‘I wish them to see at least one positive thing from their surroundings, because we are such big masters of complaining, we are so good at not valuing things we have’.Elina V. G.
Elina V.G. is a watercolor artist who explores the beauty of daily life. She seeks to change people’s perception of their surroundings by painting everyday life treasures, because it looks as if we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy them for what they are. Maybe because of that Elina adheres realism in her practice.
The subject of Elina’s art practice changes from time to time, but it always includes the calmness of a still moment whether it is a seascape or urban environment.
The artist has recently been obsessed by the idea of the hated by so many Eastern Europeans socialistic prefab concrete panel blocks. Same buildings, neighbourhoods, towns – places where people know and greet each other; children play outside till late night; places to hide, places to explore, thousands of windows to sneak in, great views and sunsets to be seen from high above… At some point, this obsession will evolve into something else, but the willingness to express and paint the positive will stay.
Hi, dear Elina! First of all, could you introduce yourself? Why and when did you start to create?
I’ve always been creative in one or another way though never through painting. I went to an art high school where graphics was my medium and have always thought that if I do any art ever again it will be related to it. So when I found a set of old watercolors more than 10 years later in 2015 and started painting I didn’t expect it to become my thing at all. I had never painted before but I enjoyed it so much and just got addicted to it in a way. I started from scratch with lots to learn, but since then I have felt it natural to express myself via watercolours and I get restless if I haven’t painted for more than a week or so.
How would you describe the message behind your work?
I’m a very visual person and always find something to reflect on in our everyday life surroundings. My attention can easily be caught by an ugly building, abandoned place or anything else that in many others’ eyes couldn’t bring any thoughts. However, for me these things are full of stories and beauty worth noticing. I don’t mind if a building is old, covered by graffiti tags or half ruined. Probably this is one of the reasons I don’t mind showing the scratches and marks on the facade and would rather make them as realistic as possible than hiding or totally removing them from the motive. I think about the story behind the places I visit, I try to understand what made people go there, what made them stay there or why they left. But it’s somehow more related to the surroundings than the people themselves.
I’ve always been glad to be close to the sea, even though me and the sea are good friends only from a distance. So a couple of years ago I started painting seascapes. That was challenging at times but also very satisfying. But then the pandemic came and something changed. My focus switched.
Recently I’ve been obsessed with buildings from my childhood. I grew up in Bulgaria where one can often meet huge chunks of socialist prefab concrete panel blocks. The same blocks are usually looked at with lots of prejudice, but people forget that these buildings give home to many families, friends are made there, neighbours live closely, meet and greet each other everyday. Since I moved to Denmark 17 years ago I’ve started to like these concrete giants even more. I’ve realised they create a special environment different from the ordinary residential area where I live now. Having so many people concentrated in such a small area demands a different way of communicating with each other. When people live so close they start noticing each other more, they greet each other, they rely on each other.
It should be noted that buildings you choose for your art are common for Nothern countries, even for countries from post-soviet space. So, why them?
I’d like to believe that by painting these buildings I can reach those who dislike them, those who connect the buildings with something negative or those who don’t even notice them. I’d like people to become aware of them.
To perceive them.
Whether these are socialist panel blocks, dilapidated or abandoned boats or whatever my next subject of inspiration will be, I’d like people to stop for a moment, look around and see. I wish them to see at least one positive thing from their surroundings, because we are such big masters of complaining, we are so good at not valuing things we have. They might be gone soon. So isn’t it better to enjoy them while we still have it?
How you would describe your art in a word?
I suppose the most obvious word to use when describing my art would be ‘realistic’, but I’d rather think it’s more than just realistic. I’d like my art to give one a feeling of infinity and serenity.
You are an emerging artist, could you share with us your current projects, or future ones, or plans for artistic path in general?
It’s difficult to say what my next project will be as I’m not quite finished exploring my current fascination. I’d like to challenge myself again by painting larger pieces. Painting realistic watercolors can be time consuming and demands a good portion of patience which is not always present within me. I’d like to get better at that and I think a larger format can help me.