When Ella Kogan talks about her “people,” she is referring to her sculpture. It’s an appropriate use of the word. Each of her figurative pieces seems to have their own strong, distinct personality. As Kogan speaks about her art, she talks the way she works, with passion and enthusiasm.
From a blog
It is said that “art imitates life” but for Ella Kogan art isn’t about trying to emulate the surface constructs of reality. It’s about probing deeper, underneath the façade… In other words, Ella Kogan isn’t here to paint us a pretty picture. She sculpts to provoke and inspire.
Russian born, New Jersey living sculptor Ella Kogan, challenges what it means to be an artist in the contemporary art world. Vehemently opposed to the absence of meaning and lack of honesty she sees in the world around her, Ella creates works that are startling in their aesthetics, character, and emotional resonance.
She is keen on focus, keen on honesty and passionate about separating herself, Ella Kogan, from the artist-force that sculpts these raw and evocative works of art… It is almost as if the purpose of each sculpture is to communicate with the viewer, to answer questions about its own story. This is the result of one step in the process Ella refers to as "smelling the soul."
Huffington Post Arts & Culture
Mission: My sculptures capture a moment frozen for eternity. But each of them has a longer story to tell. The thoughts, hopes, memories and fears that have shaped me as a person likewise shape my works. My creativity is authentic and electrifying precisely because it is a metaphoric translation of my life’s struggles and experiences. My sculptures are inspired by ideas of tolerance and acceptance of our diversity. I want to challenge the viewer to a discussion, perhaps even a heated debate.
Conversation: I create to provoke and communicate. My art is always an invitation to a dialogue, the beginning of a conversation. My work reflects the world around me on a metaphysical level. It reveals the pain and inner turmoil, the truth, love and beauty that lie under the surface of things.
My job: I think of myself as a surgeon that cuts through the skin to cleanse the wound and help it heal. I am fascinated by our dualities as human beings, imperfect, scarred, flawed and at once magnificent, freedom loving and strong. My job is to scrape away the accidental. I must capture what is inside and bare the indestructible human soul, the good and the bad in it. I want my sculptures to inspire new ways of thinking, and lead to more understanding, more generosity.
To heal: I want the viewer to understand how ultimately fragile we all are, and at the same time how strong and resilient. I want my works to awaken positive feelings, to empower and have a healing impact.
My roots: My passion to communicate ideas of beauty and pain through art largely comes from my father, a well-known Russian artist. His works are on display at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and in private collections. My father cultivated my taste and encouraged my creative side.
The choice: I began sculpting at a time when I was already an accomplished classical musician because I needed to find an art form that most resonated with my inner soul. When working on a sculpture, I feel the clay and I trust it. The process of creating a sculpture can be short or long, but it is always agonizing. In the end, the clay always succumbs to my imagination and my will.
How (the process): Ideas for a new work come to me in mysterious ways, difficult to explain. It starts with an evasive image floating in my mind. To implement an idea I need to sense its special message and feel the soul deep below the surface. I am enticed by the true self within every human being, inspired by the question of ‘who’ behind a face. To portray it I have to inhabit that person, almost like an actor who for a time identifies with a role.
Freedom: I believe that the provocative style of my sculptures is in tune with the times. To be lifelike today a piece should create the effect of movement, vitality and disrupted rhythm. The absence of symmetry in my works has its own balance and special harmony. It offers me greater freedom to explore new techniques, and helps to deliver the message in its pure and simple form, without imitating reality or embellishing it.
Compassion: I strive to depict the timeless human predicament within a personal vision of hope and resilience, and with faith in the healing power of love and compassion.