Portland-based artist Yellena James creates kaleidoscopic, biomorphic artworks that resemble colorful ecosystems, filled with imaginary flora and fauna. With an aim to illustrate places that are “hypnotically familiar and yet hauntingly exotic,” James’ most recent ethereal universes explore delicate organic forms and textural terrains.
Rendered in her distinct, vibrant color palette on large canvases and round panels, James uses a combination of pens, inks, acrylic, and gouache paint. Intrigued by microscopic worlds, James reveals that she tries to “create new living shapes based on what [she] imagines to exist within the unseen world around us.” She explains, “I trace the origins of these luminescent forms back to the depths from which they emerge and bring them vividly to life.” Her drawings, paintings, and murals are never planned in advance; instead, she allows the dazzling scenes to take a life of their own. James tells My Modern Met via email: “I simply start with one element and keep building on it and around it…Throughout the process I think about balance and composition and how to connect all the elements into one entity.”
If you’re in Portland, you can see James’ incredible works for yourself at the ARISE exhibition currently on view at the Stephanie Chefas Projects gallery until March 31st, 2018. Alternatively, find more of James’ work on her website, and check out her Etsy shop to buy her artwork as prints, cards, and even printed scarves.