Five questions to Ēlena Ēto

Five questions to Ēlena Ēto

Ēlena Ēto lives and works in Germany. She thinks of her paintings as moments frozen in time and an abstract representation of nature and the elements. While she portrays an abstract form of nature, she tries to work as sustainable as possible. In lengthy processes, she makes some colors and stains herself, uses vintage wood for building her frames and reuses old canvases. She invites the viewer to enter a space of speculation, imagination and the particular calm that emanates from her works. Her work can be found in private and public collections and was recently exhibited in Germany, Switzerland and North America.

How did you get into art?

Although I was impressed by art from an early age, my love for it has always been quite selective. I never liked the colorful chaos, I wanted to be calm, to feel a quiet hum and pulsation and just sit in front of a painting for hours because I was really drawn into it. Having found this in art made it impossible for me not to paint and it was a very natural process for me. I just wanted to create pieces in which I could put all my emotions and express a great calmness through an almost immeasurable depth. Since abstract art is not a reproduction of reality but rather a feeling that gains intensity with every brushstroke and with each new layer, I have greatly stretched the process of painting over the years. Sometimes it takes months and needs countless layers of different materials until a piece is completed in my eyes. This exerts on me an almost meditative fascination and gives me the opportunity to connect with myself. If this connection then also reaches the viewer, a powerful and uniquely calming circle closes.



How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

In addition to the fact that I make some colors and materials myself and always work with layering of different (natural) materials, it is the thematics that best describe my art. My work deals with two main topics. One is nature and, specifically, nature conservation. I find it immensely important to respect and preserve the beauty of our world, so I work as close to nature as possible. I use homemade paints, reuse canvases and make sure that the wood for my frames is vintage or at least domestic and certified. Also, I create almost no waste to dispose of and love to share ways of working more sustainably with other artists. The other topic is mental health among artistic people. Unfortunately, mental illnesses are more common among artists than the general population and those issues are little or not addressed at all. Because the mad genius is seen as normal and often even as "necessary" to create art, those issues are not taken seriously. I would like to encourage artists to speak more openly about this topic and raise public awareness.

How do you go about developing your work?

I usually have a feeling in my head and slowly start to remove all unnecessary, embellishing things from it. Then I started sketching with pencils. When my sketches are ready, I do color samples and I document the reactions of the various materials to each other. When I am satisfied with this, I start with the first layer. For me, the process is what's most important. Abstract art does not have to be random. In my work there is always a concept to which the process stays very closely.

Who or what influences you?

I am very strongly influenced by nature and try to stay as close as possible to natural tones and textures. I am also inspired by Japanese art and philosophy and especially the understanding of art and work ethic and how the two things come together. When the process becomes more interesting than the result or the time spent on it, a simple frame and canvas become art.

Make us curious. What is planned next?

Soon I will move to a bigger studio, and I am really looking forward to it. Also, wonderful exhibitions are planned for this year and already for the next. Further, I will continue to advocate that there are quite many environmentally friendly ways of painting - also on a grand scale - and am happy about anyone who has questions about it or who would like to join me in this.