Making extraordinary images out of ordinary items with Aravis Dolmenna

Meet your Mentor Aravis Dolmenna

We have been lucky enough to have Aravis host a challenge with us before. We have invited her back, this time as a mentor because we believe she has so much to offer our community. Plus, she is in my opinion the best person on the gram that can make a banana, a safety pin or some spilt milk into something amazingly extraordinary. We caught up with Aravis again and delved into her extraordinary imagination.

Q&A with Aravis

Hey Aravis! Thanks for joining us again for a Creatively Squared challenge, this time as a mentor for our conceptual month. We are absolutely thrilled to have you mentor the community. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you came to be creating such amazing imagery?

Thank you Marisa, I’m really flattered to have been asked, and excited to see what everyone comes up with. I was born and raised in the South of England and have always lived in the countryside, I have a great passion for the natural world. I have drawn and sewn for as long as I can remember and Instagram has allowed me to explore and develop that side of my interests.

You have certainly created a niche on Instagram with your simple yet wonderful masterpieces. Can you tell us about your creative process, how do you come up with ideas for what to share next on your Instagram account?

My ideas often come from simply looking at the shape of an object and noticing how it resembles something else, sometimes it’s the other way around, I decide I want to depict something “for example a motorcycle” and I look around for objects I can use to create the shapes I need. If I have an idea I will write myself a note, it could be some time before I get around on trying it (not all ideas work)

Who or what inspires you the most to create your amazing images?

It was my dad who gave me my perspective on the world and sense of humour, and although there are so many artists I admire, it is the pleasure and fun I get from making my little pictures that keeps me doing it.

This challenge is all about taking ordinary objects and using them to create something extraordinary, something you are extraordinarily gifted at. What are your three top tips for others wanting to bring inanimate objects to life?

I would say firstly spend some time looking at the object you intend to use, from all angles, how it “sits” etc. Secondly, keep it simple, it doesn’t have to look exactly like something else, just evoke the idea or feeling.  And thirdly, think about your background and lighting, I personally don’t edit my pictures (it’s a sort of private challenge to myself) so the light can be the most important thing of all

Do you have any hacks, tricks or tools which help?

Blu-tac is a really useful tool, for holding most things in place or forming a little “stand” to stop rounded things from rolling.

What equipment do you use?

Ha ha, you would laugh if you saw my setup, I have a frugal nature and part of the challenge for me is to try to just use the objects I have around me. I use an iPhone 6 ( with a spiders web of cracks ) a collection of coloured cards, my kitchen table and the sun. That said I have recently bought a cheep clamp to hold my phone “it’s like an angle poise lamp with a clamp at each end” I intend to try making a few more short videos (I’m afraid they will have to be edited because of the 1 minute time limit)

What is your favourite image that you have created? Can you tell us why it is special to you?

Years back I took a picture of my hand holding coloured marbles up to the sun. This picture represented a turning point for me because it made me realise the possibility of turning my account into a sort of gallery, not just photographing the beautiful world around me but creating my own little world (Instagram was much less creative back then)

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We can all relate to falling in and out of love with Instagram, how has your account evolved over time?

At the start I became quite obsessed with Instagram, it was almost like being a child again, seeing things in a new way, and communicating with like minded people all over the world. Of course familiarity breeds contempt to a degree and you can find yourself getting a bit jaded, especially with the new algorithms which make things more disjointed and less varied. which is why groups like creatively squared are great for keeping you challenged and interested. As my page has got more exposure it is hard to maintain a sense of the personal and it can be tempting to create and post pictures just because you know they will be popular. It is important that I don’t take myself too seriously, I’m not a great artist, just someone having a bit of fun.


Aravis is the guest mentor for our August 5-11 creative challenge ‘Make it Extraordinary’ and will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Aravis at @aravisdolmenna on Instagram. We invite you to join Aravis and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to explore the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.