INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES courtesy of Elléna Lourens
Cape Town-based artist Elléna Lourens, who experiments across a range of mediums, from murals to embroidery, chatted to VISI about developing her style and who she’d most like to collaborate with in this quick Q&A.
When did you first start illustrating?
I’ve drawn forever but I only started to develop a style around one year ago. I had just finished school and was living overseas with my mom for the first time since I was a young kid. She lives in this really small town in England and I didn’t know anyone there, and didn’t really know what to do with myself. We were sharing a tiny attic room so I didn’t get much time alone, which I wasn’t used to at all. A close friend of mine had been pushing me to illustrate for a while and I’d been hesitant, but it happened automatically when I needed to create a space for myself outside of my comfort zone.
How would you describe your style?
You work across a range of different mediums, from illustration and murals to embroidery. Which medium do you enjoy working in most, and why?
I don’t have a favourite. They’re all so different and I have different relationships with each. Out of the three, I’m least experienced in street art – I find painting walls very challenging (both physically and mentally), but it gives me the craziest sense of accomplishment and clarity to push through and finish something I’ve struggled with – whether I’m happy with the final product or not. Illustration is both the medium I’m most comfortable with and most afraid of. I overthink everything, but once I’m excited about a picture/character, I can’t stop until it’s done. Embroidery is my newest passion, I love the whole process and I’m super excited to see where I can go with it.
Who would you most like to collaborate with, and why?
There are so many people I want to collaborate with. Right now I would love to work with Alessandro Michele and Virgil Abloh. I’m very keen to learn how to design clothing and to incorporate the embroidery I’m making. Both Alessandro Michele and Virgil Abloh seem very innovative and I think I’d learn a lot from them.
What’s next for Elléna?
I’m going to work as hard as I can.
Follow Elléna on Instagram to keep up to date with her work.