TINA MARIA ELENA
read our interview with Tina below
HOUSE OF THEODORA CHATS TO TINA MARIA ELENA BAK
TINA CREATES WATERCOLOURS THAT BEAUTIFULLY CAPTURE THE RAW AND EROTIC INTIMACY OF LOVERS. HER PIECES ARE A BLUR OF PASSION AND VULNERABILITY. WE ASKED HER ALL ABOUT HER ARTISTIC PROCESS, SPIRITUALITY AND HOW SHE CAME TO CAPTIVATE SUCH A LARGE AUDIENCE WITH HER BEAUTIFUL BRUSH STROKES.
When did you decide that you wanted to start creating sensual and erotic art?
I didn’t really make a decision. It was more a fluid transition from other themes into this main theme. Since 2010 I’ve been through several traumatic experiences. I started to use art as an outlet and escape from my situation and from the emotions that had overpowered me. But when I started to focus on the beauty in life as it as – and started my Make Love series in November 2015 – I felt empowered in a new way through my art.
I felt there was a beautiful life-force in this erotic and sensual loving theme. I felt like I could let go of my worries (for a while) and I felt as beautiful, sensual and erotic as my art. So, the theme made me stronger and I found it to be a powerful way to express myself.
I also felt that the feminine and sensual perspective had been missing in erotic art and it was most certainly a huge part of my inspiration when I started painting the Make Love watercolour series. Fortunately I feel a strong development in this area. Women are starting to accept and express their own sexuality and I think this is very visible on Instagram.
Can you describe your artistic process?
I am blessed to say that I always have several ideas lined up in my head. So I have to make a decision on which idea is calling me the most. This may sound a little weird, but I have felt this way for several years. Sometimes I have many notes and lists on my phone with ideas. I usually paint the best when I’m alone listening to music. Sometimes I have a clear vision of where to take my painting but often I end up choosing other colours or the painting ends up in another way than I had intended. I can paint for hours and it literally feels like minutes and that is how I know that I am in my creative meditative zone. I usually start painting and paint until the painting is finished and afterwards I often get really tired for an hour or two, ha ha.
On your website you say that you like to express yourself with different self-taught techniques, can you elaborate on those?
I am a self-taught artist so all of my techniques are self taught. I haven’t gone to art school or spend hours watching youtube videos etc to learn techniques, so the way I paint is simply by experimenting a lot and painting a lot. I often experiment when I paint and even though I know this is a part of the journey I still get very irritated when an experiment fails or doesn’t work out the way I was hoping for, ha ha! I think this is part of being an artist. The constant frustration. And the fact that we never stop learning new things and evolve and play all through our lives in creative ways.
There is a beautiful spiritual aspect that runs through your collections. What impact does spirituality and a deeper connection with others have on your artistic process?
The spirituality in my work comes unforced. And also sometimes unintended but it shines through most of my art. I wouldn’t be able to spend so much time on the sensual erotic theme without the underlaying theme shining through it all - which is Love. The feeling of love and a deep connection with another human being is so intense and is kind of a direction my work almost seems to lead me. I do love the more erotic pieces I sometimes make which are more raw, but my heart and soul is happy when these loving energies comes through my work. I sometimes say that I’m not painting different colours of skin - I’m painting energies, auras, emotions and passion. Some see this right away and others see it in a different way. And that is fine too.
Your way with watercolour is quite spectacular. How did you come about choosing that as your medium for expression?
Thank you so much!!! For some time I had been creating handcut pieces of lovers with a scissor and a scalpel but in early 2016 I starting painting with watercolours. It just felt right. It was a spontaneous idea. One day I said to my husband: “Today I’m going to try to paint lovers with watercolours instead of cutting them!” And I did and haven’t stopped since that day. I am so in love with the sensual feeling and the fluidity that the watercolour can provide. Watercolours have such a soft vibration allowing the lovers I paint to melt together, as the colours bleed together! I play a lot with the colours and I like cropping the bodies sometimes so it may seem to be a bit abstract or look like a landscape at first glimpse.
If we were able to peer into your studio when you’re in the flow of creating a piece, what would we see and feel?
You would see an artist with red cheeks concentrating on her painting with a lot of watercolours, paper and water all around the table - a real mess - and loud music.
What’s it like being a female artist in the sensual and erotic art space?
It feels amazing most of the time. My work provides a glimpse into eroticism and sensuality from a woman's perspective. My style is very feminine, full of love and passion. And my Self Love series is really growing. It is so important for me that my work isn’t vulgar and I think my style speaks to both men and women through this style that focuses a lot on pleasure for women. I really love that most of my followers are women (68 %). Through many messages and comments I get the feeling that many women relate to my art and they are saying that they feel inspired by my art. That in it self is so unbelievable and really satisfying for me. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
Of course I also sometimes have to deal with men writing me inappropriate things and I don’t know if male artists have to deal with this too!?!
Social media accounts in the erotic space, such as yours, which have garnered a huge following, are constantly under threat. How do you deal with censorship?
It is definitely a challenge when you are sex positive on Instagram. And although nudity in art and in photos of paintings is okay to post on Instagram, the real problem is that even though this is allowed people can still report it if they feel violated. A lot of accounts are being disabled no matter if you have many followers or only few. I am often shadow banned which makes me mad and I definitely worry. But I know I’m never violating any rules. I have only censored my art a few times. I find it very bizarre that artists have to worry about being deleted on Instagram. There’s something very wrong with this situation in my opinion.
What are you working on?
I’m working on different sketches right now. Next step is to paint them. And I also have exciting plans for upcoming shows.
What work of your own has had the biggest impact on you and why?
This is hard to answer, but I think I would have to say the first painting I made with watercolours since I was a child. This was my Make Love Watercolour no. 1 from 2016 and from then I have painted over 220 pieces in this particular series. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life where my dreams came true about working full time as an artist.
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS: A group show in May with the Untitled Space called “THE FEMALE GAZE ON LOVE, LUST & LONGING” at the SUPERFINE! ART FAIR 2019 curated by Indira Cesarine.
TYPE OF ART: paintings
PREFERRED MEDIUMS: watercolour
SIZE RANGE: from A5 to A0
OTHER DESIGN PRODUCTS: prints & originals
PRICE RANGE: prints from 49-189 USD. originals vary
COMMISSIONS: not open