Yelena York is an American fine artist based in the heart of LA who has made a name for herself through her mastery of the artistic techniques of both pointillism and stippling. Her mixed-media pieces, some taking over a year of work to complete, use a combination of advanced freehand techniques, gold-leafing, and breathtaking colour spectrums that combine to show that there is no substitute for a sincere dedication of time, energy, and raw artistic talent.
Pointillism vs Stippling – what’s the difference?
Both art forms are quite similar from the outside looking in (using dots to create an image rather than drawing or painting an imagine by layering/shading continuous lines), but there is a distinct difference between them.
Pointillism – Placement of dots based on of optical mixing/colour theory to create an image.
Stippling – Relies on a series of monochrome dots to create an image/imply depth etc.
Yelena’s self-taught mastery
Both pointillism and stippling are notoriously time-consuming techniques in which the artist creates an image through the placement of individual dots. In Yelena’s case, the number of these dots can climb incredbily high, with her biggest piece, “Eden’s Apple”, (an example of stippling with gold highlights) consisting of over 500 million individual movements by the artist, taking roughly 13 months to complete.
Yelena admits that she first discovered her love for both techniques by simply trying it out for fun to see if it was possible for her to create an image that way. After getting interest in and selling those initial artworks, Yelena was inspired to use it as the center point in an array of stunning mixed media pieces that are all done free style on canvas, or heavy weight paper, without any initial sketches.
Because of the nature of the work, it would be tempting to rely on technology to reduce the manual labour required, but this would defeat the point and reduce the appeal of the piece. The artistic value of Yelena’s work rests not only in its aesthetic quality, or ability to invoke strong emotions in viewers – but also its ability to stand as a testament to the sincere passion and dedication of the artist.
While the task of strategically placing thousands, if not millions, of individual dots may appear unbearably monotonous to most people, Yelena never jeopardises the artistic integrity of her work, which is why she is able to spend over a year working on a single piece. Getting into her ‘zone’, Yelena is able to switch off the world and spend long periods of time, sometimes 8 hours or more, dotting away as the image in her mind slowly takes form over the weeks and months.
Her latest work
Yelena’s upcoming work focuses on a collection that she is designing herself, spending at least 4 months of time researching the inspiration for the piece. Yelena has managed to create an efficient workflow for herself, with the first month of her research into the next design starting as she completes the finishing touches to the last.
The inspiration for the collection comes from Yelena’s well-established appreciation of ornate period weaponry and hand-engraved patterns. Her freehand pointillism ‘King of Hearts’ perfectly encapsulates her concept-vision for the collection and includes her signature use of gold patterns and micro-details to complete the piece.
Yelena’s latest completed piece, ‘The Last Elephant’, demonstrates the other source of inspiration for the collection – her love of the circus. The piece is dedicated to elephants who have suffered in captivity under circus companies and celebrates the recent news that many are now being freed and returned to the wild.
The piece is a stunning contrast between the simple, yet endangered, beauty of the elephant, and the flashy nature of the circus trappings around it. This piece, along with two playing card inspired inclusions, cement this new collection as a return to Yelena’s earlier style of work, with an increased emphasis on colours and patterns.
As an artist, Yelena has a clear understanding of who she is, and what drives her creative decisions. She is undoubtedly an artist to keep an eye on, especially if you are a fan of mixed-media pieces that communicate a strong message, and were made in a labour of love.
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