2021: Interview by Luca Curci in THE ROOM


2017: I took part at the Anima Mundi Art Festival / Visions in Venice by Its Liquid


2019: My Interview in Artist Spotlight, Dutch artists art magazine, Kunstenaars Magazine.Issue 96


ART pieces

The artist struggling with matter.

By Jurjen K. van der Hoek, free-lance journalist, collection - and project management at Museum Belvédère, Heerenveen.

"I work the way I am," she tells me about a cup of coffee. She finds me on Facebook because I accidentally end up in her digital circle of friends. At my invitation, she travels from the heated west to the calm north. She tells me so much more at the table in the cafe, because she wants to get rid of everything - about herself, about her work, about the art climate. Ellen Grael is an artist, artist from the age of eight. She draws a lot and in this way gets a grasp of the technique, her special style of working. The Renaissance style of Italian masters appeals to her. She puts the figure at the center of the work with natural elements behind it. Dynamic and lively, romantic and spontaneous. This is her physically layered work in coal, ink and pastels.

Because I use pastel, I can work quickly, because I don't have to wait for the material to dry. I prefer to be busy with my hands, I want to feel how working flows from the mind into the fingers on the paper. There should not be a brush or brush in between. I want to see movement, make it feel to the viewer. ”

I sympathize with her and see the struggle to record a character in the model. To mirror that it is not easy to be an artist. To live from your imagination, in your feeling. Ellen does not make sketches, but intuitively puts what she has in mind on paper to preserve the spontaneity in the drawing. Of course there is a preconceived plan, a tension to make the right composition.

Her work is also fierce in design, emotionally layered and charged. In words opposed to amateurism in art. All those people who think they are artists and who are destroying the market. So that the artist, like herself, is hardly touched anymore. That grimy echoes through in the drawings. She turns her back on Holland and seeks salvation across the border. Partly supported by the fact that Paris calls. She exhibits less in the Netherlands, is requested by Galerie Sonia Monti.( but not any more )

That is a bit too far away for my gallery visit, so I do it with pictures from her website and photos that she sends me. However, visibility remains two-dimensional, flat and opaque. I miss the feeling of the chalk and the smell of the ink and paper. But I can imagine something with the portraits in the 'being an artist' series. Four are in the Paris gallery. But I can find more on

I see what the artist is struggling with and runs into in the elaboration of reality and fantasy in images: loneliness, concentration, deepening and perseverance. It is a sacred must, for which time and again the power and lust must be brought up. The images must go out, humanity must know. I see that in the looks, the staring eyes. They look ahead, past me. There is no contact, but it does speak. In the future, they are staring, thinking of the next work of art that must take shape. Pondering by inspiration how the fantasy will get what representation. The models are introverted, because the artist is mainly concerned with herself. To make a work that will speak for humanity, for you and me. That process requires a lonely experience, the artist only in conflict with the material. This requires attention, supreme concentration. To get to the hole, the artist immerses himself in the self as a yoga guru who goes out of the world. And to bring the process to a successful conclusion, the artist is unwaveringly determined.

"I am not easily satisfied with my own work. There are perhaps three or four drawings from a few years ago of which I now say: I have taken the right test there. "

Although the portrait, the face of the model-standing artist, is realistic, the environment has an expressive approach. With big strokes and fierce scratches, an image was made of the harsh outside world. The artist in itself is clean and cool, just as the art is pure and has class. But the environment, the imaginary landscape, is threatening, dirty and imperfect. Because the technology in cabbage and chalk creates a dingy and raw character. While the ink is dipped in the grimace and drawn with soft pastel, whereby the white can glow under certain angles of light. The artist is standing in the harsh world.