Elena Petryk paints in the style of esoteric practicalism. Her love of art appeared in early in her childhood and already at the age of 10, she entered art school, and later graduated with honours from the Ukrainian Academy of Arts in Kiev. For a long time she worked as an architect, she has helped create various buildings and at the moment she is a licensed architect.
The cornerstone in Elena's work was the rethinking of art as a whole. She travelled a lot, met many personalities and saw with her own eyes the many wonders of architecture.
In 2015, she created ASPAR-ART, and to this day she is the director, inspirer and artist of this company. Aspar-art creates amazing panels and furniture using mosaics and also creates mosaic wall decor.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
I have been drawing since childhood and have always dreamed of being an artist. At the age of 9, I started attending a children's art school. Later I graduated from the Academy of Arts and Architecture. After graduation, changes took place in my life, a child was born and for some time it was necessary to earn a living. I worked as an architect and there was practically no time left for creativity. Now that the child has grown up and I have achieved financial stability, I want to reveal the second part of my education as an artist.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My style tends to be closer to the classical Russian school, since I studied the classical school at the Academy. But since I am a multifaceted and deep nature and love bright colors, my style is esoteric, classical painting. I try to look at familiar things and events from a different angle, to see their soul. To express my vision of the characters in the light of their divine primordial nature. I want to show the world the true beauty of the human body and soul. My characters - carry that beauty that we usually are not reality, dazzling, bright and magnificent.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
I am invariably inspired by the movement of the human body, the perfection of lines and the natural beauty of nature - flowers, grass and everything that surrounds us. I really like to represent ancient myths and legends and splash my vision onto the canvas, where intertwine the fairy tale and reality.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
More than anything in my life I want to create something monumental and grandiose. When I visit cathedrals and see paintings on the ceiling and walls, I am very envious of the artists of that time who had such a wonderful opportunity. It is very difficult to fit into a small format what I think and represent. These are just fragments, fragments of my thoughts, but I want to tell the full story.
The driving factor is the desire for realization. It is a natural state that brings peace and balance in life. For me, painting is my break from the routine.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
I have had many great teachers who taught perspective, classical drawing, and classical painting. But the main thing that they instilled in me is to observe nature and the surrounding world and learn from everything that you see. It is very important to be able to convey the moment.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
In materials I prefer primed canvas, oil paints and small round synthetic brushes, they give subtle little strokes. If I am not painting a portrait, then the canvas should be large enough at least 60cm x70cm. I like large formats, but they are difficult to transport, so I limit myself to a format that is more or less convenient to transport.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
Most of all I am attracted by human emotions and the movement of the human body. For me, man is the crown of creation. I am fascinated by the correct, perfect human proportions. I really like the Renaissance and its relationship to the world around it. I want to capture and show a moment of movement, a fleeting smile, or overflowing bliss.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
Usually, at first the concept of a future painting appears. Sometimes she comes in a dream, sometimes when I do something unrelated to art, for example, at a party or when I travel. Then all it is pondered and drawn in the head. A suitable nature is selected, sketches are made. Then, when 80% has already been thought out, the color scheme has been selected, I begin to draw, in parallel thinking over the last details. I draw Nature and immediately blend it into the environment so that it doesn't look torn off. In the end, I paint the background and details on it.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is it more a case of when the moment is right you work?
There is no special schedule, but I try to work until I get tired. Usually, I have a plan for a day or two days - to write some part of the work. Later, the oil dries up and all have to start over. I also paint pictures, when I'm stressed, painting relaxes me and I forget about everything in the world, except how best to draw one or another part of the picture.
How can you see your work evolving in the future?
In my art I try to improve myself so that each painting is more perfect than the previous one. It doesn't always work out, but I try. Every day I become more and more experienced in life and in my work too, I learn to more consciously observe the world, my feelings and my place in it.
Which of your artworks are you most proud?
I am most proud of the paintings of the last 5 years realized. And I think that 10 years will pass, and I will be proud of the last 5 years again. Besides, my best pictures have not been written yet. I am on the way, on the road of development and perfection.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I admire many contemporary artists. I like classical painting, surrealism. There are so many artists around the world who paint well, and I am captivated by their endurance and hard work. I know it takes a lot of dedication and many hours of work to paint really well, in, just like any other art form.
Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?
I love travelling around Europe, visiting museums of painting and sculpture. You can be in the Louvre a thousand times, and each time discover something new for yourself. If I didn’t paint, I would become a sculptor, I also really like this kind of art.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
I like our time, but if I could travel in time, I would like to visit the Renaissance, learn painting at one of the schools of great masters.
What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?
In my opinion, artist 21 should convey his vision of reality to the public, preserve his individuality. It's no secret that if you want to sell your work well, you need to study consumer demand and draw something that is easily sold. In my opinion, this is a craft, not an art. Many great artists were not understood by their time, but they did not lose their individuality, their personal manner of painting.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
As a matter of fact, this is my advice to young artists - to be themselves in any situation..
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
I don't have unfinished paintings like da Vinci's. I try not to start a new painting until I finish the work I'm working on. Unless my official job requires me to interrupt and draw something for her. I think that instead of constantly improving one Mona Lisa, you can write many Mona Lizas, each of its period. You need to be able to stop in time and start something new. It's difficult, because every time I see my work I can draw better, more perfect. But this can be done in the next work. I stop when it seems to me that I have told everything I wanted in my work and I can start a new story.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expressing your creative nature?
I believe that the artist himself has to choose whether he tells a story, improves society or defends something. After all, an artist is not only a person who draws well, but also a person with his own worldview and understanding of this life. Artists are all different, like people, and this is what makes our world so colorful and rich.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently working on the Greek myth of Pandora. I love ancient myths and legends very much. They breathe with antiquity and mystery, when the world was not so real, but woven from thousands of many-sided legends.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
I am part of the movement of Russian artists. Although I am Ukrainian by nationality and we are in a state of cold war with the Russians. But the war did not touch art, and we represent one common community, we participate in joint exhibitions in Europe. I am also a member of the TUTTOARTE community. They often organize exhibitions in Europe and I can always join them. Now they have planned an exhibition in Switzerland for the fall, but I do not know if I will be able to participate in it in connection with the coronavirus and the difficulty of traveling across borders.