Can you remember your first paintings? Tell us about them
I was painting and drawing from a very young age. I used to sit in the garden and draw animals: guineapigs, sunbirds and wilie wagtails building their nests, all kinds of frogs and whatever else was in the garden.
The textures and materials you use tempt people to touch – how would you describe your artwork?
I use a lot of bright clashing colours and textures. I like to draw ambiguous characters and scenes that have a story or feeling behind them and make you think.
How do you think your friends would describe you?
Why don’t you tell me? They might say that I can be eccentric, daggy and dramatic? Haha. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a lot of my friends lately because I have had so many uni assignments
Surreal themes and strange and wonderful creatures seem to play a prominent role in your work.
Do you find a lot of inspiration from your dreams?
Yes, I do take a lot of inspiration from my dreams and the characters and creatures or scenes in my dreams often take form in my artwork. I dream a lot and have very bizarre dreams. I mostly love animals, creatures and character design. I fantasise about being free and inhibited, when I am sketching I create these fantasy, romantic, fun, carefree characters in their world and their personalities emerge. For example I often fantasise about being in a warm tropical place, climbing trees and dancing like a warrior princess…
What’s the strangest idea/concept you’ve had for a painting?
Well I’m not sure about the strangest, but I had a dream about a man with a lion mane and I was stroking his mane and I had such a clear picture of what he looked like and so I did a portrait of him.
You use a wide range of mediums and styles, what do you find most comfortable to work with and why?
It changes and really depends on what I need to work on at the time. I often develop different versions of one idea in a range of mediums. I use acrylic on canvas and digital work drawing with a wacom tablet into Photoshop. Lately I am working a lot with water colour and ink on textured papers.
So I have to ask, tell us about your adorable dog Pommy – what he’s been getting up to lately?
The other night pommy was curled up wearing a nice winter vest on the lounge. He went from being a warm, vest wearing, domestic pet to then later strip off his vest, run out into the night like a wild, frisky animal to protect and chew on his lamb bone.
Music is also a big part of your life, are there any musicians in particular that inspire your work or you like to listen to while painting?
My boyfriend is a trombonist and is very supportive of my work. I sketch musicians a lot and some of the sketches are developed into finished work. Song titles or lyrics can also give me inspiration for an artwork. I am listening to a lot of soul, jazz, funk and reggae when I work! At the moment I enjoy John Legend and the Roots.
Who are some artists you admire/aspire to? Anything that they’ve taught you that’s helped/influenced your work?
Well you will probably be able to see a lot of their influence in my work, as I like to try different techniques. My favourite illustrator is Meg Hunt. I also really like Anke Weckmann, Kirsten Lepore, Lauren Carney and Rifle Paper Co. Designer Anna Bond.
Are you working on anything particular at the moment?
I am working on a Masters of Digital Design at the moment, but am about to start holidays soon and get into some more of my own work. I can’t wait to take lots of photography over the holidays using my Canon EOS 500D and playing around with a couple of my film cameras. I would also like to play around with some polymer clay over my uni break.
Lastly, what’s your favourite meal or treat to warm you up over this, what will surely be, freezing winter?
I have been making a lot of hot chocolates (which are full of marshmallows) lately. I made a Massaman curry for dinner from scratch last night and some white chocolate and cranberry blondies for dessert.
Be sure to come and check out Emily Nelson’s work at Bleeding Heart Gallery
166 Ann Street, Brisbane City – from 6pm-10pm on the 17th June!