Briefly describe the work you do.
My process of artistic work is influenced by the relationship between places and events. I prefer most of all analogue photography as media using its ambivalent meaning both as a souvenir or document. Concepts such as travel, seen from the simple displacement, movement, or the action of walking are latent in my work. Structures of lines drawn on the ground, footprints, directions, paths, in between-connections, the infinite and the ability to paralyze everything in an instant. On the other hand, to develop the idea of “once in a lifetime” as an original and initiatory experience I make a comparison between the analog image as a singular document, which represents the moment that can be no longer repeated, and use the film as something perishable but unique at the same time. The narrative that builds up in my images as you go along on the daily life travel, is a work that takes place in the movement, not from any exact place and goes to another.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I was born in the south of Spain, but because of family matters, we moved north. From coast to coast, “there is no longer way than this to cross Spain” I used to hear. It may be that all those journeys, full of infinite lines, traveling by car always looking at the horizon remained very deep in my mind. Maybe that is why the term “travel” fascinates me (in my art work & life) and why I always refer to it to explain myself. The second big change in my life took place in my junior year of high school and refers to the them of travel as well; I studied for a year in the US and this allowed me to discover new cultures, ways of thinking, and living. I grew as a person and discovered the world I was most intrigued by; the art world. Back home, I was determined to obtain my high school diploma major in art and later pursue a degree in fine arts in college.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
To have a studio for me its like a privilege! Well, we had spaces at college, but it was crowded. It was not really a proper studio, but it was the thing most similar to it i have ever experienced. Right now I have a big room I used to share, so I would try to make something out of this! I think more than being isolated at a great studio, it´s important for an artist to be surrounded by a creative environment, like small talks about art & engaging in discussions frequently. I once visited a friend´s studio in Dublin shared by four artists and I thought that was the right studio for me if I was living in Ireland.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I did not think much about the concept or process, i was still influenced about trying to mastering the technique and a bit obsessed I must say of doing it “right”, now Im first concerned about what I want to say, and then making a stress on that.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
I truly believe there is no way to make a schedule about doing art. I think sometimes that is the problem when you try to explain other people not relate at all to the art field what means to make art. The “urgency” to express yourself comes whenever. In my opinion its hard to wake up early in the morning and say “ok, im going to paint, draw, do this…in two hours because I dont have more time, and it has to be done”. For me, I can go weeks without any good shot, idea or feeling about what I want to do, but then sitting watching a movie, or just talking to someone I have this cliché “inspiration” thing and I keep it carefully for the next days to develop further. I find this question really interesting because I think everyone of us is dealing with this “time to be an artist in your free time”/ “time to work” and today´s society reality. This of course, doesn’t deny that there are well-organized artist!
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
Five years ago I was beginning my education and could not imaging half of the things I do today. I think my work stays true somehow to who I am but what have changed is how I want to show that. But still I think I have to develop much further. To be honest, I still find it hard sometimes to call it “work of art”.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Many! I think this has a lot to do with the previous question about the studio…and my opinion stays pretty much the same, it´s vital to have contact with other artists and let them influence you and influence them as well.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I have recently reached a conclusion that would be just pursuing to live a creative life, i think that is more important than being an artist who makes art pieces. Maybe this is just a logical reason to avoid any kind of frustration seeking for perfection or recognition. I feel somehow I have a long road to walk and I would like to continue my education.
Other than that, my interests are widely broad, this year I had contact with teaching and museum education and it was a very good experience. In spanish we have a famous saying which I totally agree: “nunca digas de este agua no beberé”, that means literally “never say you will never drink from this water”.
Elena Pérez-Ardá López (Almería,1991) is a spanish based artist. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca and she studied abroad at the Kunsthochschule of Kassel in Germany with Prof. Bernhard Prinz. Her work has been selected various times at national contests and at the Adora Calvo Gallery open call for emerging artists. Elena has exhibited at DA2 (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Salamanca and has participated as well in exhibitions in Kassel and the F/Stop Photography Festival in Leipzig (Germany).
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.