“A paradox of sweetness, serenity and internal questioning”: these are the pillars to Léna Mačka’s recent illustrations. Depicting an intimate universe that awakens ideas of human strength, this illustrator aims to provoke emotion within her work.
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“It’s a way to transmit my feelings,” she explains. With ambiguous characters placed in abstract and sombre settings, their closed eyes, lack of identity and constrained expressions create a sense of uncertainty. As a means of therapeutic release, these moody and emphatic scenarios are more than intentional: “The eyes are closed to invite the spectator to ask questions. What does this character feel? Is it good or bad?”
Each illustration and the atmosphere within portrays a sense of peace and tranquillity, achieved through her use of posture and colour. However, reflecting that of reality and the hurdles it may bring, each image also represents the struggle and duality of life. We all have “our own dark side” and “these characters are often confronted with their dark troubles,” says Léna.
“I try to pass on feelings by the choice and distribution of colours and the staging,” she says. “My work is rather spontaneous; I am someone who doesn’t know how to use words to express emotions. Fortunately, there’s drawing. It allows me to be able to tell a story that I’ve felt in a way that’s been freed through the character.”
Léna’s expressive characters have been a consistent theme throughout her illustrative endeavours. What’s changed is her style and use of colour: “I was using only black and white before. I think that black and white are such a strong duo – so communicative and so deep,” she says. “I used to focus more on the sense that black and white gave me, which was to get the point across and not to decorate with colour…I recently tried using colours in my drawings and I really like the atmosphere.”
From poster designs, short animations, tattoo art and photography, Léna has a wide portfolio that truly expresses herself as a versatile artist. “At first I was only doing photography – little by little I added graphic elements and illustrations. I now dedicate my work to illustration.”