life-long resident of Vancouver, Canada, Elaine (also known
as "Valerian") received her formal arts training at the
Emily Carr Institute of
Art and Design, where she graduated from the four-year Studio
Diploma Program in 1991. At the age of 39, she has already attained
a level of public success. She participated in Vancouver Step
Magazine's 'New Urban Street Art' benefit project for AIDS Vancouver,
working alongside such local artists as 12 Midnite and Joe Average,
and was recently featured
in New York's Art Business News magazine in an article on
emerging artists. Her works have been on display in many different
institutions, including the Level II Gallery in North Vancouver,
the Delta Arts Council Gallery, the BC Festival of the Arts, the
Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre Gallery,
and Gastown's Ironworks Studio. However, her preference has been
to exhibit in trendy cafés and cabarets about town, where
her subject matter and target audience spends most of its time.
Some of these Vancouver venues have been the SoHo Café, the
Arts Club Lounge, Spirals Cabaret, and Stages Cocktail Lounge.
focus in art school was figurative painting, inspired by unusual-looking
models from the pages of European fashion magazines. Eccentricity
has always been a motivating force for Foster, whose involvement
in alternative urban subculture has been a way of life for more
than 20 years. Her early paintings of strong, moody, strangely beautiful
women reflect both an aura of aloof elegance, and nostalgic romance.
More recently, her driving force has been the unseen beauty of Vancouver's
urban nightlife. Although these images are portraits of the local
underground club scene, they still posses that detached strength
her earlier subjects displayed.
Dearborn, editor/publisher of Vancouver Step Magazine described
Elaine's paintings as "reminiscent of French poster art of
the 1920's". They are representative of her passion for the
café-bar/coffee house atmosphere. An atmosphere that is currently
enjoying a kind of renaissance; café culture seems to be
multiplying in North American metropolises at a feverish pace. Foster
has also always had a strong interest in alternative nightclub life.
Her fascination with the Gothic subculture adds a dark tinge to
her work (according to Jenny Sherman, Assistant Editor of Art
Business News magazine, Foster "fuses seemingly discordant
themes to render her images"), giving it a subtle edginess
not frequently seen in portrait painting.
her female subjects, Elaine's nickname "Valerian" reveals
a subtle coyness; the name was derived from the valerian plant,
the root from which is used in homeopathic medicine to reduce anxiety
and facilitate sleep - basically, a kind of sedative. Although perhaps
this coyness is more contemplative, as the confident but demure
faces of her female portraits suggest.
received certification from the Professional
Picture Framers' Association in 1999. She worked as a custom
picture framer for over 12 years, preserving fine art for high-end
privately owned galleries. She recently started her own fashion
accessories business, called "Art of Adornment", featuring
hand-crafted Victorian and Gothic-influenced jewelry and accessories.
Her elaborate beaded necklaces, chandelier earrings, feathered top
hats and découpage wood box handbags are available for purchase
over the internet at Art of Adornment.