I had a dream when I was a little girl to be an artist. I loved art. I didn’t have the courage to do it. Elena Bond, international artist from Russia did, even after overcoming challenges that most have never experienced. For our Women’s issue, I wanted to highlight a trail blazer, inspirational woman artist. Here is Elena’s story. It inspired me and I hope it inspires you, the women, and girls in your family too.
Elena Bond, born in Russia, was exposed to art as a child, while playing with her grandfather’s brushes, who was an artist. “He saw something in me.”, says Elena. “There were no fancy toys.” He gave Elena her first drawing and art lessons. The seed was planted. Elena discovered what her life’s passion would be, regardless of the unknown challenges coming her way. Elena’s stepfather was a military doctor which caused them to move every year, making Elena self-sufficient, an introvert, with a younger sister 10 years younger, and unable to make long term friends. He encouraged her to follow medicine. Her mother was a pianist. She understood the arts. They agreed, if Elena were admitted to Art School, they would support her dream. Otherwise, medical school would be her path. Art School won, and those that collect her art today are incredibly grateful!
They lived in Germany too, which allowed Elena to experience a different culture, architecture, economy and more. Elena lived difficult challenges in Russia as well as the collapse of the Soviet Union. She married, had two daughters, and realized she couldn’t be an artist in a corrupt political environment. “I understood I would not be able to do art here. It was not safe.” The godsent, they participated in 1998 for a Green Card lottery and got it. In April of 1999, with no funds, nowhere to live, and didn’t speak a word of English, Elena, her husband and her two little girls came to the United States. “An old classmate helped us adjust…he even taught us how to write checks”. “I worked at Marshalls and was very happy. I felt I can do something with my life”, Elena noted. She attended college to learn English and while there, was going to pursue being a Nurse’s Assistant. That night, she had a nightmare, that she was standing in front of a canvas and could not paint. “No more Art” Elena shared with me, “I felt a part of me just died.” “I decided to try one last time. I went to art shows, to see what I can do.” “I work with a palette and knives, not brushes.” She didn’t see this in the art scene. “Only 2% of the art was painted using knives, and I can do it better!”, “I started meeting people in art who helped me.” Elena’s advice for an aspiring female artist, “Any girl who has a dream can do it!” “I am very normal…it’s how you paint…not how you look.” “If you want something, just do it! Even if you fail a few times, we learn from our mistakes.” “If you have a goal in your head, take little steps every day to get there. It works.” Elena’s unique knives art technique, and passion to capture the emotions of a place or event, comes through the canvas. Her art in person, draws you into the emotions you felt of familiar places, like a café in Paris, a rainy afternoon in London, a peaceful coastal seen with sailboats, or the power and intensity of a racehorse, to the passion and expression of a Flamenco dancer.
Elena Bond is an artist, mother, role model, and a true inspiration. Elena’s advice on how to live your best life. “Be a child, a dreamer. Try to be happy in any phase of your life. Happiness…you can find it anywhere. Sit at a different angle…change your perspective.” I invite you to meet Elena at a show and experience her love for life through her art, at the Short Hills Wentworth Gallery. You will love Elena Bond as much as I do! www.wentworthgallery.com