The message on the Coney Island wall is (English translation from Arabic script): The only thing people have in common is the fact that they are different
French/Tunisian artist eL Seed is one of the founding forefathers of modern 'calligraffiti’, a blend of the historic art of Arabic calligraphy and the modern art of graffiti, mixing street culture from Paris and Arabic history to poetic effect. Born to Tunisian parents in the suburbs of Paris, eL Seed spent his formative years juggling different cultures, languages, and identities. Today eL Seed’s pieces have developed out of two worlds colliding, with these two cultures clashing and blending into one another, to form a new identity, a unique mark and a distinctive style.
eL Seed uses intricate composition in his work to call not only on the words and their meaning, but also on their movement, which ultimately lures the viewer into a different state of mind. Working primarily with subjects that seem contradictory, eL Seed’s art reflects the reality of mankind and the world we live in today.
In mid-2012 eL Seed completed his largest piece to date, in the southern Tunisian city of Gabes, a 47 metre high minaret on the Jara mosque, spreading the message of unity. In 2013, he went on to leave his unique and one of a kind mark in Qatar, when he was commissioned by the Qatar Museums Authority to paint tunnels in Doha on Salwa Road. eL Seed sought out the help of the local community to create 52 individual pieces of art for the tunnel walls. More recently in the summer of 2013 in Paris, eL Seed took part in La Tour Paris 13, the largest collective street art exhibition in the world.
eL Seed's art has been shown on the walls of many cities around the world including Paris, New York, Jeddah and Melbourne, in addition to his home country Tunisia. In 2013, Condé Nast Traveler recognized him as one of the years ‘visionaries’ for advocating peaceful expression and social progress through his work. And proving that street art can collide with luxury to fashionable effect, in 2013 eL Seed collaborated with the international luxury maison of Louis Vuitton, where he created a unique calligraffiti design for the classic monogram scarf, as part of the Foulards d’Artiste project. He is the first and only Arab to have ever designed a collaborative product for the famous French brand.
In March 2014, eL Seed launched his first book, Lost Walls, documenting his calligraffiti journey across Tunisia.
In March 2015 eL Seed, was chosen as one of the 21 TED2015 Fellows.