Elena Øhlander is an illustrator and painter, currently working in Jacksonville, Florida. Hear her in episode 94 of the podcast. Learn more 

Elena’s focus is in illustration that explores identity, gender issues, space, individuality, and pop culture with a Japanese context. Her main influences are Taiyo Matsumoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Yayoi Kusama, and Yoshitomo Nara. Elena attained her BFA in Photography in 2014, exhibiting her work at national galleries and museums. To see more of her work, visit elenaohlander.com.


Elena’s Artist Statement

My work focuses on the subtleties of the human condition and conceptually explores identity, individuality, and gender issues through creative visual narrative. I utilize a contrived scenario, characterization of my own likeness, intentional use of semiotics, and the psychology of color to build my vernacular.

Hyphenated-American identities are thematically explored within the bodies of work as a comparative cultural lens that focuses on asian diaspora awareness and unification. The protagonist in my work takes viewers on a journey into my imagination through gesture, expression, and environment to reveal the many facets of my inner life.

My goal is to inspire the viewer to breakdown stereotypes and to look beyond the boundaries of their own culture and identity for introspection. Rather than emphasizing what separates us as individuals, I hope to bring understanding, mindfulness, and connection in what unifies us to society at large.