Full of admiration for Elena’s beautifully vibrant paintings, Cass Art were lucky enough to catch up with the artist herself for a further insight on her process and practice.
Where did you grow up and where did you study?
I grew up in Marbella, southern Spain until I finished school. I studied a 5 year degree in Fine Arts in Madrid and enjoyed my last year as an Erasmus exchange student at Leeds Metropolitan University. I came to London in 1999 and studied an MA in Contemporary Art at Sotheby's Institute. I've been based in London ever since.
Could you describe your work?
I try to capture the essence of different moments in daily life. I work from photographs which I reinterpret to create bold, yet reflective representations, animated with colour and character. Inspired by my surroundings, the subject matter of my paintings revolves around nature and its relation to people and vice versa. I’m interested in making poetic imagery with emphasis in the use of colour and light. I’m drawn to images that have a stillness and a strange quality of silence.
What materials do you use?
Could you tell us about the process of making your paintings?
My paintings are based in photographs I take. Sometimes I capture the moment in one shot, other times I combine different photographs together to get different effects or moods. In that case, I work on the composition in the computer. At times the final image is a combination of at least 10 different images. Once I have the final image I transfer the basic outline onto the canvas with pencil. Then, I start working in layers working the basic colours, lights and darks.
Who or what has influenced your work most?
London has made me the artist I am today. Living in a country that is not yours gives you a special quality to observe, analyse and interpret. My work is a result of many years painting, looking at art and observing different cultures around me. Certain exhibitions have also made a great impact along the way. The first exhibition I remember clearly was 'Sorolla' (1863 – 1923) a Valencian painter of portrait and landscapes. Also had the chance to see lots of Goya, Velazquez and Picasso whilst in Madrid. In 1996 when I was being more experimental I discovered the work of the American Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell. Whilst in Leeds I came across David Hockney. Later on, his show at the National Portrait Gallery really impacted me. I still think a lot about his portraits. On my first visit to London in 1998 I still remember being overwhelmed with Bacon at the Hayward and Freud at the Tate Britain. I got to see Sensation at the Royal Academy too and that was an eye opener into contemporary art, there was nothing like that in Spain at all... and if there was, I didn't come across it."
What are the vitals tools in your studio?
Can you tell us about the works on your own walls?
My walls at home are filled with work from different stages of my career. I like to keep at least one representative work of each stage. However, now that I have joined Wimbledon Art Studios, a big community of artists, I would like to own works from many of my colleagues. Such a talented bunch!
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