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SERENA DZENIS

-Serena, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today, both personally and as an artist.
 

When I was very young, my mother gave me a disposable camera to take with me on my first school camp, which led to an ongoing fascination with taking pictures. During this camp, I attempted to photograph penguins returning to their burrows in the dark. We weren't allowed to use flash and needless to say, all of the photos were completely underexposed! I wasn't allowed to touch a camera again for many years. This only served to pique my curiosity so I spent most of my adolescent years saving up for a proper camera that I would go on to teach myself how to use.

 

When I grew older, I began moonlighting as a music, events and documentary photographer whilst spending my days as a full-time mental health clinician. After just over a decade of working on a psychiatric crisis assessment and treatment team, I reduced my hours to focus on doing photography instead. One thing led to another and soon, I found myself moving overseas – first to Germany and then the Netherlands, before settling in Iceland where I have now lived for the past few years.

 

Travelling inspired me to weave stories into my work though it wasn't until I stopped moving that I was able to delve deeper into understanding how to use my art to explore the many ideas that I constantly have floating around in my head.

-What are the questions that drive your work?

I have a deep-seated interest in science, which influences a lot of my work. The driving force beneath that is a yearning to find a place in the Universe.

 

A lot of my art has an emphasis on connecting with everything around us, exploring the idea that we are not just part of nature but part of everything as a whole. I think a lot about the particles that make up our bodies, the materials around us that have come from the stars, where we might have come from and where we might be going from here.

 

For me, there is endless fascination in contemplating human nature and how we will continue to exist on Earth or even on a planet that we might colonise in the future. Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge and I firmly believe that the human ability to wonder about our own existence is a wonderful source for creativity.

-How do you translate your artistic style?
 

My style pays homage to sci-fi culture, representing the relationship between reality and what might eventually be. I enjoy taking relatively mundane scenes that people might often ignore in their day-to-day lives and transforming them into futuristic yet reasonably down-to-earth environments. I think pastel colours are often associated with synthwave science-fiction film soundtracks from the 80s so I like to use these colour palettes to invoke a sense of dreaming about a time that is yet to come.