Elena Grib is an amazing illustrator from Baleal. Her drawings are inspired by the ocean, surfing and the nature that surrounds her. Her illustrator name is »Oh Ocean« , which brings her philosophy on point. We spoke with Elena about life as an illustrator and her life in Portugal.
Hey Elena, since when do you draw and how did »Oh Ocean« started?
I am drawing since I was four or five. I grew up in Russia in an creative environment. As a kid I used to live in a really special town where most of the people worked in the gas industry. All these people travelled a lot and always brought creative things from Europe or America to our small village. You just couldn’t escape the creative vibe! So I started getting into drawing. At some point I had an teacher who taught me how do oil drawings. Eventually I went to an drawing competition and I won! Funnily enough, I won a hairdryer, which I still have and use. That must be some sort of sign.
What inspires you and your illustrations?
When I got to Baleal I had that feeling of being really close to nature. It felt like going back to the roots of life and to feel this pure and real life. In our material world it’s pretty hard to get back to the feeling of what is »true« and what is »real«. It’s hard to get inspired in a world full of technology. Fortunately I had this feeling of purity again when I got here. Everything is just so beautiful in nature, even the really small things like leaves. I found my inspiration in this place and in the nature and the ocean!
What makes Baleal so special to you?
Maybe you felt it too, when you got here. In this place you can just do what you want and what you really like. Probably for the first time in your life. In big cities it is quite easy to be lost. You get distracted all the time.
Can you make a living out of your drawings?
For now, yes! In the beginning of the summer I was working in a surfschool, but for now I finally can live of my drawings, which is amazing. But yeah it is not easy.
Since when do you surf?
I surfed for the first time three years ago when I was in Sri Lanka for some months.
You work with a lot of different materials and techniques. Is there anything you like to do the most?
I think I like it all the most. In my opinion when you create something you are always in a kind of process that you can’t stop. Creativity spreads on everything.
Did you studied art or something else creative?
I studied architechture and I used to work some years for a big company. I really liked that job but at some point I just needed a different surrounding and I got here.
Can you imagine a life without the ocean?
I can say probably not! Maybe one months or a few weeks but not for longer, this would be hard. I would miss something important. And i would miss the freedom that the ocean brings.