Visual Female of the Month – July

– Elia Fernandez


Elia Fernandez is an amazing artist that works with pencil and watercolours to create dreamy, emotive artwork. Born in Madrid, Elia has since lived in the Netherlands and she currently resides in Portugal. Below are two pieces inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poems, which showcase the way Elia transforms complex words and feelings into succinct illustrations. The other illustrations showcased here as from a recent series of inspirational, yet largely ignored women Elia deems worth remembering.

For someone so young, Elia has a fascinating mind and a true passion for discovering the most you can from life. I look forward to seeing how her artwork progresses and transforms over the years. To keep up to date and see more of her work you can view her website here. As English is not Elia’s first language, some answers may take a little longer to understand.

elia-poepoemdream elia-poepoemdreamland

Now for the interview….

How old were you when you started creating?

I’ve spent my whole life making drawings but I remember perfectly my first creation. It was a class project when I was 17 and the first truly free and personal illustration I made. I destroyed it years later, of course. Surely my mother would tell you that my first creation was a full sheet of coloured lines. But this illustration was only for my creation and pure feeling.

What is your artistic background?

I studied illustration at the official school of design in Madrid. Previously I spent a year at fashion school, where I just liked the drawing subject. And before that I passed my years drawing characters from books, movies …

How long did it take for you to develop a style and direction in your art?

Wow … A year ago I thought I would paint triangles and galaxies forever in my illustrations. Truly. Today I cannot look a triangle and I think I will always paint with pencil and watercolors … although I know that’s not true. Search for your direction involves all your life. So, enjoy the way.

What has been your favorite job/commission to date?

I really enjoyed doing the poster for the short film ‘Wind & Rain’.

What do you hope to portray in your work?

Painting is a need. It is true that the work, or as Seraphine Louis called it, ‘black works’, sometimes turn off, a little, the passion to paint for yourself. But when I’m really concentrated on my personal artwork I always try, I hope, to express and get the viewer to perceive and feel identified.

Tell us a bit about your process and inspirations.

After doing the final career project I learned that you should make many sketches, get inspired, learn about what you are going to paint and take inspiration from other artists, plan the project well… But I rarely put it into practice . When I illustrate I improvise a lot. Many times I don’t know what I’m going to do, I start and follow a feeling, most of the time.

Feelings, music, nature, characters and real people are my inspiration.

Where do you want to see yourself in five years?

In four years I have changed country twice. I consider myself and my family as nomads. But here in Portugal there is still a lot of inspiration to explode … maybe 5 years is not enough to discover everything.

How do you feel women are portrayed in art around the globe?

This is a very complicated question. Why, with women being so talented, strong and as brave as men, as well as incredibly amazing and sensitive, are there just a few female names in the books of history of art? I want to give voice to these women, painters, writers, poets. Right now I’m working on a project about them. I believe that the modern woman is still living in a cage – different bars than those 200 years ago, but she is still prey. The woman is usually the main inspiration for many artists, but what kind of woman? Most of the time the ‘owners’ of society denigrate women to be just an empty ornament. (Did you see the smiling hostesses in the final of the world cup?) I’m not talking about feminism, I’m talking about equality. Fortunately there are amazing women and men fighting to remember the real freedom of the woman who, many centuries ago, was caged and tagged.

elia-vivianmaier elia-wisławaszymborska

Pictured: Vivian Maier (left), Wisława Szymborska (right)

If you somehow hurt your vision, would you choose to wear glasses or contacts?

I remember when I was a little girl I wanted to wear glasses and made my dad take me to the eye doctor. He said I had perfect vision. Now I think they are uncomfortable, but soon I will need to use them, for sure! Glasses.

Excluding sight, what two other senses are your favourites?

I love to eat, so taste. But for me the most important sense is the view. Although, as with the example of Borges, even in blindness you can discover new worlds.

5 most pleasant things to look at:

A fabric with very intense colors

A pregnant woman

A huge cave Creeper climbing up the wall


5 least pleasant things to look at:

I remember the things I like to see, but I don’t remember those that I hate to see, can not remember!

Who is the most inspiring woman you know and why?

Vivian Maier. She took pictures throughout her life and she did not see most of her developed photos. She was so talented and hardly anyone knew.

But I can’t choose only one woman. Josefina Manresa, the wife of poet Miguel Hernandez, who, after seeing her husband die, fought to hide his poems so that censorship did not destroy his writings on the Spanish Civil War. Thanks to her courage the poet’s work was not lost. She was a poet too.

What is your favourite thing about yourself?

I think I’m very optimistic.

What is on your bedroom walls currently?

A small red light and a photo of a beautiful tree that I photographed from the window in my house in Holland.

Favourite clothing / accessory / product at the moment?

No more jeans in my closet. I’m taking a more tribal-natural style. My arm is full of macramé bracelet.

Favourite artist at the moment:

Etam Cru

And finally, any words of advice for people stepping into the creative sector?

Every day new illustrators and incredibly creative people are born. I encourage everyone to love deeply what they do, and, although we have to pay rent, to be stronger and deepen their personal work.

elia-valentinatereshcova elia-camileclaudel elia-virginiawoolf

Pictured: Valentina Tereshkova (left), Camille Claudel (centre), Virginia Woolf (right)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: