Art & Design

Artist adds Queen in face mask to collection

An artist who started making colourful, pop-art inspired works to deal with post-natal depression has added a painting of the Queen wearing a face mask to her series during lockdown.

Emelie Hryhoruk said the picture, called We Will Meet Again, “highlights vulnerabilities alongside powerful traits” and “shows everyone is vulnerable no matter who they are”.

She is offering free paints and other art materials to families living near her studio in Corsham, Wiltshire, to help them deal with feeling scared during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Hryhoruk created this piece, entitled I Am Strong, while dealing with post-natal depression

“When I paint, I am fully absorbed in the moment and the feelings this promotes. On reflection, the process is what brought me out of my depression.

“No matter how dark your life is, the colour will always come back – the radiance of the colours I choose to work with lift me and instil positive feelings and calm.”

The paintings are a departure from the seascapes and yacht portraits she was producing before

Hryhoruk said she knew things were “not right” after the birth of her first son, Charlie, in 2009, and the feelings worsened after her second, Isaac, arrived in 2013. She said she “resented him” and fell into “dark times straight away”.

She said having post-natal depression left her feeling “lost, scared and angry” and led her to “throw down the brightest colours” to escape the “black cloud that was smothering me”.

When she drew a portrait of Wonder Woman after seeing the film, she saw her creation as “a reflection of my inner self – strong yet broken”.

“On that day I realised something had happened to me and that the black cloud had lifted enough to shed some light.”

Emelie was inspired to draw a portrait of Wonder Woman three years after her youngest son, Isaac, was born

Over the next few years she sought counselling and help from Mind and the Samaritans, while creating The Empowered Collection.

The works, done using spray paint, have been exhibited at the home of Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason for his Open Garden Event, the Peacock Arts Trail, and the Saatchi Art Gallery.

Ms Hryhoruk shares her work on social media where she say the reaction “has been powerful”

Her work using art to raise awareness of mental health has led her to win a business award from Theo Paphitis

She has printed the series, which is a departure from the seascapes and yacht portraits she used to produce, on to T-shirts to raise money and awareness for charities including Mind and Wiltshire Hospice Dorothy House. Profits will also be donated to NHS Charities Together.

“I hope the [images] help people tap into their own inner superhero to find their strength,” she said.