Elena Boils is a freelance illustrator hailing from Oaxaca, Mexico who is currently based in London. Educated at University College Falmouth, Boils' work is a mixture of both digital and hand created images. Inspired by the physical space around her, Boils has a knack for interpreting her environment in her own unique style. We spoke to the illustrator about some of our favourite series from her body of work and her fascination for Japan.
"I have been a freelance illustrator for five years, living and working between London and Oaxaca, Mexico. I was born in Mexico but I'm half English so I've always been in between these two countries. I knew that I wanted to do art as far as I can remember. I've always loved to draw and paint, and weirdly enough my favourite thing to draw were people, which is odd because now I really tend to avoid figures in my work. I have so many boxes of drawings of characters; hopefully one day they'll re surface into my work. When it came time to choosing a subject at University, I saw the illustration course and thought that was exactly what I wanted, and so far I've pretty much stuck to it, with occasional thoughts of doing a PhD in Philosophy."
"I like to not look directly at illustration for inspiration, it's nice to go to other disciplines, like film or architecture. If I get really blocked it's good to get out of it, sometimes this is hard with tight deadlines, but if there is time I find it's good to just forget the work for one day and do something different; see an exhibition, go for a walk, etc. and then come back to it with a fresh view. I love to read, go for walks and the occasional run. Sometimes it's really nice just to take a whole day and wonder round the city." Boils also talked about a few of her favourite artists including Carlos Merida (who is no longer living) and the contemporary works of Cynthia Kittler, Cristina Daura, Laura Callaghan, Eleanor Taylor.
When we discovered Boils' work, we were fascinated by her simple yet bold depictions of how she sees her surroundings. Chairs (above), Museums and Japan (below) are some examples of her vibrant illustrations. Her Museum series started from the idea of a museum of windows where people are just looking out of windows. "There was something quite humorous in this, then I thought it would be nice to create a series of unlikely museums. It really made me think about what we choose to display and why." Her playful approach to the topic of museums is what makes the series a really fun one.
Boils' visual diary of a month spent in residence in Itoshima, Japan shows off her illustrated interpretation of the environment, showing a clear fascination for the country; "It was a number of things. I think initially it was the radical difference I was expecting to encounter, because I grew up in Mexico which is completely on the other side of the world and the cultures are so very different. I also have always been inspired by Japanese craft and design, especially their print making." With an impressive body of work and having worked for clients like Urban Outfitters, Wrap Magazine, Timberland and many more, there's only many more incredible illustrations to come from Boils. She is also currently working on some food/still life illustrations and wishes to start a few personal projects involving more narratives which we're very excited to see.