Hello everyone!! I am so excited because this is my first artist interview/giveaway post! I am honored to introduce the wonderful artist Emily Penso, and I hope you all enter the print giveaway at the bottom of this post and take the time to read my interview with her. Her story is quite interesting! Emily sells her surreal and whimsical artwork in her Etsy shop and when I contacted her after seeing her work she was very excited when I gave her the opportunity to be featured on my blog! [The giveaway can be found at the end of this post!]
- Can you just tell me a little about yourself; where did you grow up, go to school, what are you up to now?
"I was lucky enough to grow up in New Zealand, in the South Island city of Dunedin. It was
a wonderful place to grow up and although it's quite a cold part of the world, most of my childhood memories involve sunshine and bare feet.
I am the middle of three children, with two wonderfully loving and supportive parents who shaped our world with a comfortable home, a love of the outdoors and an appreciation of the arts – I remember many a boring gallery trip! But although at the time I would have preferred to be playing with Barbie or some other weird toy, there was always at least one art work that would completely mesmerize me.
During my high school years (sweet 16) my Dad landed a job in Canberra, Australia. So my small world got bigger and we moved across the Tasman. It was a tough move for me, but character building, and definitely helped guide me into pursuing art. I ended up studying painting at the Canberra School of Art which was just awesome and really changed my life.
Now, curiously, I find myself living in Israel (which is another epic tale, but involves meeting a beautiful Israeli in India and marrying him in Cyprus).
We live in a lovely village on a hill with our two completely gorgeous boys, and a white cat and a black dog. We have a small olive grove which we use for making oil, a small studio which I use for making art J and lots of little vegetable gardens. It suits us well."
Buy a custom drawing from Emily here
- Your work is so surreal and whimsical, where did the inspiration for these types of works come from? Is there anything else that inspires you, just in general?
"I guess my mind has always been a bit of a peculiar place, and for as long as I can remember
I have been fascinated by things that are out of the ordinary.
My earliest surrealism influence almost certainly came from Rene Magritte. My parents had a book on Magritte and throughout my childhood I loved pawing through the pages. It was entertainment that never got old, no matter how old I got, and every time I looked I would discover something new.
Another big influence would be dreams. I am a serious dreamer - day dreams and night dreams - but I am particularly inspired by night dreams as they are totally wild, complete raw sub consciousness, and always purely surreal.
The world around me is also a major source of inspiration; Birds, insects, trees, people, land forms and the interactions between everything that exists - I am constantly in awe of this world we live in. It never gets boring! It is a mysterious moving masterpiece that I love being part of. This spiritual connection that I have with life is also a bit of an influence. It is much easier for me to articulate what it is that I feel spiritually through drawing than words."
- Do you have any advice to artists or future artists on how to promote their work or how to approach getting their work out there? Advice in general?
"I think not being afraid of self-promotion is something that many artists need to overcome, and is definitely something that I have struggled with, and still struggle with to a degree.
I guess I would advise emerging artists to think about what it is they want out of their art practice and use that goal to guide them in how they promote their work.
In general, to get your work out there… approach galleries, apply for exhibitions, get help with submitting great proposals if necessary, collaborate with other artists, get involved in open group shows, exhibit as often as you can, enter art competitions, get the social media happening, create a website, open an Etsy store, take all the steps that you think are important for you as an artist.
And of course…don't let knock backs get you down, because they will happen, and great things will also happen!"
- A lot of your work looks like it has been sparked by unique ideas. What have been some your favorite ideas to explore with your art?
"You know, most of the time my work starts as a visual idea rather than a concept that I want to communicate (consciously anyway) but always through the process of making the work I begin to understand the symbolism of what I am drawing and mostly it's personal feelings, thoughts, experiences.
I approach my work with intuition, but execute it in a very precise way! Some of my favorite visual themes have been playing with scale relationships between figures, mirroring birds, and using clouds as a very deliberate compositional device (with meaning!)
Clouds have been popping up a lot lately and they are beginning to take the centre stage.
I love clouds."
- Do you do anything fun/interesting in your free time? Any favorite hobbies or weekend activities?
"Wow, free time is something that is completely foreign to me! My little boys keep me very busy!
But, I do manage to squeeze in a little bit of yoga and any chance I get I am in the garden. In my down time I have been known to play 'words with friends' on my phone ( I'm mildly addicted). If I had more free time I would love to make pebble mosaic stepping stones, sew stuff ,and I'd also restore all the shabby vintage furniture that I have collected.
When my boys are all grown up I would like to do my masters, it's a nice dream, and I'd love
to learn more skills, like basket weaving and everything to do with textiles."
Make sure to click the links below to check out more of Emily's work!
Emily's Etsy shop: StudioLavaan
Emily's Facebook fan page: here
Emily's website: here
Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! Here is the print that Emily will be giving away, it is titled "Pheasant Flight", and the winner is Audrey S. !!! Congrats Audrey. Come back soon for more giveaways, everyone!
(The more entry points you have, the greater chance of winning!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Currently one of Emily's favorite songs:
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