We asked Yellena to tell us a little more about her biggest piece, Immerse, in her current show up in Gallery Hijinks. If you’ve followed James’ work, this piece is a huge accomplishment and shift in regards to her past work that has been smaller in size and slightly different in color palette. Read below to see her description of the process she went through to create it.
“I worked on this piece for two years, off and on. It is done with fine-tipped pens, inks and gouaches on 58″ x 42″ watercolor paper which has been mounted on birch wood panel and cradled with 3” maple. I wanted to challenge myself to see how my work translates into a larger format. It started like all of my other works, without any planning or sketching. i drew the first element, the round object on the bottom right, and then intuitively developed more forms around it. Line after line, the objects were starting to come together. I wanted this peice to be intriguing from afar and mesmerizing when examined up close. The details turn to shades when observed from a distance, but when viewed from up close the viewer gets lost in the sea of little details that form this piece. Immerse had to be finished in stages. I would work on one area and then slowly move to another. The very last element I added was the black branch in the bottom right corner. I worked on this piece for so long that, when I look at it now, I discover new things that even I’ve forgot about. When I work, I feel like I am not fully aware of the marks I leave and after I am done with a piece there is a moment of introduction where I take in everything as a whole rather than as parts. It was a very magical moment for me when I realized Immerse was finally finished. It had been presented before at my “Zoetic” exhibit at the Giant Robot in LA, but I kept feeling like it wasn’t quite there yet. Now I feel all of the elements are exactly where I want them to be. It’s very hard to capture this image in photographs. The size of it adds so much to its beauty, and even though it is a pretty large piece, I didin’t shy away from adding in tiny details throughout. Hanging it at the Hijinks Gallery I kept discovering little jewels that I had hidden within the design, and I hope that whoever winds up owning it experiences this same feeling of marvel & unending discovery for a long time to come.”