Emily is an emerging, self-taught artist, based in inner-city Brisbane, with a formal background in architecture. She predominantly uses acrylics to paint floral scenes and still-life arrangements. Broadly, her work aims to capture and celebrate the ‘aliveness’ of a moment in time: to encourage (both herself, as the artist) and the viewer to be completely grounded in the present. A consideration of proportion, curation, balance and scale is drawn from her design background, yet is applied to create the illusion of spontaneity.
Tell us about the pieces you’ve created for Merci Maison?
This piece is part of a recent exploration into texture and a bit of a diversion in style from my usual work. By starting with a very textural base, the rest of the painting can unfold very loosely, as there is little room for being precious about straight lines.
How did you draw inspiration for these pieces? Did the shape of the Bello Frame have any influence?
The Bello frame definitely had an influence on the way I painted this piece. Some of my other work is a little more structured, whereas I have ensured the direction and visibility of brush strokes in this piece can compliment the organic nature of the frame.
When creating these pieces, where do you visualise your pieces ending up? Paint the picture of the room you see them in
Like all of my work, I picture this painting hanging in someone’s home, where they have spent years collecting special pieces that reflect their personality and life. I picture the room to be bright and fresh, with classic design elements, mixed with vintage furniture pieces and an eclectic collection of art. I always imagine my smaller works being hung in places that art wouldn’t normally be seen – in small nooks, on thin walls, in bathrooms, kitchens etc..
How do you prepare for a new project or piece?
From a spatial point of view, I always feel the need to clean the studio and do a little re-stock of paints and brushes before I start a new project or body of work. Prepping canvases and boards is an important part of my process too – it gives me time to reset my brain to focus on new work and the direction that I will be working in.
Can you talk us through your creative process and how you developed your signature style?
My style really developed in an intensive 6-month period, when I travelled around Australia in a van in 2019/2020. Everyday, I got out the paints and brushes and painted the florals and foliage that I saw growing wild and free along the coastline. They weren’t necessarily the most beautiful or dainty flowers, given the conditions – yet I became quite entranced with tangled and earthy compositions. Given how quickly my paint was drying, I became accustomed to layering my work, building the thickness of the paint and areas of colour until I was happy. In this time, I also borrowed elements around me like leaves, sticks, shells and bark and tested paint combinations to match. I still have those colour swatches that I refer to now!
Where do you look for inspiration? Are there any artists or muses that have had a particular influence on your work?
Day-to-day I am most inspired by the moments that make me feel most present and grounded – most likely when I have some level of interaction with nature. There are many artists that inspire me – most of them being current or past female Australian painters. These include Margaret Olley, Grace Cossington Smith, Laura Jones, Cate Maddy, Jane Guthleben and so many more.
Who or what are your greatest design influences?
Given my previous design background, I am always inspired by the formal qualities of architecture and interior design, particularly balance, form and geometry. I also love the eclectic nature of vintage furniture and colour palettes and the work of ceramic artists and florists. I naturally gravitate towards anything designed, made, created or grown in Australia.
Tell us about your studio, what does your studio look like, sound like, smell like? What creates the perfect space for you?
Currently, my studio is actually the living room in my apartment. It’s an open, bright and extremely flexible space and has a lot of warmth given that it’s the heart of our home. It features original 60’s terrazzo concrete tiles, workbenches that hide all my canvases and panels, half-finished paintings on the walls, the easel hides behind the curtains at night and the paint trolley tucks away in a little nook of the room. I have a vintage writing desk where I do my admin work, and the dining room table is also the packing table. I’ve become accustomed to setting up and packing down the studio every day and it’s actually now become a nice ritual!
If you could design your dream home, what would it look like?
Given that I studied architecture when I left school – I have spent a lot of time thinking about this question! My dream home would be an off-grid beach house – with many louvre windows, tall raking ceilings, a large shady deck, big sliding doors, billowing curtains, a big kitchen, lots of recycled timber… I could go into so much more detail, but of course it would include a garden studio as well.
Where in your home do you go to think, create or be inspired?
My current home is very compact, so I don’t have a space that I can fully escape to. In saying that – I spend a lot of time tending to my collection of plants on my balcony which can really reset me.
Merci Maison is “Thank you, Home” in French, what would you say you are most grateful for you in your home / creative space?
Given how old my apartment block is, I am grateful for both the amount of natural light that comes in throughout the day and the flexible nature of the space. There isn’t a clear definition between where my work life ends and home life starts, so I love that my creative space can also accommodate my family as well. It makes for a very simple but wholesome lifestyle!
To shop Emily's piece click here