Interview with the Artist : Jelena Straiziene

Jelena Straiziene Artist

" The most important thing that I want to convey is how beautiful, but fragile our world is, so I really want to convey the atmosphere of the moment and the main message that I want to convey is the importance of preserving this beauty. "

Jelena Straiziene Irish Artmart Irish Artmart

How did you first become interested in art, and when did you decide to become a professional artist?

I have always been drawing and painting, but I never thought it was an interest in art, it’s just that painting has always been a way of self-expression. However, many years ago, when I studied architecture as one of the subjects at Vilnius University (Lithuania), I realized that painting is the most important thing to me, it is how I can speak and use my imagination to create images, feelings, and moods.

How would you describe your artistic style? Which artists or artistic movements have had the greatest influence on your work?

I would not call my style expressionism or pure impressionism, but these two artistic movements undoubtedly influenced my work.


A way of expressing one’s feelings through the style of impressionism, where light fresh strokes and bright fresh colours are often involuntarily replaced by an expressionist manner, when more dramatic colours are used and when in simple forms there are more emotions and feelings than the beauty of the world.


The masters of these two styles that I admire a lot and it is difficult to list them are Modigliani, Renoir, Monet, Munch, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Kuindzhi

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Can you walk us through your creative process? How does an idea evolve from its inception to a completed work of art?

Sometimes an idea comes out of the blue, as if turned on, and then I make a few sketches, try composition options and basic colour schemes. As a result of the process, when I start working with paints, there will be no trace of my original idea, because imperceptibly, in addition to my desire, it is transformed into something completely different. But it is not always the case.


Sometimes I start painting on a whim, trying, and experimenting with colours that gradually turn into images. And in the process, I just add some details to the image that appears on the canvas, as if independently of me. Such moments are meditative and difficult to describe.

What influences your work? Can you give an example of a piece where this influence is particularly evident?

It is Architecture. I love to look at the streets of towns and cities, I am impressed by the beauty of architectural elements, both old with history and new modern architectural solutions. Streets, houses, roofs of houses create a unique atmosphere in Paris, Dublin, Vilnius or a small town in any country.


Seeing this beauty, I absorb it. These impressions I collect in my imagination and in some sketches, which are then embodied in the urban landscape, which I create as a collective image and convey it in an abstract manner, trying to convey the atmosphere of the street and not concentrating on careful drawing of details.

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How do you choose these materials, and what do they add to your work?

Most of my work is done in oils. Texture is important to me, which is why I love working with oils. Sometimes I like to work with watercolours when I want to convey an atmosphere of transparency and tenderness. I like to switch from one technique to another, but my preference is of course oil.

What feelings or messages do you hope to convey through your work?

The most important thing that I want to convey is how beautiful, but fragile our world is, so I really want to convey the atmosphere of the moment and the main message that I want to convey is the importance of preserving this beauty.

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Jelena Straiziene Irish Artmart Irish Artmart

Over your career, how has your artistic style evolved or changed? Are there specific experiences or phases in your life that have impacted your art?

There was more naivety and admiration in my early works, and if there was little maturity in them, they were more sincere. There were many moments in my creative life when I realized that some qualitative changes were needed.


These were moments of crisis. However, every change in life, both global and personal, always gives me a fresh look and inspiration, and every such moment is an experiment in my work.

Do you have any recurring themes or symbols in your art? Can you share their significance and why they are important to you?

It is easy to see that almost every one of my works has architectural elements. I studied architecture at university and consider architecture to be one of the most important and beautiful areas of art.


I work in the urban landscape style, so there are architectural details in most of my work. Another symbol that is in many of my works is the sun as a symbol of the life.

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How has being part of the arts scene in Ireland influenced your work and career?

I came to Ireland in 2008 from Lithuania and realized what good conditions for development are provided in Ireland for artists, and inspired by these opportunities, I found a group of artists in Laois and became part of this group.


This allowed me to integrate into the art community and improve my English. Then I moved to Wexford. I participated in many solo and joint exhibitions. I am very happy to be part of the art community in Ireland.

Can you tell us about a piece that posed significant challenges to you? What were those challenges and how did you overcome them?

I was blown away by Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech that my son sent me during a difficult time in Covid lockdown.


This prompted me to paint a painting which I called Pale Blue Dot. Soon this painting was sold. I do not remember any of my work that would require such strong concentration from me.


Each new day of creating a picture brought me more and more new tasks. It was especially important to find a balance between the importance of the moment and the simplicity that I wanted to achieve without complicating the presentation of the idea. I wanted to convey the transparency and fragility of our planet in order to create a desire to take care of it as if it were your home. It was a challenge.


I had a very strange impression of this work, but I was pleased with the process and the result of the work.

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 Irish Artmart Irish Artmart

How do you handle creative blocks, and what strategies do you use to stay inspired?

Books and travel help me stay inspired. However, I don’t think you can stay inspired all the time. There is a time when an artist accumulates impressions and thoughts.


There is a time of contemplation and a time of crisis and denial. But these different states are the inner work.

Do you have a favourite piece that you've created? If so, can you tell us the story behind it?

It turned out to be not so easy to answer this question.


It always seems to me that my favourite artwork is the one on which I work at the moment. Time passes and I start working on a new painting that captures all my attention and time, and it seems to me that I love this work more. This happens every time.

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How has the digital age and the rise of social media influenced your art practice?

Posting artwork on social media is a necessary, though not my liked part of my job and takes a lot of time.


However, I understand what a great opportunity for artists to showcase and sell their art is provided by social media and a well-established online art marketplace.

Do you engage in any other creative practices that feed into your art, such as poetry, music, or dance?

I don’t specifically do any other arts besides painting, but I’m interested in theatre, music, books and architecture.

Every year in August Edinburgh hosts the international Fringe festival which I visit every year. This is a unique art festival, which presents the most interesting events in the art of all countries of the world: book exhibitions, music, theatre, art exhibitions of many artists.


Perhaps this is the most productive time, because the atmosphere of the international festival charges creatively and provides an opportunity to get acquainted with representatives of all areas of art from many countries.

Can you share what you're currently working on or any upcoming projects? What can our readers look forward to seeing from you next?

I plan to participate in several art festivals, as well as complete a painting in the style of a seascape. I can’t be more specific.


My personal experience tells me to plan silently, and life always brings spontaneous changes.

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