Monday Motivation #5, with the most excellent Emily Rickard!
I don’t even know where to start with Ms. E. If you don’t know her work, you should. You might just live under a rock, so let me shed some light on you. Emily’s art will brighten anyone’s day and cheer up any lost soul. Big on pattern and bold in color, her work is definitely some of my favorite. She kindly answered my questions and sent some wonderful shots of her art studio.
Roni J: Do you keep a sketchbook, art journal, or journal/diary?
Emily: I have an inspiration book that is always next to me at my workspace. I fill it with magazine clippings, pattern & color samples, relevant articles, and fashion inspiration. Anything that I find interesting and want to remember. Then it’s handy for me to flip through when I’m feeling kind of stuck. But it started as a way for me to save space in my tiny apartment - Instead of keeping every art/design magazine I’ve ever owned I just clip out the images that matter most to me and collage them into my book! It’s an organized mess.
RJ: What inspires you the most? Do you ever go blank and lose your touch?
ER: I get artblock all the time. Some days I am super productive, I know exactly what I want to make that day and I end up getting alot done. Other days I can’t figure out where to start and have to push myself to jump into a new project. When that happens, making art feels more like work than fun. I think everyone has days like that. I usually take a break and refocus by looking at the work of other artists online or putting together a blog post about something that I find inspiring (not necessarily art related). I love color. And sometimes just seeing a really beautiful color combination gives me the kick I need to start a new project.
RJ: You have been blogging since 2007? How has it helped you and what advice can you give to people starting, or who have a blog to promote art and motivation to create?
ER: I started my blog when I was in college more as a journal than anything. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be an art student living in a big city for the first time. The older posts are fairly embarrassing and pretty random complete with bad photos, but I like to go back and see what art I was inspired by at the time, the places I went, and the things that led me to where I am today. I still use it as a place to document inspiration, but I don’t make any money from it. And I don’t post everyday like I should. I’m a casual blogger! Actually it’s turned into a great way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me. I blogged photos during our cross-country roadtrip when my fiance & I moved to California. I think writing a blog is so helpful because it’s your online presence, a very personal portrait where people can get to know you and learn a little bit about how you think before they decide whether to buy/share/commission your work.
RJ: Who are your favorite artists? Are there blogs or websites that spark your creativity?
ER: Helen Frankenthaler, Jean Shin, Cy Twombly, Alice Neel, Kenneth Noland, Paul Rand, the Gee’s Bend Quilters…just to name a few. My favorite artist of all time is Aminah Robinson, who I was lucky enough to meet on several occasions when I worked at the Columbus Museum of Art in college. Her artwork changed my life. Robert Rauschenberg is a close second. I have many favorite blogs that cover art, fashion, interior design, etc. and those are always creativity boosters. But Pinterest is the one site that I use all day every day. I LOVE having all of my inspiration photos neatly organized and so easily accessible.
RJ: If you couldn’t make art, what would you be doing?
ER: If I wasn’t a fine artist I would be an interior designer. Maybe someday I will be both! I can’t imagine not having some sort of creative job. I’ve always dreamed of exploring textile & wallpaper design too. Or designing store windows. If I couldn’t make art I would like to be the person who comes up with names for paint colors.
RJ: Your fiance is an artist too, right? How has his creative adventures influenced your lifestyle and art?
ER: Yes, Tyler is a 3D character animator and we met at art school. We both agree that we can’t imagine not living with another artist, but we are glad that we’re both different kinds of artists. His two main tools are his imagination and his computer, whereas my art is made of “stuff”. He is my tech support and photographer, but he has great taste and understands my work better than anyone. So he is also able to give me creative input & critique my art while dealing with website glitches and things that I’m clueless about - like domain names! I help him with classical concerns like color choices & composition in his animations. We help each other with marketing/promoting/selling our art, teamwork is key! And at the end of the day it’s just nice to have someone else who understands that being a freelance creative isn’t always easy or glamorous. It’s SO much work. As for lifestyle influences, we moved to Los Angeles together so that he could be in a city where animation work is in demand. That was a scary move initially that has turned out to be very rewarding.
RJ: You are a very busy woman. You have so much going on and I completely understand having to “find time” to make art. Why is creating so important to you?
ER: I don’t think creating art was much of a choice in my case, maybe it is for some people. It’s just something I’ve always done and it keeps me happy and fulfilled. I’m always thinking, how can I turn that thing into something, or make it more beautiful.
RJ: Do you have any words of wisdom for people who are intimidated by blank white paper or a clean new canvas? Tell us how to get started.
ER: Starting a new project used to make me pretty nervous. Especially when I was in school. But since I’m usually working with collage materials and building up in layers, I realized that if there’s an area that I don’t like, there is always a way to change it. Anything can be covered up! So now I just jump in and start. I begin my collages by sorting through my collage materials (of which I have years worth saved up in containers) and choose a few things based on color & pattern that I know I definitely want to incorporate. And I build up the composition from there until I’m happy with it…or not embarrassed by it!
Thanks Emily for such an awesome interview! Please check out Emily’s work and show some love! She has a blog, and is very Pinterest famous. If you are interested in owning some of her creations, check out her Etsy or Society6. Ahh, what a good dose of motivation on such a special Monday! Now go make art.