• Natan Elkanovich. A man of many secrets. By day he works at some of the most prestigious TV sets as a costume designer and on his own time he creates some of the most breath taking drawings I have ever seen. To tell you the truth, I fully understood the extent of his work when I saw this wonder at his studio. There is nothing like it. A picture with a texture is not a common thing where I come from… Natan knows how to draw you into his artistic world in no time, I’ll let him do the talking.
    {A DesignBreak by Sivan Askayo}

I’d love to hear about you, your journey, how it all began.
I was born in Moldova (former USSR) in 1966 and migrated to Israel with my family when I was 10. I was drawn to sketching and painting from an early age and all I’ve learned is self taught. I studied Fashion Design at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and after my graduation (1993) I began my career as a costume designer for movies and TV productions. At the same time I developed my unique painting techniques and gradually, my childhood hobby turned into a full time career as an International Pop Art artist, who sells his art and exhibits in Israel, USA and Europe.
Can you describe your work process for me?
I base my paintings on photo’s, whether it’s me who took them or other photographers. After picking the photo, I make some arrangements on it, until I’m satisfied with the result and then I draw it on canvas. When it’s ready, I apply my technique on the drawing. The technique I’ve developed creates a 3D texture on the canvas. I mix kinds of plastic materials blended with silicone and acrylic, then I sprinkle it on the surface. After it dries out, the material becomes very rigid and firmly attached to the canvas. Looking at me working, may resemble a pastry chef in the process of decorating a cake.
During my childhood I spent a lot of time in our kitchen with my mom. In the process of painting, besides brushes, I use kitchen tools to apply my technique with. I guess my deep roots in the kitchen explain that.
Which materials do you work with?
Aside from silicone and acrylic, I also attach Swarovski Elements to some of my paintings, combined with all kinds of glitters. This adds a great deal of GLAM to the final result.
What is the most unusual piece you have ever painted?
I think one of the most unusual piece I did was by a request of a gentleman who asked me to paint his beloved Peg dog on a huge 100 square feet canvas, with the addition of a shining collar ornamented with Swarovski Elements.
What’s next? What is your dream?
I’m working non-stop, and I hope it will never end. I’m open to expand new horizons. Recently, Laneus, an art rug company, approached me with the idea of making artistic rugs based on my paintings. We launched our collaboration with a Marilyn Monroe rug, which is exhibited these days in a rugs exhibition in Germany. I’d love to do more in this field and would love to see my paintings on home décor products.
My dream is to go on painting as much as I can. To bring more beauty to the world. To be a messenger of love through my paintings. Of course, a solo exhibition at the MoMA or at Tate Modern will be warmly accepted.
I’m curious to know where does your inspiration come from?
In a practical level, I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’m very curious person and interested in a lot of fields beside art. I leave my eyes and mind open and ideas sometimes come from little things I see, that have nothing in common with art. People intrigue me and at the same time inspire me. That’s why I paint mostly humans.
Can you tell me which painters inspire you?
A lot… Van-Gogh, Pissarro, Monet, Michelangelo, Durer, Escher, Dali, Picasso, Lichtenstein, Raushenberg, and many more. Visualy, I’m inspired mostly by Andy Warhol, and with my 3D texture technique I’m moving this visual forward. At first glance my work is comparable to his, but I would like to point out that unlike Andy Warhol, who painted celebrities in order to reflect for the masses their shallowness by pursuing fame and famous personas, my paintings all come from great appreciation and personal gratitude to the painted figure, and not out of an attempt to educate or preach any message other than the message of love and beauty.
What about some web sites and blogs that you visit regularly?
I love cinema and I visit IMDb and Box Office Prophets regularly. I don’t read newspapers, so I get updated with the current events on the internet. I love web sites where I can get updated about what is going on in the fields of art, history, music, science, sport and many more.
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do?
I`d probably spend it on something I usually don`t have the time for, like watching TV. I can imagine myself watching an episode of LOST on every 25th. hour of the day. I never had the time to see it and many other great series and films shown on TV.
And finally, What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
An old friend told me twenty years ago: First chance never comes a second time. I took it as a motto for my life and I’m open to everything that life is bringing, if something comes my way, I go forward towards it with open arms and without fear. I hate the feeling of frustration you get, when you don’t act immediately when opportunity presents itself, and you feel that you missed something good because you were too shy or afraid to approach it. Following this advice, Ive trained myself to ignore fear and shyness and to take every first chance that comes my way and make the best of it. Life is much more joyful, interesting and full of surprises this way.