Interview with Hidden Eloise

The last red rose

Lara Cory: Can you tell me about what techniques, mediums and equipment you use?

Hidden Eloise: I always start with pencil on paper. Any paper, very often paper that I shouldn’t be using. I sometimes then use ink pens or acrylics for inking and some base colour, though not always. From that point on, I scan my drawings and continue painting digitally.

For almost a year now, I’ve been working with a Wacom Cintiq21ux and it has improved the way I work in the most lovely way. The Cintiq is a screen with a pen tablet built on top of it so I can draw directly on the screen. This has allowed me to use all the fine art skills I had with a pen and brush, getting rid of the pesky mouse I was working with before.

The Baroness

LC: Which artists have influenced your current style?

Hidden Eloise: In my latest collection War of the Roses, I specifically set about to create a homage to the Dutch Golden Age with a flare of a couple other art movements that are always close to my heart and evident in my art, Art Nouveau and Japanese Ukiyo-e . Especially Rembrandt has been an old love for me, since when I was very young and could hardly hold a brush properly. Utagawa Yoshitoshi is probably my favourite Ukiyo-e artist but I enjoy older Ukiyo-e too, before Western influences could set a foot in Japan. Finally, Shin Yun-bok made the most adorable art and one of my latest artworks is definitely a nod to him, though quite an obscure nod at that.

War of the Roses

LC: What other things inspire and inform your creative work?

Hidden Eloise: I like modern Japanese film, not the pop stuff predictably, but all those slow, emotionally intricate movies with hardly nine lines of dialogue throughout, like Kitano Takeshi’s earlier films. I like listening to Cocteau Twins when I create along with other melancholy and dreamy sounds. From some more resent artist, I like Bat for Lashes and I happen to be listening to Rockettothesky at this very moment.

The Pearl

LC: What inspired your new collection?

Hidden Eloise: Other than the artists and art movements I mentioned earlier, I had specific feelings in mind when I was creating this collection. I also know I am creating art that invariably ends up decorating people’s houses so I wanted to bring some “Old Glory” while retaining every modern tone I usually have in my art. There is something regal about a big old painting in a heavy frame but 16th century art does not quite fit in a modern home (nor should it, really) so I tried to re-imagine art of old as if it was painted right now. This outlook is wrapped into the feelings of escapism that are so dear to me. Always an informed, aware, and crisp escapism – a moment of stillness in a world spinning around with blinding speed. The forest, the past, the sea bring this elegant feeling of celebrated escapism that I try to portray in my canvas.

Midnight cleaver

LC: What made you choose these particular figures for your new collection?

Hidden Eloise: I’ve talked about the general themes and inspirations, but speaking of the characters specifically, I wanted to portray strong women from the Europe of old. Some show enormous strength, others show strength in their weakness. Gender equality is hardly a reality now, never mind in Europe in the 16th century and onwards, so these women become even more imposing when seen in their natural environment. There is revolution exploding in most of the pieces – some failed attempts at change, some successful ones, some for the better and some for worst. Nowhere is change more evident than the Midnight Cleaver piece, based on Geoge Dunlop Leslie’s Her first place. The original painting is a romanticized picture of the Victorian maid, happily serving. This type of art was all the rage in the rich part of society of the day, it helped them rationalise their place in the world since their blooming humanism was starting to hurt their conscience. Well, my version is closer to reality and embodies much of what I have talked about. In short. In very short actually, I could write a small book about my process during every artwork. I take purposeful and intricate steps during my creative process.

LC: Tell me about some of your collaborations?

Hidden Eloise: Sweet voiced Adrienne Pierce approached me while she was working on her now released new album “Oh Deer“, looking for some cover art. Adrienne was taking the indie road and producing and publishing her album on her own so I was more than happy to throw my fiercely independent pencil in the mix! I ended up designing the whole album, including the CD, covers and a pretty lyrics booklet. It was a really enjoyable project and we had a lovely chemistry with Adrienne, hope we get to play again together sometime.

He says he can hear the Forest whisper…I can only hear his big heart

LC: Would you like to make any comment about the Paperchase incident? Perhaps you have some advice for other artists?

Hidden Eloise: I did take the liberty of drawing some broad conclusions from my experience when Paperchase was selling designs traced from one of my pieces. For one, don’t expect big companies to show any concern towards you unless they are forced to. This first point is heavily influenced by the second one: the law regarding copyright (and many other areas too) is skewed in favour of big companies and big money. It’s not impossible to win in court when you are in the right, but the law sure makes it very hard for you if you are not rolling in bank notes. Having said all these gloomy things brings me to the third point: there is tremendous power in us, the little guys, sticking together and supporting each other! The energy of pure kindness that I received from thousands of strangers back in those days, rose up to be a great storm that probably cost Paperchase more than they should have compensated me in the first place. I’m forever grateful for all the support received back then. And speaking of compensation, for the record, Paperchase never offered me any and they are still sitting on all the money they made from a known and proven infringing design. I even asked them to give their profits to charity instead of compensating me but they never replied.

If you find yourself in a similar unlucky situation, take a breath, contact the other party and kindly ask for removal of said items and compensation for the use of your design. If they deny, look for a no-win no-fee copyright lawyer and look for other ways to deal with the situation n your country’s legal system (small claims courts, sending invoices for services rendered and such). Finally, do let us know so that we can complain to those that ripped you off and so we don’t buy their stuff again.


Hidden Eloise’s Website

Hidden Eloise’s flickr


Lara Cory is a freelance writer and blogger and co-founder of MOTIF Magazine. Classically trained in piano and a degree in Communications, Lara’s main interests are music, books, film and art.


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