Elster is a native New Yorker who has been involved and has influenced the NYC cultural, underground since a teenager. Elster has incessantly written and created throughout her childhood and adult life, often finding the depths of her innermost mind and emotional world a source of utter fascination, adventure, and endless work. Elster uses her sense of humor, her understanding through music, and her creativity to deal with the depths of reality. Says Elster, “I use my work as a study to understand the world in the barest of ways.”
is an experimentalist,
writer, director, performer, artist and founder of The Development, an underground, multi-faceted studio based in New York City. Elster's work offers a deep and direct awareness of the human condition and our current world crisis. Elster compulsively penetrates depth while both antagonizing and playing with the boundaries in film and mixed mediums. She has collaborated with such artists as David Bowie and Yoko Ono.
Most recently Elster has been doing music and performance art at New York City locations such as the New Museum (group show including performance art by Jonas Mekas), Cornelia Street Cafe, Catinca Tabacaru, Salon Stux West, and West Park. Her video art was exhibited in such galleries as Central Booking (group show including work by such artists as Carolee Schneemann and Kate Millett) and the New Museum. Elster performs and hosts art happenings in her studio and private gallery, The Development Underground. Her work offers a deeper awareness of the human condition and our current world crisis.
Last year Elster emerged from the underground and launched a Pop Up Gallery in Tribeca for her multidisciplinary exhibition, “The Retrospective of an Extroverted Recluse PART ONE” – the first time the artist has presented her art work to the public. Culled from a large body of work amassed over Elster’s intense underground career. Elster has spent years of deep, and, at times, bizarre excavation into the recesses of her mind and the minds of her subjects, analyzing the depths of human nature. Using words, paper, canvases, photographs, audio, video and performance art, Elster obsessively explores ways to deal with the severity of reality.
In Elster's directorial film work, Elster takes an unabashed look, both documentary and fiction, into the complexities of the psychology of existence, which can be at times hilarious and at other times terrifying. In the upcoming film series (which she has been filming for ten years) ...IN THE WOODS, Into the Cave and In the Studio, her subjects include Yoko Ono, Terrence Howard, Alan Cumming, Paz de la Huerta, Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mullins, Will Shortz, Questlove and many others .The films are written and directed by Elster, and marked by her unusual instructions: the subjects have no idea what they have gotten involved in, what will happen or if they will ever see the outcome. Precursors (The Prologue 1-8) are available to view on this channel.
While in post-production on the films, Elster got stuck in a perpetual cycle of editing and began filming The Development Underground series that includes: the process of the process; interactions with guests who stopped by; and performance art pieces.
In Elster's early beginnings she wrote, danced, studied, and stayed inside analyzing the depths of human nature. Professionally, Elster styled such subjects as Trent Reznor, Chloe Sevigny and others for covers of magazines such as Time, Rolling Stone and The Face while she was putting herself through college. Elster graduated with honors from NYU with a Bachelors in Humanities. She then wrote, directed, produced and starred in experimental films and a feature narrative film entitled Particles of Truth that played in such festivals as TriBeca, Santa Barbara and Woodstock, and won awards at Austin and HD Fest. Particles of Truth also aired on the Sundance Channel in a series entitled New Voices, theatrically opened at Village East Cinema and was available on Netflix.
Elster took note of the disintegrating progressive and experimental film and music platforms for original voices and decided to launch Channel ELSTER, a place for Out of the Ordinary Cinema and Sound.
Please do visit J. ELSTER, where Elster's raw, sculptural, luxury accessory collection can be found.