Lena Kolambet was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.
She graduated from Lviv Polytechnic University.
Lena studied painting under the supervision of Valentin Barskov, a talented artist and a teacher of the Odessa Grekov Art School. Additionally, Lena completed the course “Design-methodology. Inspiration management” taught by Saint Petersburg State University .
In her works, Lena depicts an inner world of a person, his hopes and thoughts in the context of the problems of all humankind.
Her paintings present a unique combination of abstract, figurative forms and drawing with elements of surrealism. She focuses mainly on human nature, woman’s nature in particular. Her pieces are created spontaneously, she is led by emotions and everyday observation. Images of women are subtle and feminine, her subjects are often nude and vulnerable.
The combination of illustrative and abstract styles gives her work a dreamy quality and transports our imagination into a whole other world. For greater expressiveness, she uses a mixed technique of painting with acrylic, pastel, ink, and oil.
2013 – Lena became the laureate in the nomination of fine art at the international contest “Music of the sunny city” held in Odesa, Ukraine.
2016 – She took the 1st prize at the All-Ukrainian Art Contest in the nomination “Experimental Painting” held in Kyiv, Ukraine.
2017 – Lena participated in the international art symposium “World Federation of Zervas Art” held in Mykonos, Greece.
2010-2021 – She has held 9 solo exhibitions in Ukraine. She participated in numerous art group exhibitions in Ukraine, Greece, Italy, France, Canada.
Most recent group exhibitions:
- 2021–Museum of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine
- 2021-Grey Cube Gallery, Texas, USA
- 2021-Art Room Gallery Online, Serbia
- 2020- Bougie Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada
- 2020- Musa international in Palazzo Velli Expo, Roma, Italy
- 2020- Art-Ego Gallery, Kyiv, Ukraine
- 2020- Musee de Peinture de Saint-Frajou, France
- 2020-Underground Art Gallery, Odesa, Ukraine
Hi, Lena! Tell us a few words about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started? When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Lena: When I was 5, I got sick and got into hospital. A nurse taught me to draw. She was the one who showed me the three-dimensional image of a house. Later, my mom taught me how to draw from pictures. She had impeccable taste in art, but no art education. She let me hang reproductions of famous paintings in my bedroom
thus I grew up surrounded by masterpieces. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to pursue an art education, my parents wanted me to study engineering and I ended up at a local Polytechnic Institute. Then I met Valentin Barskov, a talented artist and teacher at the Grekov Art School in Odesa, and he became my art teacher. In addition, I took a course called “Design Methodology. Inspiration management” at St. Petersburg University.
I currently live in Odesa, Ukraine, a city on the Black Sea coast. Interestingly enough, I spent my childhood in the USSR, a country that no longer exists. After the collapse of the country, there was a difficult time establishing the country of Ukraine as an independent state. This global change in society and the crash of established values led me to search for my own identity in the new reality. I guess you can see in my works the topic of finding myself and my place in the world as well as relationships between people.
I never stop learning. There is always room for improvement. To enhance my work, I like to use different techniques and mix such materials as textiles, thread, wood, and many more.
You say you create spontaneously, and you’re led by emotions and everyday observation. Images of women are subtle and feminine, often nude and vulnerable. From your observations, how do you know when you’ve got the right subject for your work? And, what is it about nude and vulnerable that exposes a powerful artwork?
Lena: It seems that the world today hides behind Facebook and Instagram photos like it’s a store sign. We show the world only our good side: successful and beautiful. On the one hand, these desires are natural and normal, but on the other hand, we remain people with different thoughts and emotions. We try not to show the real us. By depicting people naked, I show their emotions, the vulnerability of their souls, and the fragility of the world. Yes, we are different but from time to time we have similar feelings. I show that a human being is like a crystal with many facets – feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This complexity makes the world awesome!
What is a day of working like in your studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Lena: I always start “painting” in my thoughts. I try to write down a thought or an idea in a workbook right away. Sometimes, I sketch. Then I think about details, colors, and so on. Chores can definitely distract me from the creative process, but music always helps to lift my spirits. I choose a tune that sounds good at that particular moment and it puts me in the right state of mind. Sometimes, I just need to sit in silence and listen to my inner voice. I also love to travel. I am always inspired by new places and the beauty of nature. Nature is an inexhaustible source of inspiration!
What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Lena: The hardest part of making art is coming up with a concept for a future project. I need to figure out what I would like to say to the world.
An idea may come first. The work starts with sketches. Sometimes there may be one theme in the beginning, which then develops into another. There are times when work on a project goes slower than it’s expected. Then I take some time off but I make sure I work on some other painting, thus forcing my brain to keep working. In a few days, I usually get some new ideas and get back to unfinished work. Some of my paintings took as long as 9 months. It is impossible to know in advance how long it will take me to finish a painting. Painting is a beautifully
spontaneous and unpredictable process.
You also have NFT’s, tell us more about that, and how do you see NFT’s in the world of art?
Lena: The boom in the crypto market is a natural event in terms of technological progress. The art market has always had the problem of counterfeiting art objects. There’s always the need to protect art against plagiarism. The blockchain solves this problem but the excitement around virtual art objects reflects an important feature – people are willing to pay not for the content, but for the certificate of authenticity, which is typical of the entire art market. For me, as an artist, NTF opens up new opportunities for promoting my art. We cannot be aloof from progress, we must move in unison.
How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Lena: It’s a tough question! My art is a reflection of my emotions and thoughts on events in people’s lives.
I don’t think an artist should create paintings just for the interior or by adjusting to the potential customer’s ideas. Art is important for society because it shows significant developments or some problems of the world through the prism of feelings and emotions. Painting is just one of the ways to reflect on them, there’s also sculpture, installations, along with poetry, literature, music, movies, etc. In my opinion, the artist feels and experiences some shocks due to his sensitive perception of life, and he conveys them through his art.
One of my paintings depicts the revolution in Ukraine in 2014, the time when events in the country swept the minds of almost all the inhabitants.
Or here’s another example: in March 2020 during the global pandemic, I spontaneously created a painting called “2020”.
I realize that it may never be sold because it does not evoke happy feelings, but it illustrates the history of the planet.
What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
Lena: My art teacher always told me: 5% is the spark of God, the rest is work. I also like to think that I need to start working so my muse comes to me.
What advice would you give to upcoming artists, how to think out-of-the-box and grow?
Lena: My main advice is not to waste time, not be afraid to try different materials and styles, and also be open to everything new.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Lena: I will continue to make discoveries in various techniques of creating artwork. In a nutshell, my goal is to enjoy the process! It is a big deal! I also plan to have a few solo exhibitions and participate in joint projects with other artists around the world. One day, I will also publish my book “The Artist’s Diary” with my illustrations.
Is there anything you’d like to add that I didn’t ask?
Lena: I am pleased to see my artworks in the annual Italian edition of contemporary paintings. Also, this year I had three major solo exhibitions and received a lot of feedback, which inspires me to create new art projects, combining paintings, installation, video, and music.