Ellen Sheidlin is an artist who creates paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations in her own style. Ellen has a wide international audience of 4.4 million followers on Instagram and her creations have been exhibited in London, Tokyo, Florence, Paris, Palermo, New York, Venice, St Petersburg and Moscow.

Ellen, you are creating an immersive art show at Art in Space Dubai, your first solo NFT exhibition in the region. How did your creative process look like, what was your inspiration and what do you wish to transmit to your audience with these works?

My way of creating a “fantasy constellation” has been formed quite recently, as I close my eyes and chaotically scatter my hand in different directions, I draw a pencil on paper, this hand dance takes literally a minute, my subconscious dictates the trajectory leaving me free of the mind. Then in the created chaos I make sense of the form, I search for its experience, turning on the creation again I apply a different type of thinking, I anchor my soul in the shackles of the material world, I survirtualize the disorder.

I perceive from within, external forces are rarely the source of inspiration, all my creativity has found strength through the acceptance of my true nature. I believe there is an invisible, inexhaustible creative force that underpins life, and permeates, and inspires all beings on the Earth, and I believe I have found a way to tap into it. Now I aspire to tell you!

Now, let’s talk a bit about you as an artist. How did you first come to visual art, and what eventually led you to digital art?

My path is reversed, I am a digital child, I had no art classes, I never thought I was capable of creating and being an artist, I just expressed myself through photographs on the internet, first using my outer shell and thereby attracting attention, and then as I developed the technique I felt the strongest desire to explore academic forms of art.

My first exhibition was called “home coming” where through a metaphorical form I was describing the pain and fear I was going through in changing the environment around me, literally submerging myself in an ocean where I had to grow gills and learn to breathe again. Once I had settled in and felt safe in the real world of galleries, curators, critics and art festivals, I began to combine approaches, injecting new strands of digital, analogue and fantasy into the production.

 What new opportunities did digital art bring to you?

Once again, a question that confronts me with the reverse order, where the digital was the very ancestral nest from which I raised my creative child.

But if you think about it a bit, the world with the advent of digital expression has acquired a speed, not only of creation but also of expansion. That early observation and cultural coding comes from social media, image storage platforms, Japanese animation, American films and TV series and so the medium is completely different from past generations, they speak different visual languages because they are the product of different eras.

In traditional art history, we witnessed significant gender inequality, where works by female artists were being overviewed for centuries and not given the same platform in museums as those of male artists. Do you find the realm of digital art is more equal in this regard?

It depends on what criteria of equality we are looking at. If “attention” as a property, then collaborative networks have removed the filter in the form of the media, art institutions, critics and the state, now everyone regardless of Herder has the right to be chosen by millions. If we look at the capitalist market rules, everything is the same there as before without significant changes – men and their paintings are dozens of times more expensive on average than women’s and the gender differences have not disappeared anywhere. In the NFT sphere there are a huge number of female or gender diverse kinds of festivals, exhibitions and movements, but it is too early to judge, in my opinion, more time is needed to evaluate.

 Which topics do you enjoy exploring the most through your art?

The theme of sincerity, keeping one’s creative child, the fragility of consciousness when growing up stifles imagination, fossilising the soul and rediscovering its flexibility. I participate a lot in festivals against cyber and reality bullying, where children’s minds are traumatised and they will need to re-trust the world and especially themselves. I want to talk about the trivial, but the most important thing – love for yourself and the world, trust and courage to be your true self.

 Do you think NFTs will eventually surpass traditional mediums of visual art?

No, I believe there will be a transformation, a merging of everything into a single aspect of creativity, I believe that in the new world there is a place for every form of art. For me, tradition seems to be the root, the fundamental property of the creative tool I use in painting and sculpture, both digital and physical.

What is your take on the Metaverse and how do you think it is going to change our lives?

Web3 is a technological Eden, that Paradise Garden from the Bible where there is endless sweet fruit, eternal bliss without violence and cruelty, without government and taxes. There will be room for everyone, reality will succumb to its possibilities and saturation, human beings will immerse themselves there partially at first, but in time they will leave without a trace.

 You are the ideologist of a new direction in art — survirtualism. Can you tell us more about it and what it means to you?

I think I’ve told you in previous answers

You came to Dubai in person to open the show.  Dubai is a unique city, modern and forward-looking, but also closely linked to its cultural heritage.  How does that affect you as an artist?

Dubai is the clearest example of what happens to an economy when there is no fear of the new, when people’s ambitions are free to reach for the clouds like skyscrapers, yet it has the wisdom to preserve traditions and customs without changing the fundamental structure, to keep that root.