in VISUAL ARTISTS
"I want what I see but what I see does not exist."
During the past several years, I’ve been admiring the work of a talented artist, Elena Vizeskaya. The multitude of Elena’s talent is quite impressive - while mastering her digital artistry, this artist also practices graphics drawing, photography, videography, music, and modeling. Perhaps one may say it is indeed a one-woman show. Digitally combining layer after layer, Elena creates an amusing artwork full of illusory reality where she often becomes her own muse. The artist’s luxuriant imagination brings to life dreams where whales swim in the sky, where Enokitake mushrooms become an enchanting forest, where unicorn and peacock unite in the bloody air full of creatures. Unlimited virtuosity and passionate love for creative energy enable Elena to show the world full of phantasmagoric beauty.
Q & A
What are your roots? Where are you from?
I was born and grew up in Kiev, Ukraine. I don't know much about my roots, I only know that on my mother’s side my predecessors were extreme long-livers - rural intellectuals, and on the father's side (where all my talents come from) - aristocratic princely roots. My surname - Vizerskaya comes from my father’s side, but during Soviet repressions, my great-grandfather had to change it.
Your artistic statement:
Always be yourself and don't try to please anybody.
Could you talk a bit about the process of launching your photography and graphic design career?
I create digital collages for more than 10 years already. Before that I had boring jobs in little companies as a designer, layout designer and, though, that lasted for only 3 years, it was not the best time for my creative nature. I managed to open up to my own creativity only after the daily commute to work and back was over.
How did you meet your creative energy?
I was observing her for a long time. Trying to understand when she would arrive and how to communicate with her, or if there was a possibility to imitate her presence or just simply wait for her. Creative energy and sexual one is the same type of energy, therefore, it sublimates from one state to another; it is possible to completely lose this energy yet you can simply accumulate it all and create something wonderful. Sometimes I play this game – I close my eyes and catch first images that appear in my imagination – without thinking twice I grab the one that is closer to me at that moment and evokes my spirit. It can be anything – simply a subject, mood, movement, or lighting. I grab it and without applying any logic to it, I add mood and reason, I try on details for this image, just as you would select an outfit for a doll, and when parts of it come together I experience something close to a sexual excitement, something that you can't let go when you create. It is very important to feel the creative energy wave while it carries you.
Where do you find your inspiration? How often your creative energy or let's say inspiration visits you? Does the Moon ever affect your artistic energy or you do not believe in such things?
I can tell that practically all the time I’m going through creative anguish. The anguish that comes from an infinite stream of ideas and wishes that tear me apart, because I can’t materialize them all. Many of them perish in my head never reaching the point of execution. Breaks in this stream of creativity happen extremely rarely, I can't afford them to happen, but if they take place, then, usually after a very busy and very saturated and successful creative period when I simply exhaust myself completely. The moon is my girlfriend. When she’s full I have a powerful influx of energy. I believe in such things and I feel too much - more than I can digest.
What is your creative process?
In 95% I see something in my photoshoots when I look through them and I simply start developing a theme, to play with it, select elements, play with different meanings and subtexts. I do that just for my own pleasure and for this game, this is why I don’t really like to create something according to a specifically created scheme. And I have a problem with interaction with other people. I prefer to do everything myself. Absolutely everything. If there is a need in music for a video clip, first of all, I’ll try to write it myself. And only if it doesn't work, only then, I will ask a friend-musician for help.
What do you most enjoy depicting in your artwork?
The most flexible and polysemantic things for me, by means of which I can express so much in my works, are water (liquids), smoke, birds, jellyfishes, tropical plants and white whales.
I’ve read in some of your interviews that you collect images from different sources. How do you put everything together?
Yes, I try to use only my own images – the ones I make. There are things, images that I can't photograph in person, but they are extremely necessary to me, then, I buy them on a stock site, but I try to resort to it very rarely.
The series “Underwater” with you and the underwater creatures are mesmerizing. How long did it take you to create this masterpiece, where did you find all these photos of fish?
The more layers and details – the more time that work takes. I have a very big library of fishes and all kinds of underwater beings, as well as animals. I photograph interesting to me creatures and elements for 10 years already and these are terabytes of folders and photos.
Do you have a favorite series that you’ve created?
Yes. My favorite series is about giant fruits and vegetables. Although, there are also ice cream and mushrooms there, the fruits are the real stars). Periodically, I come back to this series and do something new.
When you capture your models, do you create ideal heroines or you depict them for who they are?
I don't know by what principle I choose my models, but, mostly, I display what I see in them rather, than putting them into invented by me the roles.
Your images are full of nudity and often you reveal yourself. By exposing yourself, do you feel like you are giving away something or that you are gaining something?
For me personally, sex and creativity are inseparable things. I always led a double life. In my real life - I'm extremely reserved and try not to draw any attention to myself. I don’t wear attention-grabbing outfits and don’t use makeup at all. But in my creative life – I’m allowing myself to express everything I feel. Regrettably, my feelings and sensibilities go way beyond the objective reality, so the only place for them is an imagined world.
Have you ever practiced lucid dreams? I think I’ve read something about that in your journal. Would you say it helped you to unleash your imagination even more?
Yes, about five years ago this subject excited me very much and I devoted a lot of time to it in theory and practice. And I can tell – yes, it worked for me. A few times I consciously left my body and I can tell that this experience is one of the brightest for me. Unfortunately, now, for several years already, I can't manage to make it happen again.
What would you advice to an emerging digital artist? Is it worth to attend a school or is it possible to be a self-taught digital artist?
Everybody is different. To my mind, the most important is talent and an infinite desire to express something and, of course, patience. Personally, I learned Photoshop under huge stress when I came to my first work after graduating from college when I was 20. I didn't even know how to turn on a computer, I don't even mention Photoshop. In my college, my group was taken to see the only computer our college had and they even showed to us an interface of Photoshop’s 5th version. And that was it – just a glance. So, I had to study it from scratch, and I had only one week for that.
Can you share some of your professional secrets?
The most important thing to understand creating a sophisticated collage it that the light source for all objects has to coincide, along with the appropriate angle and the quality of all photographed elements. And everything else depends upon talent and ingenuity.
Do you accept commission work?
For more than 5 years I don't take any commercial orders and awfully happy about it. Creating art to order is extremely painful for, me and I did everything to avoid that.
I love fashion style in your artwork, do you style everything yourself or collaborate with other creatives?
I like to create images myself. And most of the time I construct them from what I have access to. And I buy different articles of clothing and accessories in different countries when I travel with shooting in mind.
Do you have a background in fashion? Did you attend an art school?
For 4 years I attended a children art school and, then, an art institute, majoring in Design of the Environment and Small Architectural Forms. I can tell that the children art school gave me a lot, and the college - nothing. I never had any connection to fashion.
Do you like to stay up late to create? Are you an early bird at all?
I always went to bed late and the most active time to create for me used to be around 11-12 in the night, but now I consciously moved to an earlier schedule, as then I can do more.
Do you have a certain routine in your life?
No! I’m horrified of any schedules and repetitive actions. I even try to go to the same place by taking different routes.
What moves you?
A desire to create; as long as I remember myself most of all I wanted to create something where I could find a place for myself.
Do you think the use of Instagram and other Social Media outlets has benefited your art practice?
For sure it did. At least it gives an opportunity to an artist to show her/his creations. And it’s important.
Are you actively involved in a community of artists?
No. I’m on my own, that’s what I’m accustomed to.
Name your top influences (artists or otherwise):
Alphonse Mucha, Leonardo da Vinci, Cocteau Twins, Henri Rousseau.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don't see myself in the future. It’s not interesting. I don't know where I’ll be taken by my pursuit of New.
Your favorite color, why?
From 2006 to 2008 I saw and wanted only Red. Then, up to 2011, I adored Green. Now, having passed through a palette of pastel shades, for some time I faithfully love Blue. Simply said, now, it’s heavenly for me.
Your favorite place on Earth:
The sky. I love to fly and watch floating clouds for hours.
Your dream place:
It’s not on this planet and not in this reality. But here, sometimes, it’s not too bad either.
Does environmental concern enter your work practice?
I’ll only tell that in my ideal world people and nature exist in an ideal symbiosis.
What can make Earth a better place in terms of environment, energy, and peace?
Switching off ignorance, for example.
If you had an opportunity what would you change about the world? How your vision and creations can enhance our surrounding?
I don't know how my art influences people, but I know for sure that it shouldn't be polluted by platitude, banality, and primitiveness of emotions. I would like to be honest and it wouldn't be bad if others were honest too - with me, with others surrounding them and with themselves. I don't know whether I want to do something specific for this world, but at least I know I don't want to harm anybody.
Stay tuned to Elena Vizerskaya's work: