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Elesse Art – Interview

Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan for Gathered SA Design Market, March 2019
Photos supplied by Elise Thomas

Elise Thomas of Elesse Art creates artwork that can easily complement your home with its intimate, moody, and ocean-like tones that are as captivating as they are colorful! Specializing in creating MINKS (mini ink) artwork and larger ink originals, Elise’s drive to creating her custom designs relies heavily on her mood and state of mind on the day. Creating eye-catching pieces of art that can take on new forms with the stroke of a brush, you can be rest assured that you’ll be in for something new and exciting to look forward to.

In anticipation of their appearance at the upcoming Gathered SA Markets (March 30 + 31), I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Elise – have a read of our exchange below:

Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Elise?
Elise: I live in Adelaide and by day, I work as a State Marketing Manager. By night and in the other hours and on weekends, I paint. I’m originally from country SA, where I grew up on a sheep and wheat farm in the Mid North. My family still run the farm and we love visiting when we can! I will always be a country girl at heart. Growing up, I was generally quite a creative person and was often making something. Baking, sewing, painting. Only in January 2018, I started painting again, and my partner Dave and I shared my works with some friends, who gave me the thumbs up. From there, I found that I was loving it and coming up with fun abstract creations. I started with water colours after a workshop with Adelaide Artist Nicole Black, progressed to playing with acrylics on canvas (which I still love), acrylic pouring, resin, and now, I’m working with alcohol inks to create abstract pieces of all sizes from my MINKS (mini inks) to large framed paintings.

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Tema: What inspired you to get into art?
Elise: My Mum has always been into painting. She is very talented and always encouraged us as kids to be creative. A good friend’s mother Sia is also a very clever artist and has inspired me with her work.  My day job is very busy, can be stressful, and corporate, so I found painting was also a good way to de-stress and create a sense of mindfulness.

Tema: How do you find the motivation to create your stunning works and present with something new and exciting all the time?
Elise: For me, the motivation to paint just happens! It’s not structured or organised. I can’t say ‘I’m going to paint a masterpiece tonight’, because if I’m not feeling it, I’m not going to paint from the heart. I could be lying in bed on a weekend or cooking dinner and have an urge to paint and just start painting. I get inspiration from lots of places, I love colour and exploring new colour combinations. Sometimes, I create something new, love it and try it again and it won’t work the second time! So it’s a bit of an experimental process.

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Tema: What does the creative process look like?
Elise: Our house is my studio – all of my work comes from our home. I’m more creative at home in my comfortable space, where I can have a glass of wine and paint paint paint! With the alcohol inks, I paint on Yupo Paper. I mainly use Copic Inks, because there are so many colours. I use a blending or alcohol solution, droppers, and straws to blow the ink around. If I’m painting my ‘ribbon’ style I use an easel and rotate my paper as the ink spreads across the paper. I don’t normally plan what I’m painting, I just start and keep building on it to balance the colours and depth.

Tema: How would you describe your artistic style? Do you have an overarching theme of artwork that you primarily create or does it change from piece to piece?
Elise: Abstract and colourful. I mostly love the ocean tones (blues and greens). But, I also love working with blacks and greys with a splash of metallic. Copper and gold are my favourites. I tend to find a colour palette I love and then produce a few different paintings using that theme. I love my alcohol ink ribbons and these tend to dominate. I’m also enjoying softer faded edges on my ink work and leaving some negative space.

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Tema: What do you create with your artwork?
Elise: I create Elesse Art MINKS – mini alcohol ink framed paintings designed for small spaces. These work well on mantles, shelves, bedrooms, kitchens, hallway tables, office desks, as gifts, pretty much anywhere you need a pop of colour. I also create larger framed and unframed alcohol ink paintings and acrylic canvases. All of my works are sold as originals.

Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience, when purchasing from Elesse Art?
Elise: I would love my customers to feel happy when they take an Elesse Art painting home. Happy they have an Elesse Art original and happy they are supporting a local SA Artist. Every painting is created with love!

Tema: Do you take up jobs of creating custom work for your customers or is it something that you’re hoping to offer in the future?
Elise: Yes I create custom works and have repeat customers – some are very specific about colours, others like me to create for them. If a client wants something specific, I can create a small sample first to check the colours’ work. They can also send me a photo of the room, so I can see the space they are installing it in.

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Tema: How would you explain your style of art to someone who is new to your work?
Elise: I create original abstract alcohol ink paintings and acrylic paintings on canvases – all originals, all for sale.

Tema: How did you get involved with Gathered SA?
Elise: I went to the Gathered SA Design Market as a customer and purchased from a vendor. I loved the atmosphere and location and quality of the stalls, so, I got in contact and booked a site. My first market was in August 2018 and I was so nervous about sharing my art!

Tema: What do you find rewarding about being a small scale business in Adelaide?
Elise: It’s fun, refreshing, hard work, but I love being able to meet new people in the creative industry. I also love that SA loves supporting local – something I am very passionate about!

Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you and your business?
Elise: Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, followed me, visited at markets, and purchased from me!  I hope to see you again!

Social media
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Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan
Photos supplied by Elise Thomas