20 Questions for Elena Øhlander

Elena Øhlander is an illustrator and painter, currently working in Jacksonville, Florida. She attained her BFA in Photography in 2014, exhibiting her work at national galleries and museums. Hear her in episode 94 of The Path to Authenticity. Click here to see examples of her work. Elena’s focus is in illustration that explores identity, gender issues, space, individuality, and pop culture with a Japanese context. Her main influences are Taiyo Matsumoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Yayoi Kusama, and Yoshitomo Nara.

If your life were a novel, what would be the title?

There’s Enough Noise Going on up There Already

Where were you born?

Duluth, Minnesota

Where is the place you call home?

Jacksonville, Florida

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew very early on that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I may not have known what that was called, but I knew what I wanted to do.

What is your profession?

I am a visual artist working in the medium of mixed media illustration.

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

I would be very inclined to pursue a career in culinary arts.

What is your favorite quote?

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” — Pablo Picasso

What is your preferred form of creative expression?

mixed-media illustration

What is your favorite movie, song, and work of art?

Movie: Your Name (Animated Film) directed by Makoto Shinkai, Song: Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins; Work of Art: Infinity Mirror Rooms by Yayoi Kusama

Who do you admire most?

My daughter — it sounds cliche. But, because I feel I lost most of my childhood, I get to relive with positive experiences through her eyes.

Over the course of your life, what is an issue with which you have repeatedly struggled?

I have struggled with overcoming childhood trauma.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Shephard Fairey

What historical figure would you most like to meet?

Charles Pierre Baudelaire

What natural gift or ability would you most like to possess?

Savant-status linguistic skills

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

In my lifetime: my daughter; In my career: Pilot Pen Collaboration

What quality do you admire most in a person?

Someone who makes time for self care.

What is something you would like to learn about?


What do you wish more people knew about you?

that I am a good listener, but due to my deep empathy for others, it takes a toll. I lack confidence and neglect myself a lot. I need alone time because it helps me recharge and process.

What is your idea of success?

finding happiness

What would you like people to say about you when you’re gone?

that I inspired another to find their calling to change the world

To learn more about Elena, or to purchase her work, visit elenaohlander.com.

The Path to Authenticity is a podcast for people looking for more from life. It focuses on emotional wellness and starts from the premise that our true power comes from our individuality. We talk to various types of writers and artists as well as therapists, coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs, and professionals of all kinds. Our guests possess one common trait. They’re people who know who they are. We talk about what makes them who they are, how they became who they are, and how we might become truer expressions of who we are.




This is the companion publication of The Path to Authenticity podcast.

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Tom Gentry

Tom Gentry

Writer. Father. Podcaster. Addiction Counselor. Recovery Coach. The Path to Authenticity — on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. @the.8th.son @thepathtoauthenticity

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