andrea elena, canadian watercolor artist
I am perpetually inspired by the words of Yoko Ono "I thought art was a verb, rather than a noun" because for me, art is at all times an experiential process - not just for the observer, but for the producer as well...
Almost all aspects of human life "takes a village", and being an artist is no exception really. I've been fortunate to grow up around people who did art, and could teach me their trade secrets. But my journey to becoming a watercolour artist wasn't a straight or conventional one...
I didn't jump right into art school, albeit, much to my chagrin. I spent years on the journey of a conventional, "get a job first and do art after" mindset of my well meaning immigrant parents, who subscribed to the hallmark sentiment which largely defines my generation.
I have a BA Honours in Linguistics with a minor in Psychology as well as an MA in Discourse Studies, also a graduate certificate in Corporate Communications, and to top it all off, I also have a PhD (abd) in Medical Anthropology where I started my fieldwork in researching food and health - until one day I simply couldn't live that lifestyle anymore and I left academia to pursue art, full time, professionally.
I am profoundly moved by all things nature;
the plethora of biota and microbiota that is our organic living world captivates my attention almost ineffably.
I have always felt safe in forests; they give me comfort as if I am amongst close friends (needless to say, I am an emphatic fan of Peter Wholleben's "The Hidden Life of Trees", which, refreshingly, finally extends us license to see trees as 'beings' complete with agency and culture).
My research into the relationship between food and health honestly expanded my appreciation for nature as a high-functioning system, within which we are only a small part. I am perpetually humbled by what bacteria and fungi actually accomplish for the broader phenomenon we understand as "life".
I have, begrudgingly, come to understand the moral quandary that in order for something to live, other things must die (and this painful awareness has challenged me to think beyond myself). I have come to discover an ethos of "conservation" that is about celebration and appreciation, recognizing that it is only in seeing all life as equally meaningful that we can begin to live more sustainably
I want my art to be a starting point for conversation about conservation (in all the senses of the word), that engages and invites an empathic ethos toward all living creatures; recognizing their inherent worth and value.
My eco-conscious efforts are not only part of the art I produce, but are an integral part of how I teach. I always strive to reduce waste, and improve efficiency in how all materials are used, including water. My soul is with nature, my passion is with art.
Art is creation that extends, warps, or challenges the aesthetic presuppositions of the perceiver.
Today you will find me either at my studio or teaching at various locations across the city - through my art instruction business, Art for Affect.
I also have had the unique privilege of becoming one of the co-organizers of Ottawa's Wall Candy Art Expo, which keeps me busy when I'm not painting or teaching. Some of my other recent community-engaged art involvements have included:
• curating the Exploration Gallery for the Canadian Association for Food Studies conference for two-years consecutively
• facilitating a workshop for CBC Ottawa's Make Change workshops series, which is part of their Project Give fundraising campaign to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank.