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Elena J Schaust | Senior Show

Art work by Elena

Screenshot | Elena J Schaust

A series of acrylic paintings on panel, Screen Shot explores the tenuous nature of texting as a means to communicate impactful information.

Slideshow of Artwork

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Artist Statement

The use of modern text messaging to transmit impactful dialogue is worthy of consideration. A fascination with the implications texting lends to modern communication is at the core of my work with this series. I have built large wooden panels that are to-scale iPhones. Each panel is painted in acrylic, rendered abstractly, and informed by a text chain’s subject matter. Unexpected interviews while compiling text conversations furthered my suspicion that many people experience texting negatively, rather than positively. Each bubble of intimate conversation is hand lettered, a painstaking contradiction to real time texting.

Contemplating the implications of each conversation is a vital part of the process in this series. My own personal relationship to texting as a lifeline was highlighted in 2018 after months of hospitalizations for cancer treatments. It became evident very quickly that the sometimes-tenuous manner of texting could result in wildly varied outcomes. Emotional responses to language in art have historically captured my interest, lending perfectly to the tricky foundation texting can create in relationships. These paintings begin to grasp at the next evolution in human connection through written language.


Elena Schaust lives and teaches in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has completed her BA at Augsburg University as a studio art major, with a psychology minor. Elena has a long background in visual arts, stemming back to the late 1990’s as a professional photographer. Currently, she focuses her creative endeavors in painting. Elena has been intrigued by the complex way people use technology to communicate since the arrival of modern cell phones. This interest drives her to explore language as a means to convey impactful moments. Elena’s current series of paintings inspired by text message conversations were collected through interviews with friends and family.

Virtual Mock-up

Due to COVID-19 the show in the physical gallery space has been delayed. Here is a virtual representation of what it will look like in the Gallery720 space.