Elk Art

Design / Life

Artist Eleanor Killen creates eye-catching works that tell tales of the land and sea.

Eleanor Killen is a self-professed lover of the ocean. Her intricate artworks reflect this ongoing love affair, which has taken her from the lush, greenness of her childhood home in Victoria, to the coastal town of Exmouth, in WA’s north. Eleanor chats to Fabric about her inspiration, chosen medium and how she followed the sea.


FQ: How did you first get involved with art?

EK: Since I can remember I have loved creating things, whether that be painting, drawing, writing or building things. Beyond where my memory can reach, my folks have photos of me paint splattered or building houses out of boxes. I’ve been very lucky as my mum gave me free reign of her sewing machine and craft cupboard from a young age, which led to me designing and making clothes for my toys and frequently painting when I was young. My dad let me help (or more like hinder) with his building projects around the house. Throughout school I always squeezed art, graphics and ceramics in around maths, science and economics. A strange combo, but it worked. Following study, I moved around a fair bit and the ease of carrying pens around rather than paint slowly brought drawing more into focus for me.


FQ: You have a strong affinity to the sea.  

EK: I grew up in Victoria an hour and a half from the ocean, but was endlessly begging to go to the coast or the local swimming pool. Somehow, as a kid and teenager, I didn’t feel the cold and decided that bathers (or at most a spring wetsuit) would suffice for all seasons. I was fascinated by waves and desperately wanted to surf from a young age. As I got older I learnt more and more about ocean processes and the creatures it contained, endlessly fascinated by the sea as a whole.


FQ: You predominantly work with pen and paper, but that wasn’t always the case?

EK: I’ve only been making art in my current style of layering ink for the past four or five years. Prior to this I thought I was terrible at drawing so avoided it by painting, sculpting, photographing… anything but drawing! I started drawing when I moved to Karratha in 2014. As I had no other mediums to work with, pen and paper was all I had. What is interesting though is that my schoolbooks were endlessly covered in scribbles – no specific objects, just lines and shading, which, when you break down my current style, is basically that. Scribbles, lines and shading, just a tad more organised!


FQ: What inspires your artworks?

EK: I draw inspiration from all sorts of things and often quite unexpectedly. I love the textures and lines in nature and their repetition at different scales. Observing the lines water makes as it finds its way back to the ocean across the sand, a pattern that can also be found looking down from the sky, tributaries, creeks and rivers leaving their mark. I could watch waves and the changing mood of the ocean for days and love the lines which people draw as they fly down a wave. Events in life which bring up emotion are also always a source of inspiration and make me want to purge my feelings onto paper.


Visit – Eleanor Killen Art

www.eleanorkillenart.com – @elk_draws