We are delighted to introduce one of our amazing artists on Art Wow, Laura Selevos! Her amazing portraiture of famous faces have long been some of our most popular on the site, and it’s easy to see why! Her designs perfectly capture the celebrities we love while using her own unique contemporary painting style. The bold use of colours and brushstrokes complement our products beautifully to create a modern take on portraiture! This blog post gives just a small insight into the artist behind so many much-loved designs…
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your name? Where are you based? What does a typical day look like to you?
Hi! My name is Laura Selevos and I’ve been a contemporary portrait artist for 8 years now. I’ve worked around the U.K for 7 of those years, starting in Lancashire and moving down to Berkshire, enjoying time in Windsor and taking part in their Contemporary Art Fair. Recently I moved with my husband to Switzerland, just next to Geneva, after he was offered a job there. It’s been an exciting adventure trying to integrate into a new culture and new language! Most days I will be in the studio working on a commission or some of my own private work, sending emails, photographing pieces and organizing shipping.
How would you describe your style of work?
It’s quite a mixture of styles and media and is often described as different things; some people see pop art, some a more graphic or illustrative work, but for me the process informs the style and so it would fall under the ‘Painterly’ category, as the playfulness of paint directs the colour, shapes and light. This is controlled and refined with the marker pen to try and redirect a likeness, so I can understand why people see elements of different styles.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in life?
“Wash your brushes the same day”
What inspires you?
I watch a lot of films and documentaries – the lighting over an actor with emotion spilling out of their face is so temping to draw that I can’t help but see shapes and break down their face. I find old photographs so captivating and while these don’t necessarily conclude the subject matter I chose to work from, they are the seeds that start an idea before I go looking for alternative material. I was also so surprised by the colours of buildings in Switzerland, I think I was expecting the classic wooden chalet everywhere! In our town by the lake we have an array of very fun colours and these definitely inform combinations I’d like to try in my work.
Is there a piece of artwork on Art Wow that you are most proud of? Why?
I’m always so happy to see which works have been chosen when I get the sales list through. It’s very satisfying knowing out of all my paintings I made the right selection for the site. I think the brighter more tropical tones of ‘Sassy Frida‘ show my personal colour preferences. My sister has the original piece in her home along with a Bob Marley painting from 2013! It always makes me happy to see this one has sold, and that for an older work it’s still relevant to my style today and that’s pretty cool!
If your artwork were music, what would it sound like?
Oh crikey! Well, I think my work is definitely recognizable as my style and it’s very bright and colourful – so someone with a distinctive voice or sound and something happy to match the bright colour palette. I always listen to something while I paint, especially if I’m painting a musician; depending on my mood I can flick from Elvis to some 90s Hip Hop. I don’t know why the first thing I thought of was Rusted Root ‘Send Me On My Way’ – maybe because it’s happy, starts softer and builds, like my layered process, but then slows back down at the end when I add some final little details.
What artist, past or present has inspired you?
I’ve always appreciated Egon Schiele’s line work – he was one of my first influences. These days there are so many inspiring contemporary artists: Andrew Salgado (Andrew.Salgado.art) for his form and colour, I’m obsessed with ΑLL the murals Marina Capdevila (@marinacapdevila) makes and I love the story telling and mark making of Mia Cross (@miaxart). I could absolutely go on but if you head to my Instagram, @lauraselevosart, and see who I’m following you can find my favourites there!
Who are your biggest influences?
I think Sir David Attenborough has lived one of the most incredible lives and it’s amazing to see him continue to raise awareness for the planet and all its creatures. He makes me want to be the best version of myself, work hard and never retire! My Husband is also the most proactive person I know, again with an incredible work ethic, thirst for learning and continuously inspires me (sometimes insists on me) to be a better person!
What was the last gift you gave someone?
We recently travelled to Greece to see our family after 20 months away. It’s been a tough year for us all and this is the longest we’d ever gone without visiting. Timing wise everything worked! Our flight wasn’t cancelled and so we travelled with what seemed like 10 tonnes of Swiss chocolate! The Greek chocoholics were very happy, and we then had an empty suitcase to fill with Greek treats – our plan all along? Who knows!!
How did you get started as an illustrator?
I finished up my Fine Art degree at MMU making installation art. I was a little deflated after graduating and opted to find work wherever I could, assuming it would be art related but never imaging I would be an artist. After moving into my Grandmas apartment to renovate it, I was surrounded by wallpaper samples and big tubs of paint. So, I started playing again. I made a portrait of my Grandma on floral wallpaper which kickstarted my love for portraiture and initiated my use of emulsion paint over the last 8 years.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Easy – 100% a cat. My family refer to me as the fire guard as you will always find me smack bang in front of the fireplace. My Mum must have told me easily 1000 times, the fire is sucking all the marrow out of my spine and I need to move further away. When we had cats, it was always a fight for the prime spot!
How did you develop your distinct style? Was it an experimental process?
Trial and error and working with the limited materials around me. I’d spent quite a few years experimenting with media and styles in education but discovering my own style was just playing with paint and refining. The end product I have today is years of concentrating ideas.
What have been your biggest creative challenges to date?
Murals are rare for me and still feel new. The ‘Angel Jimi’ piece I made for The Redan bar in Wokingham was a publicly made piece and my largest to date. It’s not my comfort zone and I’m still picky about what I choose to say yes to when it comes to murals, but it was an exhilarating experience and one of my favourite works!
In one word, describe how art makes you feel.