Interviewer - Lizzie Hall Photographer - Alix Arnold Editor - Erica Carosella
Bio - Elena Øhlander is an artist that is based out of Jacksonville, Florida. She is a recognized artist through galleries and exhibitions around the world. Elena uses social media and other forms of networking to get her art out into the world. Elenas art focuses on Gender identity, Gender Issues, individuality, as well as pop culture around the world. She is influenced by, Taiyo Matsumoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Yayoi Kusama, and Yoshitomo Nara.
Q&A Q- How is Culture Depicted in Your art ? A- “Essentially, working in the context of Japanese culture, so my particular vernacular focuses on all the different aspects of heritage. So something as simple as an asian female look, different food, and mythology, and history and motiques that are traditional to japanese culture; it all is an element in my work and very prevalent. Q- How do you use brands in your work A- I do involve brands in my work, most of which are japanese clothing hip hop brands, it is very fun and I also use alot of japanese candy brands.
Q- Do you think having social media has helped advertise your art? A- Yes, very much so, I think that it is very important to have a website so you have a professional portfolio of sorts that is more organized and less personal, but social media…. I cannot even tell you just how many opportunities I have received from Instagram alone. I think this year I got connected with pilot pen USA, galleries in New York, Japan, So many things happening that maybe without social media wouldn't easily have been accessible.
Q- How do you think technology has changed artists around the world? A- I do think that it has created a network of connecting so many aspects of the art world. From the art world perspective, getting connected with so many dealers, and managers, and other artists on a global scale. Social media is great for that.
Q- What is your personal Ideology? A- If we are talking about social political things in my work alone, I definitely focus on identity and more specifically feminine identity and individuality in work empowering women to embrace all of who they are. My work is motivated by my daughter connecting with her heritage and navigating and identifying who she is as a person as she gets older. Initially I thought wow this is a way for me to connect with my daughter, but I think it really breaches on a social scale. For example, some of my work I use like magazine clippings and japanese comic book clippings and they are intentional for one in the sense that i am kinda deconstructing a story and reconstructing it in a way that I am kinda saying that we can reconstruct our story at any point in our lives and we are not a product of our environment. Also some of those backgrounds have advertisements from women's magazines from the 70s 90s up to today and this feminine expectation that I feel like we have to look to in our ads says a lot about our expectations from women in society potentially from the male gaze however now that is changing now that gender is more fluid. I think that just that aspect alone with connecting to others and empowering women is my ideology alone.