Sit Down With Our #090 Featured Artist
Featured Artist / #094 ScrawlrBox
Iskra is a fine art artist living and working in London, England.
Her early childhood was spent living in the mountains with her parents, who moved there to be closer to nature, and to give Iskrathe opportunity to grow and freely develop. During this time Iskra developed a deep and abiding connection with nature. Iskra andher parents lived in a very remote area, and she spent a lot of her time discovering the wonders of insects, birds, plants and nature’s beauty. Being the only child in this mountainous region, Iskra fell back on her creativity to inspire her play and imaginary world.
These early experiences fed her imagination and artistic talent.
Iskra graduated in Illustration and Book Design. Nature was a recurring theme in her work. After university Iskra joined an advertising agency where she became an Art Director. Here started a period of intense creativity during which Iskra worked with a range of international advertising agencies and clients. Iskra subsequently became a Creative Director and then started her own successful creative studio for advertising and fashion photography. Whilst her time in advertising and the creative commercial world gave her a lot, as time went on she felt a growing pull to re-discover the focussed, intense, solo creative process she experienced in developing original art. Following a summer spent creating her rose garden in London and returning to the nature of her childhood, these artistic urges resulted in Iskra starting to re-connect with her love of art and she started drawing again in earnest which resulted in her first collection ‘The Garden in Me’.
“The Garden in Me” reflects Iskra’s fascination with the hidden details of life and how all around us nature grows and exists, indifferent to our presence and passing unnoticed. The garden conceptually representsa microcosm of life’s circle. We are part of this nature, and we can see the circle of life reflected in the changing seasons and birth, death and re-birth all around us.
All of your pieces are so delicate and ethereal, where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from silence and contemplation. In complete peace I can hear myself most clearly. Spending my childhoodin the mountains created a very strong bond between me and all of this incredibly beautiful and peaceful nature around me, it taught me many lessons, above all how to understand my inner voice and express it.
Do you have a favourite piece of artworkyou have created? What makes this piece so special to you?
‘Ela’ is my most emotional drawing so far. The old red Camellia in our back garden, planted by my child’s great grandmother, inspired this very personal drawing. Four generations of amazing women - Ela Margaret, Diana Ela, Ela Maria and my daughter Elizabeth Ela. The past and the future symbolically entwined in one, so that my little girl will never forget who she is, and where she comes from.
Have any of your pieces been inspired by real life experiences or memories?
All of them. All of our deep emotional stores are waiting to be expressed, and sometimes a small detail from reality unlocks them. ‘Spirit Reflection’ is my new series that I started after a long sunrise horseback ride along the incredibly beautiful rocks of Cappadocia. So much history, beauty and spirit gathered in one place that this brave horse led me through and inspired me.
Has your style developed into this over time? Or have you always been drawn to this style?
My educational background is painting and illustration in which colour is usually dominant. But the truth is that graphite has always attracted me very strongly because of its simplicity, and at the same time great strength and contrast. The feeling of holding such a small and pure natural material and creating a whole palette of shades and highlights is amazing. My style has always been like this, but over time my drawings have become more and more sincere and honest.
Why Gold? Does it have a significant meaning to you?
My relationship with gold is long and comes from my student years when, to help myself financially, I painted Orthodox icons. I was deeply interested in the history of icons and impact they have on people. I visitedmany churches and monasteries tolook and learn during my studentdays. In icons, gold is a symbol of the constant and pure light of God.
What is it about graphite and gold as a combination you love most?
For me, gold symbolises eternal light andthe sun, and graphite brings darkness,matter and the earth. These two very different materials fused in contrast symbolise the darkness and light in ourlives. The play of light on the gold changes depending on the time of day, symbolic ofthe constant change all around us. My deep belief, which is the basis of all my drawings, is our absolute connectedness with everything that surrounds us. Coming and going from the same place makes us equally significant and our connection to light and dark is natural. In the same way we must accept and embrace the dark and the light in ourselves to become humbler and stronger.
Do you have a favourite pencil among your collection?
I work with mechanical pencils. All my materials such as mechanical pencils, refills and paper are Japanese. To work with mechanical pencils and create this soft, delicate and silky texture is an adventure and challenge. It requires a lot of focus, discipline, dedication and very long hours of work.
Have you always worked in the creative industry?
Yes always. After graduating in illustrationI had a strong desire to see if my knowledge and skills could be used in the creative industry and in particular fashion and advertising photography.
Where do you most like to work –inside or outside?
I prefer to work inside. The room in which I work has a view of the garden and I can enjoy the peace, the sun and the silence in which only the songs of the birds can be heard. I live on the outskirts of London, close to open countryside and our garden is full of life. There are many birds, squirrels,foxes visit us very often, even a deer once. In our garden there are many flowers, mainly roses and hydrangeas, which attract butterflies and bees
What can’t you live without?
The people I love