Hello Dear Lena Rising. Thank you for giving us the chance to Interview with you. Our first question is how the “Covid-19” affects you and your art and what is your expectation for the year ahead of us?

Before the pandemic I wasn’t creating. Covid 19 kick-started the creative process. Having said that, my mind has always been a creative mind, images appearing out of nowhere, but I never had an outlet for these bursts of inspiration.
I come from a very artistic family, but unlike so many of my relatives, I never felt I had enough skills in my hands to reproduce the images my mind prompts me to create. The advent of the digital age gave new possibilities to people like me, people who yearn to create but don’t feel that brush and paint will do the trick for them. But the digital age alone did not propel me into creativity. It turns out I needed a pandemic to get off the ground. Lockdowns gave me more free time and peace of mind, and now there’s no looking back. Now I won’t stop - can’t stop! - creating, regardless of circumstances changing.
So what comes next…  I never worry about running out of ideas, but I feel that I want to delve into other dimensions. My art so far has been very story-based, and I do love telling stories through imagery, but I’m hoping to start creating pieces that speak a more subtle language. A language that leaves more to the imagination, based more on shapes, colours, light and shade. I’m not going to force this evolution though, and there are so many story-based works still yearning to see the light of day. But I do see a shift coming… somewhere down the line.
What is your creative process like? How has your style changed over the years?

Starting from the idea; and that can be a dream, an event, a piece of music or something beautiful that I have spotted. But my brain is never satisfied with the beauty of a photograph. Certain things need to be added, others subtracted, and the whole vibe and atmosphere turned into a fantasyland.
I bring my camera everywhere. I scout for beautiful locations, for interesting items but most of all for textures.
Also, my art is character-based and that character (so far) is me, so timer in hand, I photograph myself in front of a white wall.
Lastly, comes the challenge of bringing these separate things together in a way that makes them look like they belong, that they share the same DNA, so to speak. That’s where my use of textures comes in. Not only do they create a cohesiveness, but they also create atmosphere.
Whether my style has changed is too early to tell. When I look back, I think I can discern that my technique has improved, but more importantly, I am better at conveying a message or feeling in the artwork. So those are two huge steps for me.  
Can you tell us about the collective project ‘’Don’t turn your back on the women of Afghanistan?’’. We think it is an important subject to have more insight and acknowledge for our readers.

Thank you for asking about this project – it meant so much to me, as it did to all the women who took part! Let me start by mentioning the two amazing women and fantastic artists who spear-headed this project: Tatiana Moura and Vanessa Wenwieser, without whom this project wouldn’t have happened.

The goal was to raise awareness of how the return of the Taliban affects women. The title of my artwork for the project is “An Unholy Trinity” and it alludes to patriarchy, religion and misogyny. Three things that in history have been used hand-in-hand to oppress women.
Perhaps some may find my piece an exaggerated vision of life for women under Taliban rule, but for me it’s the opposite. I don’t think it’s possible to understand, (and even less portray), the horror of it. Yes, there are other countries that have the same theocratic regimes, but in the case of Afghanistan, women had tasted (a degree of) freedom for a number of years, only to have it snatched away. I can’t even begin to imagine the claustrophobic nightmare that is now their reality, with no end in sight.
Thank you again for highlighting this project, and all the amazing art that was created in the honour of women in Afghanistan:


What was the most memorable response you had for your work?

I can’t say which one was the most memorable. What I can say is that I am completely overwhelmed and so grateful for the connections, feedback and support that I have come across online. It touches me so deeply that I can’t find words for it.
I started creating during lockdown. A solitary hobby to amuse myself, sitting in my home with no input or output into the world. As I don’t have a website, I started posting on Instagram, simply as a means to track my work. What then happened surprised me. Other artists started finding my work and I found theirs, connections are made, and these have become simply priceless to me.
I am deeply touched when I hear that someone has felt a connection to my work, or when they interpret it in a way that exactly matches what I had in mind. Or the opposite! When they see something entirely different that opens my eyes to something new – that is immensely fascinating!
Equally important to me is absorbing and responding to other people’s art. There’s an endless source of inspiration out there, accessible at our fingertips and that is an incredible resource. This inter-connectedness has become hugely important to me on so many levels.
What was the most challenging project that you worked on?

For me, just creating can be a huge challenge. It’s a challenge in the sense that I often have very detailed images in my mind of what I want the finished artwork to be, so I feel pressure to produce exactly that image. And it can be very frustrating if the splendour of the image in my mind is not reflected in the artwork.   

Then there’s the challenge of the response from others. As an artist you expose yourself, your feelings and thoughts, through your art. Our invisible worlds laid bare, for others to like or not like, and that can make you feel very vulnerable. As rewarding as this inter-connected world is, I think one can also become too dependent on the feedback or put too much stock into it. It’s a balancing act.  
But to pinpoint a specific challenge, then without a doubt, the project for the women of Afghanistan. All other artworks have been for my own enjoyment, but with this project I felt I was working for a cause, and a cause I strongly believe in! I felt a strong need for my message and my feelings to come across through the artwork, and that put enormous pressure on me to achieve that. Whether I succeeded is for others to determine, but I’m happy with the outcome.

What has been your greatest artistic success?
I have to say that the feedback I have had, when my artwork has touched someone else, then there is nothing more I could ask for as an artist. When one’s work is no longer just a solitary exploration but becomes a means to reach out into the world, and for others to reach in, that to me, is the highest achievement and success. I didn’t know this when I started creating, but along the way, as these connections have happened, I have understood just how powerful art can be as a means to communicate.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would say to trust my intuition more, in art and in life in general. I believe intuition is a message from our sub-conscious. It’s all the information and input our minds have received without being fully aware of them, and then this information comes to us in a message, or a feeling, we like to refer to as intuition. So at the root it’s something very worldly and information-based, but when it appears it may seem like a message from another world. And I would say to myself to trust it, and go with that flow.
Anything else you would like to mention or add for the readers?
Yes! Something I have never tried is collaborating on an artwork from scratch, and I would love to work with another artist, in anything from photography, modelling or editing. So, if anyone feels tempted by this idea, then please get in touch.

Thank you for your time!

Personal Link; https://www.instagram.com/lenarising/