My name is Elaine Williams and I am currently a final year art student in Aberystwyth. My work often varies in medium which i think can make it difficult to define simply but probably the best way to describe it would be ‘girly’, as vague as that sounds.
The way i draw my girls can be a bit repetitive; they often have the same face, the same sort of mannerisms. sometimes they are solitary and sometimes they are crowded together in one image. I’m not sure if they are all different people… I like that that doesn’t really matter.
There are lots of themes that I have in mind when I paint: escapism; rejection of real life society and the invention of a new one where the rules of ours are irrelevant questioning innocence and exploring the blurred boundaries between childhood and womanhood….and cats. cats are pretty important.
NS: We found your work and noticed that you have some strong contrast in style. A lot of your more recent work is light, colorful, pastel, and delicate. Some of your older work is extremely dark. Did something change for you?
EW: I’ve never really thought about it like that, but yes i’ve changed a lot! The drawings on my society 6 are from a time when i was very isolated so my work then was about that and about the environment in which i felt comfortable at the time. since then i’ve nearly completed three years at university and i’ve grown in confidence a lot. My work is a lot freer and brighter, now, but it’s still coming from the same sort of place.
One other thing that contributed to a change of style was taking illustration for a semester. There was a big focus on high detail accurate drawing, referenced from life, which put me off the whole thing and my drawing style began to simplify immediately after the module ended.
What’s your process like? We love how in some of your works, detail is implied. It almost looks smudgy. How do you get this effect?
For drawing it’s all very familiar… my hand moves automatically to form the shapes of the faces i draw. Painting is more exciting because a lot of it is just figuring out how to paint. The last painting i did has several layers of completely different colours and images over which i’ve added paint and added new figures until i’ve found something i’m happy with. I’ve been having a lot more fun since i started working on a larger scale – the process is much more experimental and more energetic than my smaller drawings. It’s all lots of just slapping on paint and seeing what works.
What’s your favorite thing to draw/paint? We see a lot of girls/hair/cute things/etc.
I can remember drawing girls all the way back in primary school. I’ve added a few other things to my favourites since then, such as cats, cute underwear, plants… it’s all about creating a sort of ideal environment; everything is very dreamy. It’s a fantasy, but it also just isolates all the best bits from everyday life.
Do you make products or shirts? How does fashion come into play (if at all)?
I really want to make t-shirts! I have lots of little day dreams about making underwear and dresses with my drawings on them and I’ll definitely try it out soon, but I’ve got to see my current painting project through to the end first before I go getting distracted by other things. I have made a few little things already though, like brooches, hair clips and stickers, which are available in my shop.
Many of your characters seem bashful/hurt/shy and are sometimes exposed (even nude). Where does this come from? Is there some sort of reason for this expression?
I guess that suits my personality; I often seem to come across to people as being quite timid, even when I don’t feel that way… but lately, my girls are all quite expressionless, aren’t they? If they look sombre, then part of it is that drawing smiling faces usually makes me cringe… but i think they’re all just getting on with their own thing and there’s no need for them to stop and smile for the camera or anything like that. The nudity is about vulnerability, but also comfort and how those two things go together.
We found you through our member Nadine Carina. She said you are working together. Are you doing an album cover or something? Have you worked with other artists/musicians/businesses?
Yes! Nadine used one of my images for the cover of her new cassette. I’ve never collaborated with anyone in that way before, so it was really great for that to happen and I’d love to work more with her and others in the future.