Hellenmae is an East Bay artist who excels in drawing and painting, and specializes in using ink. Her work, while often personal and introspective, reflects her ability to transfer and display emotions. Each face she draws emotes a spark of life through lines and subtle shadows. Ink drops, scratches and scrolls appear distilled down to their essence.
“When I am alone in my studio, I feel like a medieval monk cloistered in a barren cell. I pick up my quill and begin each painting with an idea, an intention, a prayer…You see, when using black sumi ink, there is no going back. Once a line is laid down with the quill, for better or for worse it is there to stay…much like life. Patterns that occur in nature manifest themselves in the intricate ornate lines and shapes created by the ink, they cannot be sketched out first. With a steady rhythm akin to meditation, I dip my quill into the ink well and slowly, painstakingly bring to life thoughts that beg for a dialogue. I carve them onto canvas or paper as if I am that solitary monk writing the holy text. When I get into the flow of making art, time evaporates thoughts are suspended and I am completely immersed in the act of creating. “- Hellenmae, 2016
About her current explorations into mounting drawings onto reclaimed wood, Hellenmae tells us:
“The pieces that are mounted on reclaimed redwood were made with wood I found along the side of the road. The paper is burned, creased and wrinkled purposefully to represent the impermanence of life.
Impermanence is beautiful. The tree that once lived has created the wood that the images are mounted on. Sumi ink, the black ink that I use, is also created from wood, but it’s been charred, (charcoal) and mixed with water. I like the idea of the cycle, birth, growth, decline and death… This wheel that we are all on.”- Hellemae, 2016