Nihonga Fusion: Elena Shkvarkina's Contemporary Practice


Nihonga Fusion: Elena Shkvarkina's Contemporary Practice

We are pleased to announce that our team had the honor of meeting with the esteemed artist, Elena Shkvarkina. The encounter provided a unique insight into Shkvarkina's captivating painting process, revealing the seamless integration of traditional pigments and paper into a contemporary artistic expression. 

Elena Shkvarkina approaches her craft with a meditative spirit, emphasising the significance of mounting the paper and grounding the pigment. This deliberate and unhurried process serves as a foundation for her artistic journey, allowing her to refine and enhance her work continuously. Through this intentional approach, Shkvarkina has mastered the art of slow creation, using each moment to elevate her artistic vision.


Born in 1988 in Moscow, Elena Shkvarkina embarked on a diverse professional journey, initially delving into the realms of fashion and graphic design before transitioning to finance. However, her passion for the arts remained a constant force in her life. In 2019, inspired by the vibrant art scene of London, Shkvarkina returned to her artistic roots, specialising in the captivating medium of ink.


Shkvarkina's artistic exploration has led her to develop innovative techniques such asPalimpsest Ink Painting and Particle Ink. In addition to her remarkable artistic contributions, Elena is a dedicated teacher, sharing her expertise with aspiring artists. She has collaborated with prestigious institutions like Cass Art and K2 Academy of Contemporary Jewellery, where she imparts her knowledge of contemporary ink painting and the unique methodologies she has pioneered.


Elena Shkvarkina's focus on contemporary ink painting marks a transformative shift in her artistic journey, guiding her from figurative to abstract expression. Her commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities within the realm of ink painting has garnered well-deserved attention and admiration.


As we celebrate our meeting with Elena Shkvarkina, we look forward to witnessing the continued evolution of her artistic expression and the impact she undoubtedly will have on the art world. Stay tuned for more updates on this dynamic artist and her journey of creativity, innovation, and continuous improvement.

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About Elena Shkvarkina

Elena Shkvarkina (b. 1988 Moscow) is a Nihonga (Japanese style) artist and ink painter who lives and works in London, UK. Practicing the ancient traditions of Nihonga, she prepares paints from pulverised mineral pigments, earths and oyster shells bound with animal glue.

Drawing inspiration from nature, Elena harnesses forces of destruction and regeneration that manifest in the relentless cycles of weathering, erosion, volcanic eruption, and glacial carving. She recreates these elemental events through a distinctive technique that deviates from conventional brushwork. Instead, she embraces strikes, vibrations, and swings, guided by the pull of the gravity itself. Her transient mind scapes offer the viewer an empathetic reflection of self within cyclical patterns of nature.