Elrod is a contemporary American artist. He has been accused of groping a female friend outside of a restaurant in Marfa, Texas.
According to police documents obtained by New York Daily News, Elrod and his friend were having an after-dinner drink at a restaurant in Marfa in August 2018. As the two were leaving, the complaint reports that 53-year-old Elrod said, “I have to kiss your breasts.”
The woman told police Elrod blocked her path and “grabbed her breast.” The complaint continues, “He then pulled her breast out of her bra and shirt and put his mouth on her breast.” The woman told police that she “went into a weird shock like I went into a form of autopilot, and I kept walking.”
Although the incident occurred in August, the woman waited to make a report until October because she feared retaliation.
On November 14, Elrod was charged with simple assault. His charge is considered a non-arrestable offense. If found guilty, he could be forced to pay a maximum penalty of $500.
Elrod’s attorney Liz Rogers cited the low-level charge in a statement to New York Daily News, asserting that the claim is an attempt to extort her client. However, the claimant who remains anonymous contradicts that accusation.
“I’ve signed a legal statement relinquishing my rights to pursue civil action following the trial and that financial gain is of no interest to me in this matter,” the woman told New York Daily News.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Elrod Is a Renowned Artist Whose Work Sells With a Six-Figure Pricetag
According to artnet, Jeff Elrod has exhibited his paintings in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Athens, and many other cities around the world. Artspace has reported that in 2014 an Elrod painting at auction could fetch from $160,000 to over $300,000.
2. Elrod Is Known for His Large Scale Abstract Paintings
Born in Texas in 1966, Elrod is best known for his enormous abstract paintings. He frequently works on canvases that are over 12 feet tall.
3. He Splits His Time Between Marfa, Texas and New York City
Early in his career, Elrod exhibited in Marfa, Texas, and he continues to work in a studio there in addition to a spot in New York. In an interview with BlouinArtInfo he said, “Having grown up in California and Texas, I feel claustrophobic if I can’t see the line of the horizon. That’s why I like hanging out in Marfa and feeling the openness — feeling alone and tiny in the middle of a big landscape that doesn’t directly register in the work other than making me feel relaxed and able to concentrate.”
New Times San Luis Obispo reports that Elrod gets up at noon and paints until 2 or 3 in the morning.
4. Elrod’s Work Is Inspired by Digital Drawings
Elrod creates his paintings by first making digital drawings in his computer. He told Muse Magazine, “The computer for me is where I go to zone, where I can make drawings reflexively. I prefer the smoothness of drawing in light as opposed to pencil and paper which made me self-consciously aware of the friction I was creating.”
Once he has created a digital drawing that interests him, Elrod then begins painstakingly painting it on one of his large canvases. “Ultimately, they come out as a handmade thing which is kind of a weird distinction to make these days.” He says.
5. Elrod Does Not Have a Website or Social Media
Although Elrod’s work is inspired by the connection between humans and computers, he does not maintain a website or publicly use social media. The artist told New Times San Luis Obispo that he did not use a computer until he was 30 years old in 1999.
He told Muse, “personally I’m not that great with emailing and texting. I just have trouble keeping up. I question my ‘connectivity’ daily.”