A: I was about 17 years old when I decided to be an artist for a living. I grew up in Alaska where finding something creative to do indoors for extensive spans of time was a necessary survival skill. Painting was my top choice, but I also explored a number of mediums including, fiber arts, woodworking, sculpture, and so on.
Q: As a self taught artist, how did you acquire such amazing figurative drawing skills?
A: It's a rare day that goes by that I don't spend some time painting, so I've had plenty of years to practice. Certain aspects of the human form have come easily, though there are plenty of areas I'm aware I still need to develop a better understanding of. I think the key is to challenge yourself by not shying away from those areas you find difficult.
Q: Please describe your creative process and what you are currently working on.
A: Sometimes I approach art with a specific intent or vision in mind, but most of the time I begin with chaos and find some form to pull out of it. I almost always have many projects and the present moment is no exception… Besides commissioned work, I'm painting the nine muses, an Oak King/ Holly King set, portraits of my own children. Basically, I have a set up where I never get bored!
Q: What draws you towards the Art Nouveau style?
A: The most attractive aspect of the painting in the Art Nouveau style is the playfulness of it. I appreciate many art movements, especially the Pre-Raphaelites and the great skill and concentration it requires. But for me, the art nouveau curves and patterns are like recess for my mind, like a sunny Saturday morning when you can just do whatever ;)
Q: Do you find it hard to part with your paintings when they are sold?
A: I may have brought my paintings into the world, and some I love them dearly. But with my art in the public arena, other people are bound to form their own independent relationships with my paintings. In fact, I'm sure they get more appreciation from the buyers than I can give them ~ simply for the reason that I need all the extra space in my studio I can get!
Q: What do you find to be your biggest challenge with your art business?
A: Marketing. It's so unnatural to me. Once in a blue moon I actually enjoy it though. I've learned to drop everything and strike while the iron is hot because the mood quickly passes and marketing becomes a chore again.
Q: Name your top 5 most admired artists (living or dead).
A: The Pre Raphaelites, Waterhouse, Millais, etc., Hieronymus Bosch, Dali, Aubrey Beardsley, Mucha, and all the 1960s psychedelic poster artists such as: Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, and Wes Wilson.
That was more than five, I know.
Q: How do you let the world know about your art?
A: I'm almost strictly a web based artist. I have my own website, and have my work posted on a number of sites (Etsy has proven to be the best avenue for me). But through exposure on the internet, I've had features in magazines, publishers contact me to use my art for wall calendars, date books, and jigsaw puzzles (coming soon!), requests for commissions, and wholesale orders. I've also done a few gallery shows locally, but with my plate this full, lugging around art and hanging it up for shows can be quite a hassle.
Q: Who is your biggest supporter?
A: My customers! In my own small sphere though, it's my children. I think they know that having a work-at-home mom is pretty cool. I'm here whenever they need me and not a lot of families have that luxury. They're also very respectful of my artistic space.
Q: What advice would you give to budding artists?
A: Internet marketing! What is happening in the current art market is so exciting. When I was a kid and declared I wanted to be an artist for a living, people (especially my parents) shook their heads and were sure to tell me it would be a tough row to hoe. The advice I received for getting started in the world of fine art was so daunting to me, I stuck with markets and fairs for many years. Obviously, the internet has changed everything. The exposure my art has received by marketing my work online is phenomenal!
Q: What does the future hold in store? Any exciting projects or adventures you would like to share?
A: I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize I am living my goal - This is it! So my main hope for the future is more of the same and that I meet interesting people and travel to fascinating places along the way!
Q: Tell us where we can find your work.
Thank you, Emily, for sharing your creative musings with us today. Looking forward to seeing your new projects bloom and wishing you continued success!