Featured Artist of the Month – Elena Turner

Written by Forge

On June 15, 2023

Welcome to this insightful interview with Elena Turner, a talented artist whose work delves into the depths of human emotions and challenges societal perceptions. Through her introspective art, Elena explores the paradox of perfection and rebellion, inviting viewers to reflect on their own vulnerabilities. Her art aims to spark conversations, raise awareness about mental well-being, and break the stigma associated with it. Join us as we delve into Elena’s artistic journey and gain a deeper understanding of her captivating work.

How would you describe your current practice (eg materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?

My art reflects emotional responses, examines people’s conflicts with internal and external perceptions, and is a paradox of perfection and rebellion. It is introspective art that looks at you, looking at me, looking at you, unmasking internal human vulnerabilities in a positive and vibrant way. It portrays my intrigue in assessing emotional responses. 

How do we feel? 

Why do we feel the way we do?  

How do we create a response? 

How do we analyse a response? 

How do we respond to a response?  

I want my art to start conversations, raise awareness of mental well-being, and reduce the stigma associated with it. 

What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops, etc)?

Currently I am working towards Digswells’ Open Studios on 1st and 2nd July and am excited to exhibit amongst other talented artists. 

What are you plans for the coming year?

Continue to explore the relationship between emotions and colour, developing my practice through other mediums and exploring NFTs. Establish partnerships with Mental health charities, particularly youth charities, but eventually, I hope to create a mental well-being colour chart in association with Pantone.

What is the question that you most get asked about your work?

Why choose ominous subjects? It evokes an emotional response – whether you like it or not. It sparks conversation – talking is a powerful way to reduce the stigma associated with Mental health, something that affects us all and makes people think about their own perceptions and the perceptions of others.

Who are what inspires you?

My father wanted to go to art college, but it was never an option for him and he made it an option for me. I remember sitting on the stairs of my grandparent’s house staring at the paintings my father produced as a child. He allowed me to paint on the walls in my house before they were going to be decorated – it gave me a sense of rebellion and freedom. Also from a young age, I was inspired by visual arts whether it was on stage, in a gallery or a physical object. The sense of emotion and excitement it gave me still resonates today, so much so that I sometimes feel I get too much inspiration and am flooded by too many ideas that I have to step away from my practice to allow it to filter through me.

Which artists do you most admire and why?

I admire all artists and can get some element of inspiration from all, even if I have a negative response to their work. However, the following artists have had a big impact on my work:
Frida Kahlo’s vibrant use of colour is a huge inspiration. Having lived in Mexico City as a child (only recently I found out that I lived around the corner from Frida and Diego’s Casa Azul!), my practice has a strong influence from Mexican art and it’s subjects – the way pain and passion is reflected in a vibrant way.

At 17, I was stuck with such an intense emotional response to Rothko’s room in the Tate gallery. So much so it became my go-to place when feeling overwhelmed – his desire to evoke emotion from the viewer is also one of my intentions.

Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl art movement is another childhood inspiration. The scale and simplicity of this art movement captured me; it eliminates the noise around us and sees things on a different plane. At a young age, I interpreted the use of black lines to convey life and death – an area I am keen to develop with a grid system.

Finally, Damian Hirst is an instantly recognisable artist who doesn’t have a distinct style of his own. There is very little correlation between his collections. Instead, he draws from inspiration around him which is ever-changing. I want to be free of conforming to a style and develop myself in different tangents, whether it’s through painting, digital or installations.

How has your relationship with Digswell Arts strengthened your practice as an artist?

It has given me the confidence to launch myself as a professional artist, and another platform to flood my senses with inspiration from other artists.

We invite you to follow Elena Turner’s artistic journey and engage with her thought-provoking creations. Stay connected by visiting her website and following her on Instagram. Embrace the power of art in exploring emotions and challenging societal norms.

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