Storybook: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen |
"I was born in Cherepovets, Russia and grew up in Ukraine, where my family is originally from. From a very early age, I was influenced by passionate, creative individuals. My mother was a fashion designer and my earliest artistic inspirations were her design drawings. My aunt was a musician, she was my first musical inspiration and what sparked my desire to play the piano. My grandmother was a singer, dancer, and a nurse. At age 6, after the divorce of my parents, my mother and I made the move to America, to New York City.
I can’t recall a specific point in my life when I turned to art. My family tells me I’ve been doodling since I learned how hold a pencil, before I could even form full sentences (the walls and some documents quickly fell victim to my creative endeavors), art is just what I’ve always done and who I was. I experimented with landscapes and nature for the first time at the age of 8 with chalk and pencils. I also discovered Bob Ross on TV and found myself with an uncontrollable need to paint. My first painting attempts were mostly scenic views of sunsets, mountains, trees, and snow painted with watercolor and acrylic with the occasional still life. Water made many appearances in the form of oceans, ponds, lakes, often containing reflections and distortions of its surrounding imagery. Perhaps it was an escape into the natural world I missed dearly and lacked in my city environment. Around this time I enrolled in dance school and studied ballet, jazz, and modern. The stage, costumes, music, lights, endless training hours, and entire performer’s atmosphere became a second home to me. Dancing was simply another means of expression and enjoyment, I danced for many years. Into my early teens, I learned about digital art and began creating illustrations of invented characters, places, graphics, as well as drawing comics and spriting a few character props for a small MMORPG. During this time I turned to music. With the help of the internet, a brand new keyboard, and a thirst for making beautiful sound out of silence, I began teaching myself how to play the piano.
Throughout my life, painting was something I never stopped doing. Regardless of what happened, I was always led right back to the materials, slaving to the unfolding puzzle in front of me. It’s an almost meditative process that fills me with life and happiness, and I couldn’t go for long periods without it. The more I painted, the more I wanted to paint, it was painful not to. Sharing my work kept me motivated, so I started making youtube videos in 2010 because I always enjoyed the community and wanted to contribute something of my own. I documented the progression of my works in time lapses, the earliest of which were charcoal portraits and the occasional goofing off on camera (which hasn’t really stopped). In some videos, the soundtrack to my time lapses features my own music. Over time, my channel grew exponentially in subscribers and views and continues to expand daily. I’ve collaborated with some talented individuals and attended several gatherings where I’ve had the pleasure of meeting my subscribers. Through social networks, my paintings were selling and I found myself overwhelmed with commissions. Social media has connected me to a strong network of artists and art collectors.
I’ve met some incredibly talented people thanks to the youtube community and my channel has grown to over 100,000 subscribers. I’m thankful for every viewer and experience it has brought me to. I love communicating with my audience and getting to see their angle on art and my work. It makes me so incredibly happy when I am told that I inspired someone with my work, and motivates me to keep challenging myself to reach new heights. I believe that every creator has their own path and way of doing things, one that is unique to them, and that path can be discovered with hard work and dedication. It’s an endless journey in which there is always room to improve. For me, I learn best by experimentation and exploring on my own and have never taken a painting class. That is what makes it so exciting for me, just letting the paint take you somewhere interesting. I am constantly learning and doing my best to grow." ~ Lena Danya
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