Random Photo Journal 1

Line, Colors and Portraits | Elene Anastassiou

Explaining the poetry of art.

Originally published in Random Photo Journal issue, get the print here.

I have often contemplated how my visual art could be viewed through a more literary perspective and I think some of my work has the potential of being directly related to poetry. Other times I think of my own artistic medium as something completely distinct from other forms. Maybe I am reading too much into the question “Can you explain the poetry of your art?” When people ask me this question I tend to blatantly answer with “I don’t know. I just do things”. Maybe that is the poetry involved. Maybe it is just a bunch of visual words shuffled around in hopes that they mean something to someone, somewhere. To me, my drawings are just another form of expression, much like writing or dancing: a performance if you will. I express myself through colours and forms without consciously thinking about my artistic process at the moment. For me, contemplation comes after. It always has contemplation upon that which was created in a moment where thinking was not of primal importance. In these drawings, I tried formally experimenting with colours and shapes and how background and foreground can merge together in a two-dimensional way creating new forms. At first, I didn’t think that the hands would symbolize anything. To me, most things are just shapes.

However, thinking back at the time when these drawings were created I think it might be more than that. I am yet to find out what exactly. I often think about how colours can carry different meanings and feelings. Not the usual red-is-for-passion-and-blue-for-sorrow type of rhetoric. For me personally, colours are simply a reminder that thank-fucking-god this world is not as black-and-white as we think it is. When it comes to my selection of colours as-such I usually tend to choose at random. Depending on the juxtapositions I want to make I choose the appropriate colours. My very basic knowledge of colour-theory, of course, helps my process. I like using the three primary colours but I also like using colours that are “opposites” in order to create a more harmonious whole. Like for example yellow with purple or green and red. Sometimes the absence of colour is as important. The absence of colour creates spaces that need not be filled with unnecessary shenanigans. Studying the lines of your drawings, is there a way you can relate your drawings to thoughts that you have to quickly jot down? I draw random one-line figures almost everywhere. In my sketchbooks, in the books, I’m reading, on the back of receipts and cigarette packets. A quick doodle never saved anybody but it never hurt anybody either. They are like thoughts that need to be written on some sort of surface before they slip away. I also have this need to occupy my hands withdrawing rather than be on my phone all the time. So there’s that. In general, I don’t necessarily consider myself as this person with huge artistic endeavours and the profile of the struggling-and-unsettled artist does not suit me. I doodle because I am bored. I draw shapes like squares and rectangles possibly because my father is an architect. I like colours, especially yellow. Sometimes I enjoy a good book, a good film and a good drug. I like drinking and I like sex. I am your average next-door neighbour with a few doodles in her head that often like to be expressed.