Lena Damvar is an artist of many talents. A blank canvas begs her to make it something different. She is a painter who loves to explore with different mediums; whether it’s glass, canvas or maybe even your garage floor. From tediously drawn tribal designs to playful ceramic pigs, Lena’s art is inspired. By what, you ask? Let’s find out in a Q&A with Austin Fusion Magazine:
AFM: Let’s start with your brand. Where does your logo come from?
LD: The moon and stars were my first tattoo from when I was 18, and represents the Crone Moon Goddess. The period between the full moon and new moon cycles is the waning moon, characterized by the Crone. The Moon Goddess that represents this cycle is the Crone. She is a wise woman – calm, peaceful, and happy. I love getting older; it gives me license to do whatever I want to do. My brand as an artist encompasses all of this. Instead of signing my art, sometimes I incorporate my moon and stars, and its hidden in all my swirl designs.
AFM: What inspires you?
LD: A lot inspires me. I am very inspired by sand mandalas. These are intricate colored sand designs unique to Tibetan Buddhists. They painstakingly create these very intricate pieces of art on the beach only to be swept away with the tide. I am attracted to the impermanence of art.
AFM: Can you elaborate on how impermanence can be an inspiration?
LD: In the house that I am staying in right now, I changed the garage into a piece of art. I painted a
nautical-inspired compass on the garage floor. Even if a car were to drive on it, scuff it up & stain it – I think the more worn it gets, the more beautiful it becomes. I am also painting the back windows for some additional privacy and beauty. One side is the sun, and the other is “my” moon and stars.I am etching lines into it to make it look like stained glass. This house has foundation issues though, so it very well might be that the garage floor is torn up and the windows replaced. But that almost makes the hard work worth even more – to see the beauty in it right now, not when it’s all fixed up and nice.
AFM: Tell me more about what inspires you. You have such a wide variety of paintings.
LD: I love henna. Whenever I am in a slump, I just look through henna, and it gets me going. I like being out in nature, and as odd as it sounds, I am a big fan of decay. I like to create new things out of it. Once I saw a dead tree stump and inside of it a new tree was growing, splitting it right down the middle. I thought that was so cool. I like ponds created from the rain, because I know they won’t be there long. I love things that are disappearing or have that aesthetic, like dripping paint.
AFM: When are you in your element?
LD: After 10 p.m. I am a total night owl. I can sit all evening trying to get the right image down, and if I take a break and come back to it at midnight, I can paint till morning. At night I come alive.
AFM: So when did you realize art would be your career?
LD: After I left the military, I thought to myself ‘I worked really hard, and now I am going to do what I want to do’. I had some practice while I was enlisted. I drew many tattoos for my peers to take home and get inked. I got a boost in my art career when Ysmay of Metroseeker.com helped me to get my website up and featured me as an artist on her website, which is an online residential guide book set up in many cities, including Austin. The site features creatives in art, music, and writing as well. It was awesome to see my work promoted by someone else, and I know I’ve gotten a lot of attention because of it.
AFM: We love to see you growing as an artist. What is on the horizon for you?
LD: I will continue to make my “tribal paisley” designs in black and white, draw mosaics and paint on glass. I am currently designing a tattoo. It is for myself – which makes it really hard. I am attempting to make fire in the style of Henna. Henna has really soft lines and is flowery. I’m trying to keep the feel of Henna, but incorporate harder and bolder lines to represent fire. It will be very unique and I can’t wait to get it done.
But beyond the present, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I try to make plans, and sometimes they work out; but usually I end up sabotaging it somehow and wind up winging it anyway. I would love to do more murals in homes, and especially on floors- garages and porches. Other than that, I am grateful for how far I’ve come these past few months, and love every minute I can spend creating something.
By Chonie Bradley (email@example.com)
Photos By Kim Woo
Makeup: Pati Curie