About the Artist
Elena T. Smyrniotis is an artist who primarily works in oils and printmaking, but has begun to experiment more heavily with gouache over the past two years. Currently located in Dubai, Elena has also worked in China and England, although she calls Canada home. Her engagement with Art started young and began to be more concentrated after taking a year long student workshop at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto. She obtained a Bachelor fo Fine Arts with an Honours in Painting at the University of Ottawa where she studied painting mainly under Leslie Reid. Her oils at the point focused mainly on male nudes, however now that she lives in the Middle East her work has developed a focus on the minute moments with people as she tries to better understand them. In her art she look at the experience of those around her and captures the beauty they possess through all the uncertainty in their lives. Whether that uncertainty is parenthood, the pandemic, or the every day difficulties of living. After a decade long hiatus in her practice, she has come back to Art since becoming a mother. Although her themes have significantly changed in that time. Through all the stress of motherhood, she has discovered a new focus that she did not possess before. An appreciation for working in the small moments, and embracing mistakes. Early on her career she has had several shows at venues around Ottawa, Ontario, including at La Petite Mort Gallerie. Her artwork was also featured in various publication. Her recent success has seen her collaborate with The Louvre, Abu Dhabi, to offer a series of workshops. As well as a listing through Art Mums United and inclusion in the Online Exhibition “Come Outside” through Circle Space Norwich.
When I fell in love with Art, I fell in love with portraiture. Regardless the time period, I found myself drawn to faces and figures I did not know and wanted to try to understand. In my art I attempt to look at the experience of those I know well and capture the beauty they possess through all the uncertainty in their lives. Whether that uncertainty is parenthood, the pandemic, or the every day difficulties of living. After a decade long hiatus in my practice, I have come back to Art since becoming a mother. Although my themes have significantly changed in that time, I feel more confident in what I present to the world. Through all the stress of motherhood, I discovered a new focus that I did not possess before. An appreciation for working in the small moments, and embracing my mistakes. Although I feel most confident in oils, the constraints of motherhood and the influence of my own students has pushed me to work in new ways as I navigate the studio space with a four year old.
What are your “Treasured moments” & how do you connect it to your work?
There is a lot of talk about the loss of childhood. Children attached to their screens or their mother’s aprons strings. Apparently we cannot let our children roam free any longer. We can’t trust them, or neighbours, that the kids will come in when the street lights turn on. But, I don’t believe that has to be the case. The moments in my own childhood of freedom from parents to wander outside as child were frequent, but so incredibly memorable; both for the joy and the danger. I am lucky enough as an adult to live in a neighbourhood where my son can wander. The street lights might flicker, but his friends of varying ages keep an eye on him and make sure he is in for dinner. He has freedom and adventure, bullying and joy, laughter and tears. All these moments though are fleeting, blink and you miss them. The frantic energy of a 4 year old dictates the pace. I have been trying with this work to capture the moments of play. You might just catch them in your peripheral vision, they may be blurry, or show sudden movements. It is a juxtaposition of energy and stillness, of being in the moment and missing it, that I hope to capture in these images of play.