Featured Artist: Elaine Ma


This print was the beginning of my experimentation with abstraction. It forced me to simplify and distort in order to make a dynamic piece that I could finish carving out before I grew old. I made several color versions, but this turned out best.

Featured Artists showcases multiple pieces from one of our submitters and offers insight into their inspirations and artistic process. Our featured artist for May, Elaine Ma, detailed her foray into abstraction, a deviation from her typical naturalist art style.

What is art? The definition (if art can possibly be defined) varies by person, time, and location; for me, it can be a search for beauty, a call for action, an outpouring of emotion, or an exploration. The latter definition best encompasses my works below, where I explore the limits of the human figure and seek to transcend them.

This has led me to simplification and distortion, first through printmaking and later through painting and collage. Mrs. Leather, my Visual Arts 2 Graphic Design teacher, first opened my eyes to printmaking.

My approach to simplification of the human figure reveals the influence cubism had on me at the time. I was especially struck by Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, no. 2”; the sense of movement and harmony of this piece was awe-inspiring. As I continued, I was influenced by the loose brushwork of Lars Kristian Hansen and the collage style of Judith Bergerson, among many other artists. It is truly an honor to draw from and contribute to this flow of artwork that far predates me and will surely outlive me.

Thanks for sharing, Elaine! If you would like to see more of Elaine’s work or the full process of her printmaking and collages, check out her instagram @art_of_e.ma.