Name: Eleni Koumi
Hometown: Currently Canterbury, England (raised in Thessaloniki, Greece)
Words to live by: Do not talk with people that make you feel uncomfortable and learn to say no.
Interview by Zaida Diaz
When did you first fall in love with art?
I can’t remember exactly when it happened. I think it was like three years ago when I realized how many possibilities drawing offers, how I can express myself through my works and make people feel things with me. Also, it might be a bit cliche, but Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo have really affected the way that I think about art.
When did you realize that you were good at creating portraits?
When people started commissioning their portraits. I am still working hard to improve my skills when it comes to portrait drawing, but I feel confident about my current drawing level.
How did you find your own style?
Practice, practice and more practice! For me style is about the way you feel the most comfortable drawing. Sometimes it’s not only one way and some of my works can differ a lot from other pieces. I also like looking at other artists’ works and get inspired to make changes in my own style.
Where do you draw inspiration from? What do you do when you’re feeling in a slump?
I get inspired by different things. My biggest inspiration are people and their daily lives. I love to illustrate everyday activities like someone eating or watching a TV series. I can create a whole illustration based on a simple Instagram photo of plants, clothes, makeup etc. Sometimes, like many other artists, I get art-block and it’s completely okay. I have learned to give myself time to calm down. After a few days of relaxing I return to drawing with new ideas and inspirations.
What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want to contribute to the intersectional feminist movement in my own way. I want to create more representation for people that are victims of discrimination. I am trying to include all genders, body types, sexualities, ages etc. I cannot express how happy I am when I receive feedback because of my works. I have screenshots of every grateful and kind message that I’ve received. They make me feel strong.
How do you want people to feel when they see one of your pieces?
I want to make people feel good about themselves. I’m always extremely happy when people find themselves in my artwork.
Is there a specific body part you enjoy drawing the most?
I actually change favorite body parts every week. I can’t be faithful to one lol. Right now I enjoy drawing feet the most. It really just depends on my mood.
If you had to choose between one medium (drawing in colored pencils or watercolor) which would you choose?
Okay, this is a tough decision! I think I would choose watercolor ’cause I am too lazy to finish a complete work solely with colored pencils lol.
Favorite artist right now?
This changes very often. I’m currently in love with the works of @minava (you can find her on Tumblr or Instagram). She is very inspiring! She experiments with a lot of different art supplies and colors, which I wanna do so badly. She is making amazing comics in a very creative way and the stories are incredible!
What’s the last thing you drew?
An illustration about women’s masturbation 😊
How long does it typically take to complete a piece?
It depends on the complexity of the work. A big illustration can take nearly 4 hours, while sketches take only 1-2 hours. Keep in mind that it can take a bit longer if I’m watching an interesting movie in the background.
Is there a piece that means the most to you, is there a story behind it?
Every piece is special and has a part of me. I love making small references in my illustrations. Maybe the illustration I relate most to is this one (image to the right). It shows my daily life because I’m always falling or bumping into furniture lol.