INTERVIEW: HELENA ENGSTROM | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: HELENA ENGSTROM

Interviews | October 30, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Gemma

Interview: Helena Engström
Luca Curci talks with Helena Engström during the 15th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at Palazzo Bembo.

Helena Engström is a self-taught contemporary watercolor artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. Helena has been painting and drawing all through her life but it was around the age of 15 when she started to actively develop her talent. She later transitioned into watercolors and it has been her main medium ever since. Helena’s works are made in a realistic but very minimalistic delicate way, often painted in black and white, which allows nuances, facial structure and expression to emerge.

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Marlene

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Helena Engström – I’m currently working on several things in parallel. I currently have a few commissions in the works as well as some other paintings. Other than that I’m working on and developing my social media presence and everything that comes with that. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy it! As an artist I also think it’s important to continue developing your signature style and your skill, which is something I try to focus on as well.

LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
HE – I’m a self-taught artist and I have created paintings and drawings since I was very young. I started out drawing using graphite pencils and my first goal was to be able to make realistic portraits. After I felt I had achieved that goal I transitioned into watercolor which is now my main medium. I think my roots in graphite drawing is visible in my paintings still to this day, especially my love for black and white. Since my art revolves a lot around human subjects, I’m always drawn to unique faces. I think the reason why I started drawing and later painting portraits, is my own fascination with beauty. I remember growing up, how I was often thinking about what is considered beautiful and what isn’t. And I was really interested in what distinguished the two. I think a lot of it stems from my own life experience. I never thought of myself as beautiful or even pretty growing up. So it was just a constant question in the back of my head; what makes some people beautiful and some not? Now I have realized that not only does beauty lie in the eye of the beholder but also a lot has to do with the current beauty standard in society.

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Maiko

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
HE – My biggest source of inspiration lately has been old Hollywood and the stars of that era. The aesthetics of that time fits very well with my style of painting, especially since I love to keep my palette in black and white. I’m also always inspired by women. We go through so much in life, both in our own bodies but also in society. Unrealistic expectations, discrimination, the list goes on. I think women possess a certain kind of strength, I find that very inspiring.

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
HE – Yes I would say that my art always is focused on the concept of beauty. Lately it has been heavily focused on the old Hollywood aesthetics but with a modern twist in regards to the execution. My style of painting is quite minimalistic and I love to let the effects of the watercolor show. This is something I want to expand further.

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Marilyn II

LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
HE – Yes my style has changed. In the beginning my art was mostly a pursuit of achieving realism, and then it transitioned into developing my own style as well as exploring the concept of beauty. What remained from my early artist days is my love for black and white. Over time my style developed into a more minimalistic and a bit less realistic expression.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
HE – I think the concept of the exhibition fit really well with my art. Since my paintings consists of figurative portraits I always think about how my figures relate to and coexist with space. It’s one of the aspects that have a major impact on the artwork as a whole, where the realism lies in the proportions and shading of my figures, letting the watercolor and brush strokes speak, I think this creates interesting effects. I love to fade or create interesting effects in the transition from figure to space. This also adds a modern twist to my subjects who are more often than not inspired by a bygone era.

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Sweet like Cinnamon

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
HE – Absolutely! I think ITSLIQUID GROUP can really help emerging and established artists like myself, to find great opportunities to expand their artistic careers. Not only am I honored and proud to have participated in Venice International Art Fair 15th edition, but I also think it’s a great thing to have on my artist resume. Other than that as an artist, exposure is always a good thing in my book.

LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
HE – So far I’ve had a solely positive experience with this exhibition and everything related to it. Unfortunately I was not able to travel to the exhibition venue this time, I think it would have been amazing to see everything in real life! I think as artists one of the most important things in order to be able to pursue an artistic career is to find ways of selling our works, so any and all help in regards to that is a great help to any artist I believe!

LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID Group?
HE – I think the idea behind ITSLIQUID Group is great. This kind of service is exactly what every artist who wants to get somewhere with their art, needs.

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Image courtesy of Helena Engström | Pearl

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