Stepping into Emily Proud's home studio is like wandering into the Atlantis of San Francisco real estate. You hear a lot about places like this, but never see them, so you decide they don't exist. Well, ladies and gentleman, they do! Smooth white walls leading up to high ceilings, bay windows throughout, a fireplace ensconced in subtle Victorian moulding, and (GASP!) a lush backyard outfitted with a trellis covered chair swing and countless wildflowers. It's no wonder Emily produces such stunningly ethereal work. Watercolor is one of the hardest materials to master, and master it she has. Playing with levels of pigment saturation and value, Emily translates everyday observations into visual shorthand while cherishing the decisive nature of the medium and experimenting endlessly. Today Lisa Says Gah takes you along as we bask in the sun of Emily's dreamy backyard and chat with her about The Bay Area's art community, bursts of creativity, and finding your daily uniform. Enjoy!
LSG: Hi, Emily! Can you walk us through your path? What kind of stops were on the way to where you are now? Are you a Bay Area native?
Yes, I am a Bay Area native! I was born and raised in San Francisco. I was lucky to grow up in a place that appreciates art and has a lot of resources. As far as my path goes, I liked painting as a kid, and I had family and teachers who encouraged me. I took art classes in high school and went to UCLA for art school. I graduated in 2008 and worked at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for four years. In 2012, I started to take painting more seriously and ended up where I am now. That’s about it!
LSG: When did you know a career in the art world was for you?
I just decided as a kid that I wanted to be an artist and never questioned it!
LSG: Tell us about the materials you choose to work with.
I’ve worked with a little bit of everything over the years, but watercolor is my favorite. I prefer the immediacy, and I like the touch, weight and even the sound of working on paper. I also like the idea of becoming knowledgeable of one thing. It would be cool to learn how to make my own watercolors and paper.
LSG: Where do you find inspiration and how do you organize it? Can you take us through your process and concept?
A lot of my paintings are inspired by something I saw that just struck me a certain way. They also showcase properties of watercolor that I find beautiful. I usually go straight to paper to hash it out, not expecting to get it right the first time. I may have to go through a few iterations before I create what I was going for. My process is slow, so I’m usually working on a few things at a time.
LSG: Can you speak to your relationship with creative struggle?
My creativity comes in bursts. There will be a week that I make a bunch of paintings and another that I hardly make any. I’ve just learned to accept this and roll with it. Deadlines are great in my book when it comes to staying motivated.
LSG: What do you have to say to those trying to “make it” in creative fields?
I would say create an Internet presence. I think that’s helped me the most in getting my work out there.