Monday, February 10, 2014

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Artist Eleni Hannula

Hey there!  I have been looking forward to these next couple posts for a few months now. I first became friends with Eleni and her family years ago when Red was stationed outside of Seattle. I remember being first struck by Eleni's sheer raw talent, and then by her nonchalance about it all, as if it were no big deal. That's a rare combination in a person I think. Over the years, I have been a huge admirer of her work (even enlisting her help for a painting), and was more than thrilled when she suggested doing a collaboration together. Stay tuned for tomorrow when I will showcase some of her work in my home. You can find all of Eleni's art work here. Thanks Eleni!     

1.  When did your love for art begin and when did you first know that you were interested in pursuing art/design as a career?
I was a creative kid growing up. I was always drawing, painting and making my own toys.
But it wasn’t till I was about 12 years old that I really became serious about art. I was fascinated with faces and would spend countless hours drawing portraits and studying drawing books from the library. In high school I attended a fine art school that taught the classical approach to observational realism and it was there that I knew for sure that I wanted to continue to study art. I then intended to study studio art in college but ended up pursuing Visual Communication Design at Seattle Pacific University.

2.     Where do you go for inspiration?
I am most inspired by nature and there is nothing I like more than a trip to the coast to see the ocean.  But my inspiration often comes from interactions with people and many times from dreams.

3. Tell us about this series and what your inspiration was for it.
This watercolor series began with the image of the deer, which I call High Places. I created this illustration in response to a dream that I had about two years ago and have since then build this family of illustrations that all revolve around the same theme of finding balance within imbalance and peace within disruption.

4.     What is your dream job?  What do you hope to do in the future?
I recently graduated with a degree in graphic design so I have been pursuing a career in that field but I am looking for ways to incorporate traditional illustration as well. No matter what I end up doing I have to be painting so my dream job would be to have my own studio where I am producing work in both illustration and design.

5.    Do you ever get stuck/writers block for artists (ha, is there a term for this?)?  If so, what do you do?
Definitetly! I think every artist does, or at least I like to think that they do. There are times when I feel completely uninspired to create. What I have learned is that you can’t always wait for the inspiration to come. I think it is important to have a space to create and if you are just consistent to show up to that space to make yourself available to create, the inspiration will come. Not to say that the work is always good but at least you are making something!

6.     What is your preferred medium? 
My favorite medium to work in right now is watercolor. But I am happiest when I can find ways to bring together both my experience in design and illustration.  I am constantly trying to find ways to bring integration into my work.

7.     Who are some of your favorite artists?  Who do you look up to?
The artists that I am most consistently going back to for inspiration are:
Makoto Fujimura
Amy Cutler
Ernesto Caivano
Gala Bent
Kareena Zerefos