Elie Vadakan, Charcoal Artist

Girl Boss Photo Series

An interview with elie

Can you share a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a "Girl Boss" in your field?

Becoming an artist always felt natural and inevitable. Similar to how one can feel it will soon rain. My father was actively pursuing his art career during my early adolescence, so the flow of creating and attending shows was a process I became familiar with at a young age. Later in my life as I began to process the effects of various traumatic events in my life I found myself intrinsically drawn to art as a form of healing. The overwhelming amount of grief I had been harboring in my life just poured out, revealing a scintillating amount of love that laid beyond all the grief. A principal theme in my work is looking at love and trauma as a plurality existing in everyday life and memories. The pursuit of my art practice has empowered me in my healing process and navigation through life. 

How did you design and personalize your workspace to reflect your style and motivation?

My studio is filled with a collection of eclectic items. Working out of my home garage I have a mix of unused furniture, old CDs, B-movie posters, and family photographs surrounding my art. It is maximalism at its extreme. Being encircled by all these forgotten items creates an environment that takes me back through my memories, as most of my work involves reflecting on my past through my memories and family photographs. My studio space emulates the primary theme of my work, maximizing a variety of “captured memories” and fracturing space, time, and reality.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years professionally?

In the next five years I hope to be pursuing a Master’s in Arts or Science in Conservation along with my own art practice. Overall though I keep my future expectations limited as I want to enjoy whatever comes my way as life is always full of surprises.

Are there any projects or goals you're excited about pursuing in the future?

I am currently working on a crime/psychological horror graphic novel. To give a taste, the story is about a series of murders with faces carved into flowers and a young woman who premonishes them in her dreams. In addition to this I am  creating charcoal drawings for exhibition work that I hope to have in shows this coming year.  

If you could share one piece of advice with young women entering your industry, what would it be?

Just keep doing it! Nothing comes as you expect, so rid yourself of your preconceptions. As long as you chip away at it little by little something will come to fruition.