Now it’s your turn!
We dared you to show us your interpretation of wake up, literally or figuratively, monumentally or microscopically. We wanted a change- of any shape, size or color. You gave it to us.
YOUR TURN, PART 1:
Emma J Hardy
Who … Emma J Hardy
Where … Bristol, UK
Woke us up with … Stark simplicity
Emma J Hardy. The woman of minimal design and bright illustration.
Emma makes the fauna of the world (plus the anatomical bits of humans) a recurring theme in her work. Her art has the type of simplicity that makes anyone want to partake, not feel outcast from it. She fully embodies the concept of less is more, and makes it playful all the while – compelling you to love her varying creations.
We chatted with Emma of her very first starts, the far-off future, her Gran named Muttie, and her continual love of creativity. Here’s what we found…
Hi Emma! Where & how are you?
Hi Jessie, thanks so much! You guys have a fantastic thing going on. I’m currently in my third year of studying with the Bristol School of Animation, Bristol, UK. But I did most of my growing up in the rural countryside of Shropshire (the midlands) - which is quite a change!
What inspired you to start?
Although both my parents and all my grandparents have never “worked” in art as such, they’re all very creative people. My Mum studied fashion and my Dad has always been a keen photographer. So they always encouraged me when I was little. However some of my earliest memories associated with art and “making” is with my Gran (or Muttie as everyone in the family calls her). She would sit me on a big armchair in her living room, with a TV tray on my lap, and give me a big tin of plasticine to sculpt with. I used to sit there for hours making things (often with my cousin, although he was more into chopping off my creations’ heads!). Sometimes my Grandad would stick the good ones to the wall – they were still there until a few years ago! So it was all around me, really. Lots of positive reenforcement meant that I kept drawing and making and here I am!
What inspires you currently?
I would say that Muttie is still a massive inspiration, she’s been having regular exhibits in her town for years now. She creates amazing textile art, I’d quite like to set up a blog for her! Other than that, I regularly trawl for things that spark new ideas. I’m sure any young person creating art will get how daunting the art world can feel sometimes, it can feel like you’ll never be noticed. But my family has been fantastic at not letting me give up. I’ve had some amazing opportunities this year – all of those have certainly gotten the ball rolling with lots of new inspiration.
What excites you most of all with the current & future state of art?
I really love how easy it is to get your work to such a wide audience thanks to the internet. Without sites such as Society6, Tumblr, etc., it would be so much harder to spread the word about the work artists do. I’m really excited about how that might develop, as I’ve heard of a few artists with fantastic ideas that want to make apps for iPhone & Android. I’ve also been really amazed by some of the “pop up shops” that Britain’s been doing as an attempt to make something good out of the recession. Basically when a high-street shop has had to close, they rent out the space for a day or two and local artists use it as high-profile gallery space. Bristol has had quite a few of them and I think they’re a really exciting idea.
Has it ever been terrifying to live as an artist? What made you say, ‘screw it’?
I’d say the scariest part so far was starting and realizing how amazing everyone else is! You go from a small school or college where you’re confident to a huge university with absolutely amazing artists! It can be quite intimidating for everyone, but I think after a few weeks we all decided to take inspiration from each other and learn, which is very positive. Oh! Also, when I had my first freelance job - that was terrifying. I didn’t feel ready at all to be working with the professionals. But in that situation you just have to go for it. If you screw up, it’s not the end of the world after all. Luckily, I didn’t screw up! It went really well and they hired me again, many times after.
Where are you in 50 years?
Well, I’ll be in my 70s… So, probably standing in front of a mirror trying to work out where all the wrinkles came from! I’d like to think I’d have had some amazing years as an artist. I’d really like to have my own shop at some point, so maybe i’ve done that – or written my own book. I think I’d like to be in a nice hot country rather than England by then, I’m not sure I can deal with 50 more years of English weather! Overall, I just hope I’m some happy lady who had a great 50 years doing fun and creative things!
I’d just like to say thanks for choosing me for this feature! I think your company is great, and I hope you guys continue to do so well. Oh, and I’m always up for collaborations, so if anyone reading this likes my work – feel free to get in contact!