Elena Fierro is a 360 degree artist. We could say an old school artist. Around the world together with her notebook, pen, camera, eyes to enjoy nature and heart to dream. Raised in Mexico City, Elena prefers photography, graphic illustration and lately she wants to improve her tattoo artist skills. Drawing is a great way to express herself, her insecurities and imperfections. A special way to connect with the human being, with his forms and with his mind, telling about him in a surrealist key.
We had the opportunity to get to know Elena and she told us about her artistic world.
Hi Elena, tell us who you are.
My name is Elena Fierro, my life has been based in Mexico City where I feel I grew up just as crazy as my hometown. I was a very shy but an active kid, drawing walls and keeping my mom awake past 3am. I'm very sensitive and I love expressing life's details. My body of work includes a range of art direction, photography, illustration, and tattoo. Interweaving themes of identity, abstract form, portraits, and the essence of nature.
Tell us about your training path.
I went to Design school, but to be honest, I didn't find myself there. I traveled to Hawaii taking my camera and notebook everywhere, getting a taste of what freedom and art meant for me. By the time I came back to Mexico a few months later, I knew that I wanted to be an autodidact and multidisciplinary artist. It wasn't easy to jump towards that direction, with all the competition and knowing how harsh the world is, but I did it. I started taking a lot of courses on drawing, art direction, digital illustration, photography, and graphic design to keep going forward, and still to this day I continue to explore new methods and I never want to stop studying. I love to get into new techniques, more advanced programs, and ways to open doors to express my art.
You introduce yourself as a photographer and illustrator. What do you think links these three disciplines?
Photography and illustration represent freedom to me. A lot of inspiration that evolved in my photography was thanks to the vision that illustration opened to me, I understood that a photo can look and feel soft and dreamy. I'm totally a full-time dreamer so I love to play with both to take out the best of them.
Looking at your Instagram page, your illustrations prevail. When did you understand that drawing was your way?
I think that I really felt that I needed to draw and express myself no matter what since I was 15 or 16 years old, once I started there was no stopping. The big change in my illustrations happened when I was 21 years old and started to go deeper in expressing surreal environments, characters, and forms. What I'm looking for is to uncover a visual vocabulary to work with, trying to shape a language that enables me to understand and communicate my being through drawing.
Tell us how your creative process begins. Do you start from an inspirational source?
The process always starts with music, maybe closing my eyes and lucid dreaming - imagination takes care of the rest. I try to trust the intelligence of the process, letting go of the outside world, and waiting for my inner thoughts and feelings to reveal what they may look like. There are no rules to work here but it helps me to take care of my surroundings, going out, traveling, and staying close to nature to absorb all its forms,
colors and sounds.
About love, solitude, sensuality, landscapes seem to tell your designs. Which themes do you like to explore with drawing?
Sensuality is everywhere, I'm in love with the human body and mind. Also, nature is really important in my experimentation. I work with the figure, which I tend to use as the human condition of feelings and psychological complex that we all go through in one way or another placing my characters in surreal environments to open up the connections between them.
Do you prefer traditional or digital drawing for your art?
I love both. Digital art is awesome because you don't need to waste paper by trying to get one result and you can print it with beautiful details to bring it to life. And I love analog techniques as I am always experimenting in my notebook that is always with me, especially more recently with flash work now that I started my tattooing.
Today being an illustrator seems difficult. You have to deal with a lot of competition, increasingly new techniques. What advice would you like to give to those who have decided to undertake the profession of illustrators?
Get your ideas out there, draw as often as you can, and don't worry about being perfect. It is better to take your time to experiment with your visual language and look for the gaps! What is missing out there? Trying to build my own narrative helped me a lot in my drawings. Also, just listen to music, take a walk, write, and take a moment to dig deeper into what it makes you feel, you can be completely impressed with your creations.
Looking carefully at your drawings, it seems that you want to play with soft lines by building the design on it. Where does your need come from?
Lines are very important to me, I have been so inspired by artists like Egon Schiele, Giacometti, Jean Hans Arp, and many others. The weight of the line and movement is something that I always use to give profound expression to my drawings, I don't like perfection so I love the cracked look on them.
Let's talk about your photography, how would you describe it?
Ethereal I think, I like to have some orange/yellow pigment in my photos and portraits. The use of natural light is always surprising to me, I love it. With my portraits, I like to take the creative direction of the clothes, the place, etc. to create a nice atmosphere. Photographing people is beautiful, sensing their true self with my camera is powerful, I honor that and the image that is forever honest.
Do you have a project you care deeply about both in the field of illustration and in photography?
I started tattooing two years ago and it is amazing to translate a world drawn on paper to onto someone's skin, it's so personal and special. I want to learn a lot of techniques around the world and maybe someday have my own studio. (IG @____jelen____) With illustration I would love to animate, one of the things that I love the most is music so it would be really exciting to work making videos or short clips.
Another dream would be to design vinyl album covers and media for artists! For now, I don't have a new photography project but I hope something comes up soon. Social isolation has been a limitation for my photography inspiration but something I know for sure is that I want to make a deep connection with nature and my fellow human being, we need to connect again with earth and ourselves.
Tell us about your future plans.
I'm waiting for my time to travel, meet new people and of course, that will come with my camera and illustrations and my tattoo bag. I want to continue learning techniques such as creating animations and I am looking forward to working with cool artists and brands.
Follow Elena's work on Instagram.
Interview & Article by
Vivian di Lorenzo