Hispanic Heritage Spotlight: The Artistic Journey of Elena Boils
@elenaboils on Instagram
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re featuring creatives and artists that we’ve had the opportunity to work with in the past. Meet Elena Boils, a talented Mexican-born illustrator now living in London. Answers were edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: You grew up in Mexico and then went to school in Cornwall, these two places can seem so diametrically different. How did these two places influence your artistic style?
A: Mexico has something both magical and surreal which I’ve always tried to incorporate into the images I make. Everything is very intense: colour, sound, flavours. When I went to Cornwall to study, I was really influenced by the people I met. I am always so inspired by the work my colleagues and friends produce.
Q: What do you miss most about Mexico?
A:So many things really! You never really know what you’re going to encounter when you step outside. But I think the thing I really miss is the food, especially the street vendors. A really good quesadilla or juice stand is a true godsend. Also, the weather! In recent years I’m trying to spend as much of the winter in Mexico visiting my family to get away from the miserable January and February days in the UK.
Q: Your use of color is so bold and yet, intimate and calming. How do you employ color as a design choice?
A: It’s an intuitive decision. I normally start an illustration with an idea of the colours it is going to have, even before I’ve fully drafted out the composition. This gives me a rough idea of the atmosphere and the feel, which I can then adapt later on.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: From everywhere. Sometimes, I have days where I walk around looking for interesting shapes, buildings etc... I also love getting inspiration from film backgrounds and moments. I have a folder of screenshots I like to go back to.
Q: How did you land on your style?
A: It’s a hard question to answer because I feel like it’s constantly evolving. When I was in art school, I experimented a lot with the old print feel of packaging and advertising and I think this landed me where I am now. Recently I’m really enjoying working with more brush and freer textures. A lot of it is just playing around, seeing what works.
Q: Your work often marries handmade textures with sharp, brisk lines and shadows. Tell us about how you find balance in these contrasting elements.
A: Usually, one comes before the other. I find that I want to do something that is quite architectural and will draw out in rigid lines, after that I think about more organic elements that can be incorporated. Or if I’m making something which is more brush-like, I don’t plan and I just go for it, making It more impressionistic and natural.
Q: What color do you love to use in your pieces?
A: I go through phases, currently loving some deeper green-browns with contrasting reds.