Elena Dmitrenko is an experienced Ukrainian painter who has exhibited her work in Kyiv. She identifies herself as a photo-realist, realist and impressionist painter. She predominately composes works centered on capturing the smallest details of recognizable experiences, settings, and people. From hyper-realist animal paintings to serene ocean scenes and portraits of celebrities, Dmitrenko retains an expert sense of light, color balance, and proportion.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
At the age of 5 my dad asked what I wanted for my birthday, either paint or a baby piano. It was a pretty tough choice and I chose both gifts.
I picked my favorite tunes by ear and drew everything that I saw around – eyes, trees, my beloved cat.
Since childhood, I have loved the combination of music and art. When it was time to go to university, I got scared that I wasn’t good enough. The other kids had gone to art schools, but I didn’t. They had a lot of knowledge, but I didn’t. So I became a colorist and hairstylist.
I met my future husband and for my birthday he gave me a present. What do you think it was?
Of course, only oil paints.
A whole new world that I had never experienced before opened up for me. I drew for hours, without purpose and just excitedly enjoyed color combinations, deeds, textures, and brushstrokes.
At times, I was angry with myself because I could not portray anything exactly the way I saw it. Whether it was a mighty lion, or a girl running into the distance, seascape with a foamy wave, or the boiling sun at sunset, I wanted to show all of the smallest details.
I wanted to capture these vibrations and the moment so that everyone could feel it the same way I do.
Now, I’m still studying with each canvas and still looking for myself and the essence of all living things. I’m trying to share this search with all of you.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
Without thinking, the first artist who inspired me was Johannes Vermeer and his Girl with a Pearl Earring. When I saw this picture with my own eyes, it was so emotional, so reverent. This moment is etched forever in my memory.
Then I followed the contemporaries and their work – Omar Ortiz and Tjalf Sparnai. I dreamed of learning to convey the environment on canvas just as realistically. I have always been impressed by the stories of artists who devoted their lives entirely to art, selflessly, with all love and passion.
Why? Because I also had a turning point when I had to choose whether to continue to be an artist, even to the detriment of my own health or not.
I am grateful for that moment because I realized that this is my Iife. I am not ready to become someone else or look for another profession or vocation. Only oil and only painting is what makes me truly happy.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
For me, painting is such an intimate process, so I am not ready to share this intimacy with anyone. I cannot trust the creation of my creation in other hands.
Every artist, like every person, feels and sees exclusively in his own way. In everyone, there is a whole world inside. And my world is all in the picture and while I’m not ready to violate my art religion in regards to this.
Maybe someday I’ll change. For now, I love to wrap myself in music and write so that no one breaks this inner moment.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
For me, the word ‘project’ is something from the relatives of a clear plan and technical subtext. I am a person of inspiration.
Today, I want to portray the sound of the sea in gentle warm colors. Tomorrow, I will portray a proud, independent lion looking into the distance.
All I can say is that I’ll surprise you more than once with the liveliness and reality of what is happening in my world of paintings.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
As said earlier, I realized that I was not ready to change my occupation. Being an artist is my whole essence and my being.
If life decides otherwise and decides to play a cruel joke with me, even if I were blind, I will paint pictures, only a melody on the piano. I will not retreat from creativity. For me, there is nothing worse than taking this away from me.
Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?
Everyone is so different and multifaceted, with their own flavor, style, and sense of beauty. Therefore, it would not be fair for any artist to call someone the best or their favorite.
Each of the artists is a jigsaw puzzle of a huge, large, and incredible world of art. I am grateful to everyone and everyone for who he or she is and what he or she creates.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
If a child wants to create, if an adult has found a spark in himself, do not lose it, cherish it. Look for it in yourself, write every day, and do not listen to anyone.
You are unique, you do not have to paint a picture like others. Paint the way you see and feel, even if the sea is pink for you, and the sun is green. This is your vision and it is unique, let it be and be yourself.