Sometimes you come across an artists work and completely and utterly fall in love.
That’s how we felt when we came across Elissa’s work. This Canadian artist gave us all of the “heart-eye-emoji” feels, and we had to connect with her so that we could share her work and a little bit about her and her creative process with you!
Hi Elissa, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background:
I’m an independent artist based in Hamilton, Ontario and the focus of my personal work is to reflect and embody the modern but timeless woman in a way that conveys strength, empowerment and confidence. I have a degree in Illustration but have also worked professionally in fashion and am passionate about design in all forms. If I weren’t an artist I would be an interior or furniture designer and perhaps one day I will expand my practice to include both of those things. My obsession is combining contemporary aesthetics with vintage from the mid 20th century, particularly 70s modernist pieces.
Describe your style as an artist. What medium do you use?
My work echos line based modern art of the mid 20th century but at the same time feels very current. It is minimal femininity. I believe that simple, beautiful line art is absolutely timeless and it makes sense that this honest, pure form of expression is what has always come naturally to me. Though it feels effortless and spontaneous, I work out compositions and sketches ahead of time and spend hours drawing. My sketchbook is the foundation of my practice. Completed works are produced in archival ink on smooth matte velvet paper.
Where do you ﬁnd inspiration?
I find inspiration in the relationships I have with myself, the people in my life that I value and the type of connections that I long for with the aforementioned. There is also something deeply personal and “of within” about what I draw, as though it is what I simply have to put out into the world. I’m deeply effected by being out in nature and when I remove the figurative element from my work can see and feel an organic, natural quality to the line.
What’s a typical workday look like for you? Tell us about your process.
I’m very streamlined and efficient about my day and heavily prioritize so that I can handle the work flow. I am an independent artist and handle all areas myself which has its pros and cons. I’ve recently cut down to one coffee a day but drink dandelion coffee, Kampucha and turmeric lattes in between. These little break rituals helps me refocus. In my process of drawing I do what feels right - sometimes that’s lighting candles and listening to music, at others it’s working in silence and very spontaneous.
What does your workspace look like? Do you work from home or in a studio?
My actual workspace is very very simple - a white room with shelves, a large closet, a big window. This is reserved for completing my large drawings and storing supplies. Where I spend my time getting inspired and sketching is my “drawing room” / living space which I think captures a lot of what I love. Natural materials, muted tones, simplicity and comfort. I have a beautiful antique rug in pale blush and taupe tones with a pair of Percival Lafer Brazilian modernist chairs and a Charles Hollis Jones glass and acrylic coffee table, then a set of Cesca chairs in the dining room. The space is always a work in progress and evolves as I discover pieces that I love. Plus it smells divine - always new candles and room sprays as I'm very into sensorial environments.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Musicians? People that inspire you?
I really try to focus inward for inspiration - though I am a formally trained artist I don’t like to spend a lot of time looking to other artists for influence or to inform my work. I think in order to produce something that feels like my unique formula for expression this is important. I’m drawn to creatives and see to connect with others in one way or another over shared experience or taste.
Where can we see and/ or purchase your art?
My artwork can be purchased direct through elissabarber.com where you can also sign up for my mailing list which to get notified of pre - sale and new releases. Tt's a great way to see new work first. I also accept commissions on a limited basis - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
What are the next steps in your career?
To keep creating and sharing my work with a broadening audience. Painting and analog printmaking were a big part of my life and I intend to create more diverse series of works in addition to drawings. This fall I will also be exploring the medium of ceramics and how it translates to my work and aesthetic.
Thank you so much for joining us for that conversation Elissa! We love your work and so love that we got to chat with you! What an inspiring conversation!