I love scouting for new artists whose work comes from an authentic and honest place. When I first stumbled upon Elena Cabitza’s work, I was surprised by how long it stayed with me. Elena Cabitza is a graphic artist from Sardinia (Italy) whose work is a bold interpretation of the intense and sensitive experiences of teenagers to the world around them. Although it seems like million decades away, I can never forget how stressful it was navigating through murky waters of teenage awkwardness.
Since the young age, Elana developed an interest in art and music, and her education includes a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design achieved at the Fine Arts Academy in Sassari, and a Master Degree in Communication Design from Politecnico di Milano.
In Milan, she was in touch with different artists and designers who helped her learn new styles and techniques and develop new approaches to art and illustration.
In Fall 2016 she moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland (Canada), where she currently lives with her husband.
In her work, the punk rock world merges with the pop surrealism’s forms and shapes, with the use of various techniques and materials. So, without further introduction, here is my interview with Elana!
What is the creative process behind your art?
I have a very straightforward relationship with my work: I think about something, and I paint it. Most of the times I don’t even make a preparatory sketch, I want to get down and paint! Sometimes I like to do a composite study mixing various reference images, but I don’t find the preparation process very appealing. However, I love to find interesting inspirations, such as photographies, posters, and curious facts or stories: it’s something that I try to incorporate in my aesthetics in a general way, making the characters more interesting, and in some way close to each other.
How do you dismiss all the conflicting thoughts in your head and focus on the unique process of creation?
I am a graphic designer, so most of my time is filled between my current job and freelance work, and I also love having personal time to watch movies, read, doing crafts at home (not mentioning the fact that I am very lazy). So when I decide to paint, I can be extremely focused, because I love it and it’s the time to do that, it’s like a ritual.
What do you feel when you stare at a blank page before your art takes shape on the whiteness of the sheet?
You know, I hate that part, that’s why I try to avoid it! Unless I have something, even just a small hint of what I will draw, I just do something else. I watch some TV series, take a nap, clean my space, etc. And when a little thought comes to my mind, I sit down, choose the size of the panel, and then I envision the proportions and the general feeling. Since I draw and paint mostly single characters, it’s easy to focus on just one story and develop that. Sometimes I just want to paint, without anything in mind, and I drop some brush strokes on the surface until something nice takes shape. Which most of the times does not, but that’s another topic.
Which is the concurrent theme in your work?
I would say that it’s teenage awkwardness. I like to enhance the emotional traits of teenagers, which are always extremely intense both towards the good and the bad feelings. I remember my teenage years as very fragile and explosive at the same time, I used to experience everything on a deep emotional level, and for every personal behavior that was not so common, I felt very out of place. I loved the good and the bad feelings of being a teenager, and now I like to celebrate them. In my work, you can also see the huge influence of dark stories, paranormal and punk rock, that I started to explore as a kid, and still adore them.
If someone issues a search warrant through your tools and sketchbooks, what are they likely to stumble into?
Cheap tools, unfinished sketchbooks, lists, abandoned paintings, not so many actual sketches. Also shells, rocks, and crystals, tarot cards, tiny gadgets and toys, souvenirs. I have to say it’s a lot different between my current working space and my old one at my parent’s house; I would probably surprise myself searching for my stuff! I was definitely more of a hoarder, I used to keep everything, from receipts to clothes’ tags, so there would probably be an insane amount of pieces of blank paper of any kind and color, concert tickets, business cards, and if we’re lucky, some old drawings.
What are your can’t-live-without stationery essentials?
Ugh, that’s a hard one! As stationery and working tools I would say my lovely mermaid-y/holographic pencil-case, my favorite dollar store sketchbook and my laptop. For painting, I do have some favorite brushes (soft, round and small!), but I like to alternate a lot between media so I could not choose between acrylics or oil, or any other. But I do have some travel-friendly items that I often carry with me, which are ink pens, pencils, and a small watercolor box. However I don’t get too attached to things since in the last years I had to move quite a few times I learned to let go a lot of items and tools that I loved, and now I just work with them as long as it’s possible.
You can explore Elana’s work here:
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/elenacabitza