Elena Xausa is an illustrator who works in a range of different media and experiments with a variety of creative languages, an approach which has resulted in a fresh and unique style. Elena creates simple shapes and lively, sophisticated subjects with an immediate and recognisable look. She has worked with La Scala theatre, Nike, Enel, Fendi, and Feltrinelli to name just a few of her high level clients, and her illustrations have been featured in international publications such as The New York Times, Le Monde, IL – Il sole 24 ore, Stern, Rolling Stone, Vice and many more. Over the years Elena has received numerous accolades, including a residency at the Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, and her work has been displayed in Florence’s Stazione Leopolda and at the Triennale in Milan.
Every two months, BASE houses an artist selected by Illustri, an association that brings together established and up-and-coming artists. The artists spend a week with us, staying at casaBASE, working in the burò, BASE’s project house, and getting involved in life at BASE and the initiatives underway. The creative output of the residency then becomes the poster for the BASE magazine.
WUNDERKIT of ELENA XAUSA
We asked Elena to introduce herself and tell us what inspires her creativity, through some objects and mirabilia.
I like to surround myself with objects that set off creative links when you least expect it. The first object in my WunderKit is Carelman’s “Catalogues d’objects introuvables”. I enjoy contrasting images: taking what we are used to seeing and transforming it. Carelman’s objects are a pataphysical game of surrealism and humour, two aspects that I find fundamental in my approach to illustration. I also brought a compass with me, which is a metaphor for tracing graphic grids, being obsessed with aesthetic balance while also being conscious of how to break it and break free.
Another essential item are my shoes, which are basically all sneakers. They represent just how little I care about what is considered “feminine”, but they are also a reminder of the path I have trodden. When it’s time to throw them out, I freak out so much that I have to take a photo of them as a thank you for having carried me this far. The last object – apart from my “to do list”, which I couldn’t live without – is a piece of rope from my dad’s hardware store. It symbolises the fact that you don’t have to come from a family of artists to follow a creative profession. Your environment can serve as inspiration, but you don’t absorb creativity by osmosis; it’s your attitude, your dedication and the love that you put into your work that make things happen. I, personally, would never have thought I would become an illustrator. It was a teacher of mine who helped me realise that this could be a job.
The first illustrators who captured my imagination? Saul Steinberg and Geoff McFetridge.