Elia Sommerlad

published January 20th, 2021

A kind look into one of the many collage artists in the contemporary art world.

Polyglot, with a creative mindset and a deep understanding of multicultural interactions and settings, I enjoy working on cross-cultural art projects and thrive in stimulating environments that are continually evolving. I look at the world through an international storyteller's lens.

I am originally Italian, born in Fiesole, a charming town in Tuscany; I have lived all around the world since birth. Some of the places I call home include Frankfurt (Germany), Montreal (Canada), Hong Kong (HK), Beijing & Shanghai (China), London (UK), and Paris (France). As such, I think of myself as a World Baby. My educational and professional background is also very diverse. I focused on Political Sciences, Philosophy, and East Asian Studies in my undergraduate degree and went on to study Communication and Media in my dual master's degree. I've worked as a designer and business developer at Nature Squared, a leading sustainable material surfaces company geared towards luxury brands, and later took on a role as a user experience designer and consultant at the Experience Centre of PwC in Paris. Currently, I am working as a self-employed writer working on an exciting book project that is now in the final stages of editing. I do not believe, however, that these roles in any way define me holistically as a person. My many travels, my love for theatre, music, and the visual arts are equally important influences.

If I had to describe myself in a couple of sentences, I would say: I am a young woman whose mind is overflowing with thoughts, feelings. I am driven to create by my desire to give voice to my very own human-ness, leave a trace, and break boundaries instead of building them

My art mostly revolves around topics that are very important to me—the sanctity of nature, the egoless soul, innocent childhood and the fantastical. I believe that fantasies become real when we give expressions to them. Generally, speaking I’d say these are my Leitmotiv’s. Every piece, however, expresses a particular state of mind that I’m currently in.

To be honest, most of the time, I just let my subconscious take over and tell the story I need to express in that very moment. The end result surprises me every time. I laugh sometimes and think to myself, ‘who made this?’

Collaging came naturally to me. Concepts or ideas are in themselves collages. They are made up of a myriad of influences. Collage thus allows me to express the many different parts that constitute an idea. I think of it as a metaphor to describe the multiplicity of reality—the different perspectives, influences, emotions, etc.

Elia Sommerlad - The Huts Magazine

It is also a way for me to combine many of my passions, including photography, painting, communication, and storytelling. As mentioned above, my background is very diverse. Collaging reflects both my interior multiplicity and the intrinsic multiplicity of life itself

When COVID started, a dear friend of mine, a painter, challenged me to paint a painting for forty days and I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't stop once the challenge was over. When I was in high school, I loved to draw and even took painting classes. With time, however, this hobby of mine faded into the background. Through my friend's challenge, I reconnected with this passion, and now I can't seem to get enough of it.

I mainly paint stylized portraits using soft pastels, charcoal, watercolors, and acrylic. Therefore, each painting is also a kind of collage —using different techniques, colors, and materials to express the contradictive nature of reality.

I'm also an absolute lover of photography. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am one with my camera. I've been photographing since forever and I see it as a kind of therapy. When we photograph, we pay more attention to the world around us.

Photography allows me to practice awareness. I thank the photographic medium for sharpening and enriching my every day.

I choose to populate my free time with long walks in nature, yoga, reading, photography, writing, singing, and spending quality time with my loved ones. Currently I’m doing my all to turn my passions into my work—the line between the two is blurring. Obviously, nobody is 100% productive all of the time, so the occasional Netflix binge does occur.

As mentioned previously, I am currently working on a book project that will also feature some of my collage work. It is a fiction novel—a cross between the Little Prince and Narnia that aims to speak to the inner child in all of us. I am also working on a new series of paintings that strive to merge the fantastic with the everyday.

Elia Sommerlad - The Huts Magazine

Explore Elia’s art on her Instagram page @natural_pantone

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