Interview with Elena Petrossian, ephemeral food installation artist and co-founder of Ananas Ananas.
1. Can you tell us about Ananas Ananas and how it came to be?
Ananas Ananas was born a year ago when I moved to Mexico City as a freelance graphic designer. I was looking for another creative outlet and a medium I could love and work with. I had a passion for cooking and design, I just wasn't sure how I was going to marry to two. Shortly after I moved I met my partner Verónica and our visions were so aligned and magnetic l'm pretty postitive I manifested her. We started chatting and within a month of knowing each other we launched Ananas Ananas.
2. Take us through a typical day, in atypical times.
A typical day for me consists of an outdoor bootcamp class every morning, then shower, breakfast, grab my laptop and start working. I really love the sun so I work on my front lawn for a few hours in the beginning of the day. I have the habit of losing track of time and being sucked into this work vortex so I try to set an alarm around 1pm to go on a quick 15 minute walk to stretch, breath and regroup. I really love cooking so there's always something happening in my kitchen towards the end of my day for either myself, friends or family. At night I like to listen to a guided meditation or a motivational talk while I take a bath. And recently I've been taking really hot baths in the dark. It's very relaxing haha.
3. How has the pandemic affected your practice? This can be tangible, or just in the way that you have thought about your work.
When we started this studio our goal was to create community and connection through installations that were meant to be shared but ever since the pandemic, some of our projects have fallen through. However, we are now challenged in a new way of still staying true to what our vision was from the beginning, except altering it to be safe for the current times. I also ended up moving back to LA from the uncertainty of the world, but I am really grateful for my partner because even through the difficulty of being in two different countries we've been working hard and have some projects coming up that we will be revealing soon!
4. Does your work function as a form of activism — how do you see it?
When Ananas Ananas first started, we were building installations as art pieces without having a concrete message. It was just how we felt and wanted to present weird ways to eat and challenge the senses. We have since evolved our studio to have our installations relay a message that not only honors why we started Ananas Ananas, but also to raise awareness of the issues of the food production chain to our viewers.
5. In culinary or visual arts (or outside the two) who has inspired you creatively?
Funny you asked this because I had a realization a few weeks ago. I was in Mexico City and I took a look at the friends I was surrounded by and realized I didn't have to look too far for inspiration. Verónica has been an inspiration to work with because she's constantly teaching me about her culture and the food rituals she was taught growing up. Anel, who is a talented chef, is always so precise on how she executes her dishes. Almendra, a fashion photographer, is always challenging herself creatively, recently recording music and designing and jewelry line and constantly pushing her creative boundaries. And Justin, who converted his home into a gallery space for us, so we could hold our first exhibit in. Magical people all around..
6. At home or for installations — what are some favorite things we could find you making lately?
Since I'm home all the time, my favorite thing to make these days is pasta. I'm not the biggest pasta fan when it comes to eating it, but the creation of it is so therapeutic. Also such an accomplishment when the egg doesn't spill out the sides of the flour well. I recently made some traditional mole with chillis I had brought back with me. A very long and time consuming process but so rewarding and delicious.
See more of Elena here.
Photography by Marwa Safi, see more of her work here.