I met Emily in a library on a quiet Saturday morning. With libraries being her second home, she led me through rows of books to a small table in the back and sat down, ready to talk. With bright eyes and a sense of eagerness, she led me through the journey of how she got to this point and where she’s headed from here.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m 21, vegetarian and a mixed media ceramicist and photographer. Basically, I take photos and then and incorporate them into different sections of the ceramics. Occasionally I draw, but I’ve been pretty focused on the ceramics and photo for a while now.
Have you always been majorly focused on those specific mediums? Or did you fall into them?
I went to a Montessori school where we had the opportunity to use clay 2 times a year. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school when I was like “okay, I like this”. Before that, I wanted to be a teacher my whole life, but it’s so political and there are so many problems (especially in this area). I wanted to try something different.That’s where Fine Art came in.
How long do your ceramic pieces usually take you to create?
Well I coil-build, so it really depends on how big the piece is. The longest I’ve taken on a piece was about 6 weeks. It was two large cones with a light table under them. You look into the cones and see various photos. I’m very into interactive art. When you give someone a ceramic piece, they tend to not use it as often as they should. They tend to be too afraid of breaking it. I want to bridge that disconnect so they can be comfortable with the medium. A lot of ceramics are usually just cups or vessels. I try to make things that really have a purpose or use.
You’re still in school and in the process of your Senior Thesis. Can you tell us about that?
I’m dealing with the idea of homes and the idea of absorption. It was a concept studied by Telegan and Atkinson on how people get so absorbed in something, like a smart phone, and they lose sense of their surroundings. I’m taking that idea and kind of merging it with this idea of how we stay in our homes, only getting this access to the outside world through television and the Internet. It starts to create skewed realities when that’s all you’re seeing, and you start to compare your life to these people you see on TV. It can have both negative and positive effects. I’m a very domestic life type of person, which drives me to think of these people at home all of the time. I love to travel, and a lot of people don’t necessarily have that opportunity, so they get stuck in these sad situations where they can’t go anywhere due to financial reasons or other problems.
“I feel like I need to continue that. It helps people document life.”
That’s really great. Are you excited about presenting all of this?
Absolutely. I’ve been working on this concept since around last summer. I can finally move on with life (laughs). It was different for me, because I don’t really get attached to my pieces. In the ceramic world, you have to sort of detach yourself from them, because there’s a large chance you’re going to give it away at some point.
After your graduate, what’s next?
I applied for an internship with the MCA, but haven’t heard anything yet. Other than that, I’d like to possibly get a gallery job locally. Then I can get a studio set up and continue working on projects. I’d like to get a Master’s degree, but I don’t know what media I’m ready to really focus on for that (or if I should even do mixed media). There’s a year wait until you can do that, so there’s time. But that’s also left me with this gap where it’s like “I don’t know what I’m doing” (laughs). No matter what, I want to continue with ceramics and photography in some way.
Do you work with any other mediums?
Drawing was a big part of what I did, too. With drawing, you work so hard to get space and perspective. Photography feels so much more efficient to me, and I can put more focus on the actual concept and visualizing an image. So I kind of divorced drawing, married ceramics and have a best friend in photography (laughs). That’s how I like to think about it…I do like drawing a lot, but we just fight too much.
Do you have a website or online presence?
I just have Instagram and Facebook for the most part. I do also have a Twitter and a YouTube Channel where I make content about traveling and events I go to. And I’ve been working on capturing the process of my senior show up to this point. Once it’s over, it’s over, so I wanted to capture myself working through it. You find that Fine Art isn’t really on YouTube, so I want to make more content about different historical moments in Art. I’m really interested in Dadaism and early 19th century art. Art changed into different things and a lot of people don’t really understand these changes it went through. With art being cut from public schools more and more, we need to keep the history of it alive. If we don’t, how are we supposed to help people learn about it? That’s what I want to do after graduation. Teach people about these things that happened.
People do tend to look over that, don’t they?
They do! They even overlook going to galleries and exhibits. It’s not a widely done thing on Youtube. I think that would be an interesting thing to start showcasing–reviewing things and showing people these events and work they might not otherwise have a chance to see.
Have you built a big following around that?
It’s slowly building, and I think in the summer I’ll try to grow it more. It’s an outlet for people to be creative easily without having to go overboard spending money. I feel like I need to continue that. It helps people document life.
Do you have anything else you’d like readers to know?
I don’t think so…just thank you for all of the support!