Elen Alien is a promising emerging artists. She is committed, she has many ideas and she works hard. Even though she is in the early stage of her career, still refining her tune and experimenting with themes and techniques, she is ambitious and she knows that she wants to do something meaningful and inspiring.
You decided to make art your full-time career about a year ago. Can you tell me a bit about this choice, how did you decide it and why?
E.A.: It was the most difficult and wonderful decision in my life. Last year I occasionally moved from Moscow to Copenhagen. Initially, I tried to get a job in a design studio, but with the pandemic and the language barrier, it turned out to be impossible. Thus, for the first time in my life, I had enough time to look around and inside myself.
I have been dreaming of being an artist since I was 5 (when I persuaded my parents to send me to art school), but it was such a disapproved idea in my surrounding that I even forgot about my dream. In Russia, people don’t usually buy art, while the interior design is in high demand. In Scandinavia, I finally started painting again, but there was a strong fear of going into an unknown area. Negative attitudes from the subconscious did not allow me to take the final step, but few things happened later and helped me to make the decision.
Firstly, I went to see a friend in Vienna, who left the design area a couple of years ago to study art. It turned out that her boyfriend’s family is doing art. It was important for me to see them because I did not know any full-time artists earning money before. Then I found a wonderful artist on Instagram, who told me how she decided to quit yacht design for art, through which I realised that if I did not take this step, I would regret it forever. My mate quit working as an architect in BIG (one of the most famous architectural companies in the World) to devote more time to her creativity. Her courage finished me off. I also hope that my story will help someone to make the decision.
I have my path, and since I am a coward, life just kicked me towards my dream. 2020 has gone to make the decision and in 2021 I plan to conquer the art world!
At the moment you are exploring different techniques, for example Oshibana. Can you tell me something more about it? How did you decide to use flowers and leaves for your compositions?
E.A.: I work with acrylic, watercolour, and oil paintings, but oshibana is my main technique.
The first time I got the idea to create it was in 2013. I just graduated, I was celebrating my Birthday and upcoming move to Moscow. Many friends came to celebrate with bouquets. I wanted to keep that day in my memory and dried the petals – I didn’t know what I would do with them, just succumbed to a creative impulse. I didn’t make sketches – It was a kind of magic – my hands just created the first work “HEAD” themselves. I thought I invented a new technique, then googled it and found out that the technic exists and its name is oshibana. I was disappointed I am not an inventor but happy I didn’t made internet research before creating my art. Other oshibanas looked like applications, while mine looks like paintings.
I have never seen somebody create realistic oshibanas, but I aimed to depict skin naturally in the sensual “Flover” series and I succeeded in it. People tell me my works are alive, some ask me if it is a painting. That is why I don’t like to be inspired by other artists. I don’t want to waste material and time creating things that the world is full of without my contribution. I want to create something new.
I feel that with the growth of my popularity, the popularity of oshibana will grow, too. It is a tricky situation because I am a bit jealous about it. On the other side, it will be interesting to watch how differently artists could treat the same material, and it will be pleasant to be the one who moved oshibana to the next level.
Years of research are included in the works I create. The main feature of my style in oshibanas is a smooth gradient. My colour scheme: shadows are purple, the light is ivory, and the background is green. The technique I am working on now is not a regular oshibana anymore. I invented my technic – “resin-oshibana” (petal paintings covered with epoxy resin) and I have ideas of its development, but I’ll keep them in secret for now.
How do you choose and harvest/collect these natural materials?
E. A.: I never buy flowers myself, I don’t want to choose them especially for my works. I don’t choose the right colour of flower as If they were regular paints. Flowers should come to me themselves – these flowers have a special energy and bring inspiration with them.
The first flowers were gifted to me on my Birthday in 2013. Since then I dry all flowers gifted. I experiment to reach various effects – it is an interesting and a bit magical process.
This spring I made a performance gathering Sakura petals from the floor on the street with my own hands naked. Spoiler – these petals are material for my new project.
You are also experimenting with recycled canvases and frames. How does it work? Do you get the inspiration and then look for the perfect object to realise it, or is the other way around?
E.A. I am careful about the materials since childhood when you treat them gently with your favorite drawing tools. Being a student, I didn’t have enough money to buy a lot of costly materials and used to use paints and canvases thriftily. I never throw things away because everything could appear to be useful for my art.
I am a hunter – I like second hands and visit several on a regular basis to buy frames that I use as bases for my works.
I live observantly. I can also find something in the garbage bin… What? I am an artist – I can allow myself to be strange 🙂
Which are the main themes you explore with your works?
E.A. I am an egoist – I research myself. Trying to find a genuine me, I analyse different aspects of others (identity, beauty, behavior, traditions, fears, and their connection with nature) in different contexts. I aim to find and split the genuine person and the things, he or she got, being under the influence of external factors.
My art is my passion, my philosophy, and my religion, and it navigates others, too. Many people have told me that they started to think about their nature, observing my artworks. It means the world to me to inspire them.
What do you want to achieve as an artist? What is your motivation?
The first thing, which motivates me, is a pleasure. I do art because I cannot hold it anymore. To get creative ideas, not giving them a life, is like to be sexually excited, but not to reach the détente, whereas to finish an artwork is like to reach an orgasm or give birth.
People’s reactions motivate me. I am happy to see other people enjoying the process and results I share. I aim to change people’s lives with my art.
I am ambitious – I want to invent something new, to achieve fame and recognition. Money motivates me, too. It is not in the “lagom” concept, but who cares if it is genuine – I don’t want to hide it.