Stories Through Imagery: How Artist Elise Radzialowski Aspires to Inspire

The award-winning artist strives to foster empathy and compassion in her creative works.

By Jake Herron, Online Editor

Artist Elise Radzialowski takes inspiration from Grimm’s fairy tales in her works. The award-winning illustrator majoring in Painting and Drawing from The University of Akron reclaims fairytale imagery to tell stories of modern persons in sequential paintings, according to her biography.

(Image via Elise Radzialowski)
Artist Elise Radzialowski.

“I use imagery found in fairy tales such as unexpected events, travelers and monsters in human form to narrate personal experiences and observations of isolation,” Radzialowski said.

Her recent narrative work, Depression Introduces Itself,’ depicts an adolescent girl lost in a forest of confusion. Though she is surrounded by shadowy souls, she is unseen by them and unable to communicate. A malevolent spirit of depression, a burnt monster, is the only one who can see her; desperate to be in communion with someone, she allows him to latch upon her, the artist described.

(Image via Elise Radzialowski)
‘Depression Introduces Itself.’

“While my work features young female protagonists, the true protagonist is the viewer,” Radzialowski said.

In creating her works, Radzialowski employs a structured, yet self-revealing process to achieve perfection.

“The watercolor is painted at once slow, meditative and meticulous, then spontaneous and shocking as the water blooms and the medium creates its own provocative visual story,” Radzialowski said. “I research and prepare for a series extensively before beginning; but often as I paint, I am told the true story; as if dictated from the wise pen through the humble scribe.”

(Image via Elise Radzialowski)
Artist Elise Radzialowski creates in her studio.

In telling stories through imagery, Radzialowski said she strives to foster empathy and compassion because the world is desperately in need of both today.

As a recipient of the Folk Charitable Foundation Venice Biennale Study of the Arts Abroad Scholarship, as well as two Dashiell Grants,  Radzialowski contributes much of her success thus far to The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art.

“I’m happy to be an artist-in-training at The University of Akron. I think Myers School of Art has given me the tools to create a decent platform for my professional future,” Radzialowski said.

Through the school, Radzialowski has traveled to Detroit, Mich. and Los Angeles, Calif. to participate in art conferences.

Radzialowski praised her instructors at Myers for helping her to discover her talents, stating the faculty for painting and drawing are “excellent” and continue to encourage her to step outside of her comfort zone.

She also appreciates the art scene in the city at large and is always impressed by the amount of support for the arts and the overall efforts within the arts.

The artist invites all to visit the art school located in Folk Hall to enjoy the works created by students.

“I want to encourage all Akron students to come by the art building every now and then. We have work on the walls every day, and the work is new every week,” Radzialowski said.

Radzialowski’s Honors Research Project will be featured on campus Nov. 8-15.

“I’m creating a series of illustrations on the topic of art school drawing inspiration from the artwork of French comic artists,” Radzialowski said of the upcoming exhibit.

Radzialowski plans to earn a Master’s of Fine Art in Illustration in the near future.

Find more of Elise’s work on her website.