What inspired the name of your business?
As an artist I picked my own name for my business, which seemed natural and organic. I also loved the idea that when people see my artwork or stationery, they would connect to me personally and feel my soul behind it all.
What is the story behind why you started your business?
I remember myself painting and drawing from very small age - in kindergarten, then elementary school. One summer day during the school holidays when I was 10 years old, my mom came into my room. I was painting by myself, as usual, and she looked at me suspiciously and said: "Come on, get dressed. We are going to sign you up for art school!" This is how it all officially started. I never really planned to start a business but I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a creative entrepreneur.
What is the dream that you wish to fund through your business?
You can see that my main inspiration is nature and all the beautiful creatures that inhabit the lands and waters. I support a local organization called Lifeforce Foundation, where I send a percentage of my revenue. I especially look deeply into the issues we are having here with orca whales. Last fall I did a project I named Whale A Day – the whole month of October I was painting a whale or a group of whales. I’m planning to exhibit all 30 artworks this year and donate all the proceeds we can collect from sales.
What are you most proud of about your business?
I’m proud of the big and small achievements because they led me to the place where I am at the moment. There is still so much room to grow as a person and an artist. I guess the biggest one so far is finishing my 9 by 9 feet Vancouver Map and having it exhibited at the Museum of Vancouver. Even if my mother would tell me that would happen 7 years ago (while I was still in Russia), I would not believe her!
How have you grown as a person as a result of your business?
Every road is full of obstacles, and my path is not any different. I’ve been facing ups and downs on my way, which only made me stronger. There are still times where I doubt myself and my abilities and thinking of giving up, but then the Universe sends a message to me through someone with a request for a custom painting or just a heart emoji on Instagram under one of my paintings. This gives me so much energy to keep going, and I’m thankful for that!
What difference does your art make in your life, and your family’s life?
First of all, it makes my walls filled with paintings and the carpet in my art room covered with spilled colour marks everywhere ☺ Other than that, I’m trying to spend all the time I have raising my baby boy, and paint and run my business while he is sleeping. Early bed time helps a lot! My husband and I are very grateful that I’m working from home and focusing on our child first. Everything else can wait!
If you could say one thing to the person that buys and/or enjoys your art, what would it be?
Thank you!! Thank you for your support of my artwork and my dreams, thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow more and inspire people around me!
Why do you love being a part of Giving Gifts?
It also feels like home, where every piece is loved and cared for. I feel so honoured to be a part of Giving Gifts and have my artwork among the other unique and beautiful creations!
Why we love having Elena Markelova at Giving Gifts:
Elena's paintings immediately say "west coast", and we love the element of nature that it brings to the store. You can see Elena's passion for animals very clearly in the carefully executed images she creates. We also especially love how she supports a charitable organization with her sales! Her paintings make the perfect gift for anyone visiting or living in and around Vancouver. See our collection of her work here.