FLUXATIONS 2017: Interview with the Artist Elsa Trzaska

Posted on 23.2.2017

At the moment Trzaska concentrates on video art, although some of her ideas require a combination of different techniques.

Elsa Trzaska enjoys making video art and gets inspired by nearly everything. To Trzaska videos appear three dimensional and she is also fascinated by the different aspects of installing her videos.

Elsa Trzaska studied art at the Tampere University of Applied Sciences and graduated in 2013. At the beginning of her studies she was interested in photography but during the second year of her studies she got familiar with video art.

Trzaskas interest in art derives from the need for self-expression as well as from her tendency to observe the environment. She has enjoyed drawing and painting eversince she was a child, but the reason for becoming an artist can be found elsewhere.

”I think that the reason for making art is that it has always been important for me to invent, design and to be inspired by environment and humanbeings. I want to express myself and create something on my own. Art makes it possible. When I was younger I thought I’d become a biologist or an archeologist. I didn’t really think of becoming an artist until I was in high school”, Trzaska says.

When Trzaska got interested in making video art, she started to find photography less interesting. As her diploma work she made a video called Asteri. While making the video she found out that making video art was her thing.

”I think that the reason why I started to make video art is that I was influenced by films and the history of the field. I am also fascinated by the illusion that can be achieved by making a video. It’s amazing what can be done just by adjusting the movement and the position of a camera and how much effect have the sounds, the lights and the rhythm in editing. It’s also up to the artist to decide what will be shown on the video and which parts are left out. All of these things affect on the result”, Trzaska sums up.

Trzaska is fascinated by different aspects of installing a video work. To her videos appear three dimensional instead of just pictures placed one after another.

”When making a video I often draw charts of the rhythm and the changes in the atmosphere. In my opinion making videos can be compared to working with a three dimensional object”, Trzaska points out.

At the moment Trzaska concentrates on video art, although some of her ideas require a combination of different techniques.

”In the past few years I’ve concentrated on video art. Maybe it says something about the way I feel about video art: it’s really my thing. But the installation of my videos is important to me as well. So far I’ve used for example a persian rug and a discoball for an installation. Those items were a part of my video Man Substitute. I’ve also attached golden frames on the screens. At the end making videos can be quite materialistic”, Trzaska says.

Trzaska is inspired by nearly everything. When she feels uninspired she doesn’t wait for the inspiration at home. According to Trzaska an artist must be creative and look for the inspiration: that’s what it means to be a professional.

”I’m inspired by people, norms, differences between a human being and society, nature, the state of the environment and humans effect on it. I often get inspired when I see art, read magazines, watch movies and walk my dog. The idea for a work might come to my mind unexpectedly and I must write it down right away, otherwise I might forget it”, Trzaska describes.

The combination of mass consumption and endangered species gave an idea for the video art work

Elsa Trzaska got the idea for her work Extinct from the leopard pattern. This pattern has been seen in Trzaskas videos before and she likes to wear it herself sometimes.

”I’m fascinated by this bizarre affection to wear a pattern that belongs to another living species. While it’s fashionable for human beings to wear clothes that are decorated with the pattern of a leopard, the species itself is endangered. The combination of mass consumption and endangered species gave the idea for this video”, Trzaska explains.

The video work Extinct includes references to the art history, scifi-films and the fashion. The video was filmed last autumn and it hasn’t been presented anywhere else before the event. When making the art work Trzaska had a cameraman, an editor and a sound designer assisting her. The grant from Arts Promotion Centre Finland came in handy.

Trzaska sees that the status of media art is quite strong at the moment. Because media art is getting more common, the audience is also paying more attention to it. On the other hand yet media art doesn’t have an equal position compared to the other forms of art.

”Selling media art is problematic. I don’t make art in order to be able to sell it, but occasionally it seems that artists are valued by the sales of their art works instead of the artistic values. Private collectors hardly ever buy video art. I’ve been surprised by the fact that museums are not that keen on buying it either, compared to the other forms of art. It’s impossible to have too many events concentrating on media art, since all publicity is welcome”, Trzaska says.

Photo: Sebastian Trzaska

Turku Artists Association presents the curator and each of the Fluxations 2017 artists. The interviews are published before the event on Turku Artists Association’s webpages and on Facebook.