Artist Interviews 2023
Evelisa Natasha Genova
By Laura Siebold
Evelisa Natasha Genova is a dreamscape artist who was born in Toronto, Canada. The artist splits her time as a painter between Los Angeles and Europe, following a lifelong journey of creating and expressing herself through her art. For Evelisa, Art is about relationships and communication of people’s souls’ journeys. Her dreamscapes highlight special parts of nature and translate intuition, spirituality, and dream life into tangible art, making it accessible for herself and others. Evelisa’s goal is to inspire her audience “with a sense of wonder and empowerment”. The artist spoke to us about life as a gift, the narrative of art, and the creative possibilities for artists as storytellers. We are honored to feature Evelisa’s art and her interview in this issue.
What does art mean to you? Have you always dreamed of becoming an artist?
As I was feeling through my answers to this question, I actually had a little aha moment. I realized that during some of the roughest periods of my adolescence, I think I was the most seen through my art - which as an adult, I can appreciate the massive psychological healing power that has. My dad really got interested when he was going through a turbulent time and supported me - I owe so much to him. As a little girl, my mom also absolutely loved every time I played the piano, while she was going through her own journey. I was truly seen through my art. It is the ultimate thing that keeps me connected to my inner child to this day.
I didn't necessarily always dream of becoming an artist, but it was something that I was naturally doing since young - many kids naturally express some type of creative instincts. It just so happens that nothing from childhood to adult life interrupted my desire to create. It is similar to journaling: I continue to write in a diary or journal. I had that [habit of journaling] since I was a kid, and nothing quite stopped that habit of mine. These things are direct lineages to my childhood self, which feels like such a privilege to me, and something that I have a personal responsibility to keep building in a positive way.
In terms of what Art has now come to mean to me, it’s a little bold but I feel art is humanity’s saving grace. It is us as creators, as communicating and expressing the human experience. A nonverbal way to try to feel and navigate aspects of our human existence - even when we create spontaneously, with no meaning.
I sometimes feel that whether we intend to or not, to me making art is caring about a relationship - between the creator and those who witness the art. Art is this way of trying to make sense of some things that we can't necessarily use words for and exposing that inner life to others.
Can you tell us about your early beginnings in the art world? Was there a specific moment in
your life when you identified yourself as an artist?
Through my own personal trials and tribulations, I’ve always been searching to capture the beauty and mystery of life. My early journey in the art world was never really formal. I mean, I never specifically identified as an artist - it’s something I absolutely needed to do. And through persevering and dedicating over time, I just started paying attention to it and how my passion for painting was actually my strength. Life is a bittersweet, complex, and painful gift - but it’s still a gift, and I have always just needed to focus on that, and I expressed it best through art.
There was a turning point, however. Long after painting and going on a journey of experimenting with oil and classical but expressing these feelings... I had one painting that was exhibited in Toronto, and it was the first piece that sold that night with a red sticker, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God’, and everyone made a huge deal of it. I had no idea who the purchaser was. The Gallerist was so excited for me and really believed in me. He insisted I exhibit until I sell. From there, it really changed my mind set for me - it planted the seed of artist-as-entrepreneur for me, I started taking it seriously. I was 29 at the time.
How do you create dreamscapes with your art? Please explain the process.
Through my work. I love to celebrate the wonders of nature and connect with the themes of personal intuition, spiritual wisdom, and personal power. What is important is as much as I create these for me, I love to channel and create for others - like an intimate portrait of their deepest soul, in a beautiful way.
And so, dreamscapes are really just pieces that are inspired by nature and empowered by the human heart. A dreamscape can change depending on the energy and intention of the piece I am working on and what I am trying to convey.
I take a little bit from the tradition of surrealism of allegorical painting and then kind of combine that with like a collage type of thing. I also love psychology, and Carl Jung’s collective subconscious and the power of your dreams is really important. I myself am so incredibly connected to my dream life. I dream vividly, all the time, and my dreams are powerful indicators of my own personal and psychological truth and state.
So, painting is like me clapping back to my dream world and designing them intentionally. I like to really play with symbols of what comes up in the dreams, what symbolizes that personal power. So, that's really what starts it. I begin with an essential energy or idea and from there, when you turn to nature, where do you see that idea or that feeling in nature? So, for example, you could feel joy and joy could be reflected in the beautiful sun and blue sky-type of things, something really cheesy or cliché. You might feel love. I want to really convey the dreaming of love, and togetherness and belonging.
I do this for my own work, but - equally - this is exactly what I love to do for others and my clients. As deep as they want to go, it's my artistic service to people and their dreams.
How did you find your unique style and voice as an artist?
I have, to my surprise, over 20 years of experience in painting for corporate and private collectors. This is far before my “aha” moment of selling art intentionally. My highest goal is to inspire my audience with a sense of wonder and empowerment. I have to give credit to the side of me that has been more “corporate” - developing the other side of my life, previously in government, and now in corporate consulting, has given me breathing room to experiment, play, try new things, make mistakes - to ultimately find my unique style and voice. But it 100% changes as I change as a human being, internally, and will continue to change. It is a mirror of my own inner life.
How do the stories you tell with your art come to life?
The feedback from my collectors has been incredibly rewarding. Many of them express feelings of awe, inspiration, and a sense of empowerment when engaging with my artwork. It's heartening to know that my pieces resonate with them on such a deep level. After all, I believe that life itself is a precious gift, and if my work can evoke these emotions and perspectives, then I feel like I'm successfully connecting with my audience and offering them something meaningful through my art. I care so much about the relationship with the viewer and inviting them into a deeper story because I care about people’s souls. So, each piece comes to life in stages. First, I like to paint elements that are just simply beautiful, at first glance, but then drawing people in for more nuanced layers and details that have their side of the story.
Which materials do you use and how do you determine the final strokes for each art piece?
My artistic approach involves a blend of classical techniques, such as oil paints, gold embellishments, portraiture, and a focus on the human figure. What I aim to achieve with each piece, is a reimagining of timeless artistic elements, resulting in fresh and captivating compositions that carry allegorical and surreal qualities. This allows me to infuse new life into traditional concepts while inviting viewers to explore my unique artistic vision.
Knowing when a piece is complete is a delicate balance for me. I consider a piece final when it achieves harmony across various aspects. This involves achieving balance in terms of composition, ensuring a dynamic interplay between different elements while maintaining attention to intricate details. Additionally, achieving the right color palette is crucial, as it contributes to the overall visual impact of the piece. When all these components align, I feel that the artwork has reached its full potential and is ready to be shared with the audience.
What determines your choice of subjects?
While I love the personal dreamscapes and soul paintings, I find immense fascination in the intricate dance between private, personal narratives and the vibrant realm of public pop culture. It's a dynamic I frequently come back to.
In one particular series, I delve into the concept of the celebrity cult, approaching it from an anti-Warhol perspective. The essence of this collection lies in unveiling the intricate nuances of celebrities' private, spiritual, and profound experiences. Through these intimate and celebratory portraits, I aim to provide a window into their lives that transcends the superficial.
My creative inspiration for these pieces draws from classical oil portrait techniques, interwoven with elements of surrealism and allegorical art. The resulting works are essentially narratives, offering glimpses into the hidden dimensions of celebrity culture's personal and spiritual realms.
Whether I'm portraying a figure from the tapestry of pop culture or delving into something more intimate and personally curated, my ultimate aspiration is to serve as a bridge between the art and the viewer. Life is a tapestry of celebration, and my paintings stand as my artistic tribute to touching the hearts and souls of those who engage with them.
Can you name some of the most influential projects you’ve completed in your career so far?
Why are those projects meaningful to you?
In reflecting upon my career, there have been several influential projects that hold great significance to me. One aspect that deeply resonates with me is the opportunity to create custom artwork for individuals, carrying the tradition of historical patrons who commissioned remarkable works. What sets my approach apart is infusing this tradition with a unique twist, transforming it into a form of artistic service that intentionally is reflecting the essence of people's heart and soul on an individual level. I am a Scorpio rising with an 8th house Sun after all. 🙂
Moreover, my involvement as a curator has been profoundly meaningful. I hold a strong appreciation for storytelling and narrative within art, which led me to explore the relationships among artists themselves. One particularly important project was in collaboration with the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles. Through this initiative, I curated a diverse group of artists, both indigenous and international, providing them a platform to unite and share their heartfelt stories and expressions. The impact of this endeavor is something I take immense pride in.
These curated exhibitions, along with other similar series, hold a special place in my heart. They represent more than just showcases; they reflect my belief in the significance of relationships. As a person who values connections, the quality of relationships within the art world holds great importance to me. I've witnessed the transformative power of artists as truth-tellers and storytellers within society firsthand. By carefully orchestrating these exhibitions, I hope to establish a model for fostering remarkable relationships—spaces where we listen, witness, and make room for each other's truths in an extraordinary manner.
I get to share a little bit of this message at my upcoming Ted Talk in California in September [https://tedxmountrubidoux.com/].
What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? What kind of advice would you give novice artists to increase their presence in the art world?
An important lesson I've learned in my career is to have an entrepreneurial mindset. When it comes to art, I think there is a phasing out of a quote unquote starving artists. I think that's really not a framework that's relevant anymore.
We're in a time where we can really be empowered to be small business owners and entrepreneurs - it’s about bringing value to the world. Something valuable like a service, a product. So, when you think of it in that way, there's a lot of value in being a creative entrepreneur.
I also think that depending on who you are and how you are, being able to work elsewhere while you're creating is actually powerful and important to the creative process.
It gives you this room to play an experiment as you try to find your creative voice. So, I would try to reframe, you know, those of us who have jobs, different jobs or different types of career paths while also being artists, not as a limiting thing, but actually as something that's very freeing, and works well with the nature of art, that can be very organic.
What is your ultimate goal as an artist, and what do you wish your legacy to be?
My ultimate goal as an artist, I really love this question. It is so beautiful, and I think this is maybe the first time I'm really putting it out there.
So, clearly, my goal is to have had the privilege and honor of working with a range of people from different walks of life. Whether it's through collaborative commissioned works or the impact of my personal creations, I envision people feeling a deep and genuine resonance—a connection that often lies beyond the surface of their public lives.
This aspiration is what I hope to leave as my legacy—an artist who was able to bring people closer to their innermost selves, reminding them of their own beauty. And with that, I’d love to phase out the “starving artist” trope into “creative entrepreneur”, or “visionary”.
As a step toward realizing this vision, I'm honored to be delivering an upcoming TED talk aimed at addressing CEOs and companies. Through this platform, I intend to convey the significance of nurturing creativity within our societal structure. By reframing the narrative around the arts and artists, I’m hoping to inspire a greater understanding and appreciation of their wisdom and perspective. I aim my public speaking engagements to serve as an avenue to empower others, much like how I seek to empower those who collect and collaborate with my art. If I can instill a heart-centered sense of empowerment and love, especially within our contemporary Western society, I would consider that an accomplishment aligned with my deepest aspirations.