To manifest is a magical quality in human beings. Another is to love and be loved. Both evoke a strong sense of self and require bravery, as outcomes are uncertain, and every dream begins within us. To possess a consciousness of the power of these virtues, one resides in a place where anything can happen. That place could be anywhere, anytime in the most significant cities and the smallest of hometowns. When I first saw Ela Fidalgo’s works, I found myself enchanted with the raw emotion of it, then the color and texture. The writing incorporated in some works and the way figures will stare at you, or through you, I needed to get in touch with her and find out more about her. The connection to her and her work is evident. After winning multiple awards for her fashion designs, including the Mercedes Benz award in Madrid for fashion two years ago, she began to put her creativity on canvas. It is only the beginning for her. Giving praise to her family and upbringing, she is an inspiration not only for women but creatives with a dream everywhere.

Ela Fidalgo's work in Mallorca


Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

Couture and Canvas

I think I am intrigued most by your multi-disciplined output in creativity across artistic boundaries. You write, create clothing, and now most recently, create art on canvas. What prompted your transition into painting?

EF- Well I think that when we talk about creativity, there should be no limits on it. I mean that normally some characters who have created art in parallel also worked in other disciplines … DaVinci not only painted … he was a Painter, anatomist, architect, artist, botanist, scientist, writer, sculptor, philosopher, engineer, inventor, musician, poet and urban planner … Gustav Klimt painted but also made some prints in precious fabrics, I think that enclosing or establishing a person in a single discipline all he does is cut creativity …In my case, for example, since I was a child I have drawn, I have always drawn, and at age 15, I began writing because of the need to go further and be more explicit to what I wanted to express.The garments that I make, especially the first “Work in Progress” collection that was the one that paraded in the Mercedes Benz Madrid and the one that won the prize, is a collection worked with objects and materials that I found in garbage, on the street or that people had donated to me because they had thrown them away, therefore there are several dresses that are very sculptural, such as the lamp dress or the velcro dress or the mop. The clothes that I make in and of themselves are unique pieces. Before painting on canvas I painted my clothes and made pictures on clothes that I put on for day to day. And I started painting following an exhibition of the “Work in Progress” collection. Gerhardt is currently my gallery owner, and it is in my gallery Gerhardt Braun Gallery where I have a studio to work and develop my entire universe.

ElaFidalgo Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

You talk a lot about the realm of the possibilities that exist within our dreams, desires, hopes, fears. What does Ela Fidalgo dream of?

EF-I really believe that we are what we dream of. My family, my parents, they taught me that I have to dream hard to be able to reach the goals I want to have. For this, we have to be persistent and work hard. I talk a lot about it because I think it is important to never stop dreaming or wishing to be better, to keep looking and to grow as a person …Everything that I have said that wanted to do everything I wanted worked for me , I have been fulfilled but I have not been fulfilled as if I made a wish. I have focused on what I wanted, what really made me excited and worked until it cost me what it cost. William Shakespeare said: “We are made of the same matter as dreams”

What has been your most gratifying experience from a professional standpoint so far?

EF- The most rewarding experience from the professional point of view would be me being a finalist in the International Festival of Fashion, Photography, and Fashion accessories. Ever since childhood, I have dreamed of being there, and it was very empowering seeing and surrounding myself with the most influential people in the world of fashion, brands like LVMH or Chanel. I was in shock; I didn’t believe it! But the most rewarding experience (from the point of view of being special) was my first clothing collection and seeing my parents seated in the front row at the Mercedes Benz Madrid. That excited me a lot. Like my first exhibition of paintings when I saw them hanging, I began to cry, as I would never have imagined that paintings like these would come out of me. 2018 was an energetically very strong year for me and I think it was the turning point, because I was a finalist in one of the most prestigious competitions worldwide and on the other hand I had my first exhibition of significant works, “All the lovers” and I’m very excited that the course went like that …

ElaFidalgo Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

Powerful Female Presence

Tell me about the strong female presence in your works. What is your message?

EF- For me, the female presence is part of my universe because historically, in my family, women have had a prominent position. Intelligent, passionate, creative, and independent women. Brave and kind women, apart from that for me, the female is linked to creation and creativity. Creativity, in my opinion, arises from the gestation of ideas, knowledge, and passions, just as a woman gestates for nine months and give birth, gives a life. If I had to choose between the body of the man and that of the woman, I would choose the body of the woman. Not because it seems less beautiful than that of the man, but for me, the woman is synonymous with absolute beauty. I feel a genuine admiration for women. In many of my works, stories, and dreams, events happen with women. Many colleagues and friends ask me if my works are self-portraits. The truth is that I do not do it with that intention, but I notice that certain features are repeated in the pictures. I do not know if it is just my of my way of drawing. I still have to discover the message.

“Great things happen in small places because of the need to survive. “

How did coming from a small town give you big dreams?

EF- Well, I was born in Mallorca, a magical island of the Mediterranean. I think the islands have a unique energy. On my island; there have been people as big as Miguel Barceló, Miguel Adrover, and Joan Miró lived for there many years throughout his life; also, the poet Rubén Darío was in love with the island, and Chopin wrote his best works when he lived in Mallorca.

Mallorca is the perfect hiding place for many celebrities during the summer because Mallorca is enigmatic and has that mystery where you can get lost. Nature is wild but romantic, so the island has a creative gene and a lot of artistic essences. Great things happen in small places, because of the need to survive. Since I was a child, my parents have taught me always to think big, having my feet on the ground, but knowing that we are what we dream of, and if I dreamed strongly about something, it would be fulfilled. And that has always been my mentality in my projects or in facing situations in life..

 

ElaFidalgo Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

“Imagination is like magic to me.”

How Does painting feeds your creative spirit differently than creating clothing. Do you feel like a different person when you paint, sew, then when you write?

EF- I have different rituals, especially how I feel when working on each of these things. The reality is that between them, there is a common thread and a universe, but the creation process is different in each of them. For example, when I write, it is because I have previously been reading several books at once, and once I think about some concept or something that corrodes me inside is when I start writing. When I make fashion collections, it is really easy for me to create that world of “Fantasy.” Imagination is like magic to me.

On the other hand, when I face a blank canvas, in the beginning, it gives me respect and fear, doubt, uncertainty, and when I start sketching the beginning, I go little by little, and then everything starts to flow. I imagine the story, and in the meantime, think about the colors, and I create choreography with them. Each process for my emotional level is different, and the sensations are all different from each other.

 

ElaFidalgo Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

Photo by:Tatiana Chausovsky courtesy of Gerhardt Braun Gallery

How is the art scene is different for you than the fashion scene or is it a similar experience?

EF- For me, there is no difference because it is my way of seeing the world; it is my universe. Each one of the disciplines that I work within is within me; therefore, for me, it would be a kind of need for expression. It would depend on what I have to my reach. If I feel like writing because I need to clear my mind and develop concepts, I write. If I need to relax and concentrate or get excited, I paint. If I have fabrics, I may feel like creating a collection. I believe very much in the transversal disciplines. Although they seem different, each one of them complements each other. I work in fashion; I write poems or paint. I also do textile installations and work in collaborative projects with crafts or innovation, and education. Everything is part of me..

A special thank s to the Gerhardt Braun Gallery Mallorca for art images. You can follow Ela on Instagram

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