We recently caught up with Elena Gileva, Fine Arts class of ’13.
In a few sentences, tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating?
I am currently continuing my education. I will be graduating with an MA degree from Royal College of Art, UK in Ceramics and Glass this June 2016. It was a big decision to take my education a step further.
Tell us about this new chapter in your life.
It came after a time of independent work in the studio, varied jobs in the arts in an attempt to find my place. Traveling to Japan for an artist residency was when I realized that I wanted to have a different focus in my work and develop my career in a different direction.
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced?
To keep ones focus, trust in your abilities, and staying strong in your beliefs. When you are a recent graduate, it is so easy to be swayed from your initial ideals by the real world and the necessities it imposes on you.
What classes or projects in school have helped you overcome some of these challenges?
I can’t pinpoint exact instances or examples, but the diversity of the challenges coming at you semester after semester, year after year gives you the platform for your final year and hopefully life after.
What advice would you give to people thinking of going into art and design in higher education?
Be ready to put all you’ve got into it. Think twice why you are doing it – realize it is for yourself, your ambitions and persevere because no one else will do it for you. That is the only way I believe one can stay strong and become successful and satisfied with what they are doing.
Where do you get your inspiration and motivation from?
Inspiration and motivation are very different things, and despite the romanticized idea of the artist, one mainly has to persevere with motivation. Inspiration in turn is no less valuable but more fleeting; it comes from all around you – from people you love or a great visit to a museum.
What advice would you give to students thinking of starting their own projects or continuing their education?
Perseverance! Believe in your own abilities and strengths. Be patient and work hard – even the most effortless looking things take a lot of work.
Follow Elena and her work!