“I’m enjoying being cheeky and challenging.“

Image:  Ivan Otis

What country are you from and where do you live?

I am from Toronto, Canada.

Education background (Hair school, art school, no school)?

I am self taught.

What is your signature style/artistic expression and how did you come up with it?

I guess I would say I’ve been more consistently a line work artist.  And I mainly draw bodies and expressions in one way or another.

For a long time I’ve been exploring concepts of feminine sensuality, identity and its relationship with feminism. My pattern-based pieces look at the complicated relationship many of us have with space and much of my earlier work itself didn’t take up much space at all (moleskins, am I right?). I’ve often focused on dense patterns on a tiny scale, so my interest in developing patterns was an obvious next step. 

Through this reflection, my “No Talent” sculptures have been more of a focus lately. Still in line with my favourite idea of nuanced repetition, I’ve been developing this series of one hundred similar but unique sculptures, each existing within a mini-series of four or five pieces each. Each is 15” and cast in resin. I’m grateful to have the help of Greatbeard Productions.

I feel like I’m giving more life to what has usually been a drawing. For a long time I’ve been trying to expand my comfort with larger spaces and the sculpture series has been a really important journey for me so far. I’m enjoying being cheeky and challenging. 

Do you have a career turning point/your big break?

As far as “big breaks” go, it’s hard to name anything specific. I was fortunate to be working with a small art collective out of New York years ago and through that I’v been able to sell pieces all over the world. One Mixed media piece hangs in a school somewhere in Tokyo. A pattern I have called Orgy became wallpaper in a restaurant downtown Toronto. There are whole collections that have been purchased privately.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business?

If I could suggest anything (at least to myself!), keep working and keep sharing your progress with friends and fans. The feedback is helpful; especially when I feel stuck or uninspired. Keep moving, creating and growing!

Instagram @elyse_saunders