Cinema, old photographs, music, literature, Elenia’s influences are multiple.
Italian illustrator, based in Berlin. She has been working as a freelance since 2012, and in parallel she continues to learn and enrich her techniques. She also collaborates with children’s publishers by illustrating children’s books. Virtual meeting in confinement with the talented Elenia.
Hello Elenia, how are you these days? Which of your works could illustrate your current state of mind?
Hello, I’m very well thank you. These days I am drawing the storyboard of two books that I would like to show to some publishers.
One of them is a story about ZagaZaga, an independent and old-fashioned mouse.
I noticed that your illustrations are often very orderly compositions, each element is different from the other, can you tell us a bit more about your creative process?
My creative process always starts with an iconographic research from old photos, literature, art, sculptures and real life.
I like to have visual references and most of the time it is old and vintage photos.
Then I sketch ideas from the fusion of my inspiration and the composition of these images.
You created the concept “Drawing Nights Berlin” in 2017, and you practice “Live Drawing”.
What made you want to bring people together around artistic creation?
I started this project with my friend Julia, we needed to combine professionals and non-professionals and have fun drawing together.
I strongly believe that everyone can draw and enjoy a creative moment without having any special skills. That’s why we always create special and fun exercises that give everyone the opportunity to try and experiment.
We open the door to the world of creativity in order to show the process and involve people to enjoy the visual narrative.
You currently live in Berlin but love to travel. What was the last destination that thrilled you? I guess your travels allow you to feed your creativity.
For a long time, I always travelled to cities, but last year I finally decided to go to a Greek island and fell in love with it. I went alone, trying to relax and enjoy the sun. I took a break from all the visual pollution we have every day in our lives. It gave my mind a fresh start. I hope I can get to this place as soon as possible. I need to feed my soul.
It’s funny, you collaborated with Matte projects agency based in New York, for the Full Moon Festival visuals and I worked there myself during an internship two years ago…
Being a music lover, I imagine it was with great enthusiasm that you agreed to work on this project.
Yeah, it was a great collaboration. Very special to me. I really enjoyed working with them. The artists involved in the music festival were incredible and I had the chance to paint them. The band Metronomy is amazing, I think I was crying with joy while I was drawing.
You also illustrated several children’s books, what did you like in this universe?
I like illustrating picture books and thinking about new stories, it allows me to meet my inner self which is a little crazy child jumping from one tree to another. I can talk about my childhood through stories about positive and negative experiences.
Where does your love for painting come from?
I started when I was a child. My mother used to paint with oil paint.
She gave me a brush and I was able to develop this interest. I used drawing to express my feelings and remember the events of my life. If one day I learned to ride a bike, then I would draw this situation the next day in kindergarten, to relive the joy.
I can see tattoos on your arms. Are they from personal illustrations?
I really like tattoos, but I didn’t draw them. I always have the idea of the content, but I give total freedom to the tattoo artist, some of them are my friends, very talented.
You’ve been working with Olow for a few seasons now and you’ve created a number of illustrations. Is there one that you particularly like?
I think what I like about Olow is the beautiful and respectful relationship between the brand and myself. I have a lot of respect for their work and the way they’ve grown over time.
Working with them is fun and cool. I hope we will continue to create beautiful illustrations together.
Since you’re in Berlin, do you have one or two secret addresses to give us?
These are my favourite places:
Tempelhofer Feld’s entrance from Oderstraße.
Alaska Bar, Reuterstraße, vegan bar and restaurant (suggestion: vegan salmon)
Maybachufer, walk on the canal and drink beers in the sun.
Your last exhibition is based in Milan, do you have more exhibitions planned in the future so that people can admire your work?
Three friends are opening a gallery in Milan, and I think we’re going to do something amazing together.
I would love to have the chance to exhibit in Paris, London and Tokyo, but it’s just a dream… so nothing planned for now!
The Instagram of Elenia it’s here!
Interview by Garance Delabriere