Interview with Irene Zeleskou

Interview with Irene Zeleskou

1. When did you begin creating art? Why?

As long as I remember myself I have been creating stuff with my hands either drawings or sculptures. It started because I wanted to create my own magical world or my own toys to play with but eventually it became a way of life that I would never change for anything in the world.
Imagination has no boundaries and always finds ways to express through creation. I am a visual thinker so this is my way of sharing my ideas and communicate them to the rest of the world.

2. Who or where do you find inspirations?

When I was in my early years I used to get inspired by children’s books and animation movies and I was always fascinated with anything magical or shiny such as glitter, gems, or vintage jewels that I kept in a small treasure box.

As I got older my inspirations were drawn from fashion photography, lots of anime and holywood films. Nowadays that we have plenty of internet resources available I can assure you that it’s pretty much from anywhere. I like to combine knowledge and visual stimuli to create something unique and not have a sole source of inspiration, since I always liked to evolve and question my style.

Do any kind of movie, society or topic have an impact on what you decide to draw or illustrate?

The things that influenced me more when I started doing art was Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind by studio Ghibli, all the work of photographer Anne Geddes, and Ariel by Disney.
I am all against objectification of women’s bodies and when I draw my characters I try to make them as friendly looking as possible.
I always like to look at the bright side of things and want my art to convey a feeling of magical hope or happiness in it’s viewers despite all the cruelties of real life there is always a good aspect to look at every situation.

4. Your artwork are quite mixed with different types of content. Can you tell us a little about your style?

I studied graphic design and 3d animation which are fields of applied arts and turning my hobby into my day job means you can find mixed stuff in my portfolio.
I offer a combination of services and I am not obsessed over a certain technique or program so I just enjoy using different mediums each time to complete a task and I never thought of it as a disadvantage. This goes for the professional side of me;

In my personal works I usually prefer simple stuff like focusing on a character or a feeling and setting the mood with the appropriate lighting and color palette. In my head the latter and the subject of the image matter more to me than the technical excellence of an overworked artwork.

Which of your pieces are you most fond of and why?

My most favourite artworks are usually the most unexpected ones Death by strawberries was one of my first photographs that involved self portraiture, a pyrex glass, two stacks of books, a self made lightbox, strawberries and lots of fun underwater or should I say under-perrier!

Then it was followed by Cherry bite in the same style and it was something different and fun to do. I really look forward to do more of these one day.

The other one is the 3d artwork “Orange Squeezer Remix” that was used for a cd cover because it was made for my favorite band “Soulbro” and I was so happy that I was given the honor to create something so unique and ingenious for them and get to meet and collaborate with them in person.

What mistakes have taught you the most when it comes to developing your style?

From my biggest regrets is that I rarely used image reference and I was in denial of my true technical level for a very long time. I would set unrealistic goals and would never post anything until I asked a few people on the anatomy.

But in the end, this would just save the specific artwork from having horrible mistakes but wouldn’t teach me anything about anatomy. This didn’t help me progress as fast as I would if I had been more open minded, and practice a lot of anatomy doodles instead.

Can you give us a little insight as to what goes on in your mind when you create your artworks?

For personal work it usually starts as a spontaneous blurry vision of color or a cinematic capture of an imagined moment in my head. This is usually motivating me enough to visualize a quick draft in color since I mostly tend to perceive things in color, light and shapes in my head rather than line art only.

After I am done with the drawing of the thumbnail version and I am sure my idea is now saved, I proceed to write down some notes on the side containing various information on the artwork that are not able to be depicted in such a low quality draft.
These ideas usually pop up in the most inappropriate times like when I have client work to do, when I am reading for exams, after a movies marathon or when I try to sleep. So I usually don’t have the time to continue the artwork right away. But I keep this folder of ideas and when I am stuck I pick one random file and start working on it, hoping I remember what I was thinking.

7. What kind of tips or suggestions would you give to people interested in digital art?

To all the aspiring artists I would like to advise you to not fret if you can’t draw exactly what you have in your head on paper from the first time. You have all the resources online and its makes things easier nowadays to find directions and inspiration than before from references to online history of art to other artists like you to talk to. Everything will come in time with practice and persistence.

Try to have a balance among the development of your technical skills and your spiritual development as a person that will later be reflected in your art as well and give depth to your creations and have a main theme in your art.

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