in the studio with emily welsh

 

  

An Interview with Emily Welsh

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I am taking ideas and themes from older projects and working them into new projects while I am here. I went to school for printmaking. I liked intaglio on copper the best. They had a brand new studio where I went to school and they were just getting a bunch of non-toxic things. My apartment is small and I wanted to get back into printmaking. I have been elbows deep in work which lent me to be in the music industry and night-life.

I was doing a lot of sketches in bars and with musicians. I had this idea to create the sketches into prints and develop them into a more finished project. Because I have been so heavily involved in work I have not been able to express myself the way I used to so having my studio at Maryland Hall has been great.

What are the primary materials that you use?  

Pen and watercolor for the initial sketches I have been doing. I carry a small cheap ten color watercolor kit. For the prints I use copper plates and ink - typically black and white. I might experiment with color this go around though.

What’s your earliest memory of art?

Probably my art teacher from middle school. It was around Easter time and I came home with these really intricate drawings of “Eggtown” and I did everything cars, buildings, etc. In elementary school art was prominent. In Middle school, the curriculum changed and for some reason art was lost somewhere.  I was more science oriented. In highschool I went back to taking art classes.

What work of art do you most wish you’d made?

Any of Jeff Koons balloon animal sculptures mainly because I wish the large scale is something I could do. I just don’t have the means to really do that. I want to create a mechanical menagerie and have these large scale mechanical animals. They would probably be paper mache but I will refine the technique from my previous paper mache endeavors.

How has your time as an AIR been? Was it how you expected?

It has been great being here. I live with two other people and they have  turned our kitchen table into a craft center.For me, it’s really just creating a mess and not cleaning it up. So, it has been really nice to have a studio where I come back to everything where I left it. I was an AIR in the past as well and I came into that residency with no expectations. It both was and wasn’t what I was thinking.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?

I think if i don’t like the process then I won’t like the result. [In printmaking] you have to prepare the plate in such a way first or the rest of the system won’t work. If you miss a step the acid won’t set or the ink won’t dry, and so on. I become somewhat obsessed with the process. I can tell going to a bar if the process is going to work based on who is there, what music it is, what bar I’m at, etc.

What is your ideal creative activity?

Driving. I had the grand scheme of finding a studio space and etching these drawings when I was on a really long drive. It has happened multiple times - on the jersey turnpike when I have been by myself long enough that my mind starts turning and I want to pull over and start writing all these things down.

Which artists do you most admire?

I have been heavily influenced by illustrators. My grandmother had the older version of the old Wizard of Oz stories. Some are full color illustrations and some are just black and white. the whole fantastical themes stuck with me.

My favorite artists are

Quentin Blake - Roaldl Dahl Books

Hilary Knight - Elouise

W.W. Denslow - Wizard of Oz

Edward Gorey -  The Gashlycrumb Tinies

What is something you are proud of that you have created in the past?

The Electric Elephant is a book that my grandfather wrote. It was based on another story with the same title. He wrote 50 pages filled with stories and they always incorporated me and my 3 cousins, Kate, Sam, and Grace on an adventure. I illustrated the whole book.

Who are some of your role models?

Outside of my parents it would be some of the people I worked with previously. I worked at Rams Head and met a lot of really incredible tour managers. A lot of the female tour managers were really influential in a really man-dominated industry.

 

What is your creative ambition?

A mechanical menagerie based off of my animal prints is definitely something to work towards.

What are the obstacles to this ambition?

Space and size. When I was working on the elephant the last time I was here, I wanted to do an art installation kind of art walk. At the time there were a lot of unfortunate empty storefront spaces in Historic Annapolis. I would like to use those spaces at some point and create random areas for art installations. It would include a pop-up art walk.

How do you begin your day?

Currently just setting a loose plan for the day. Trying to get into a routine.

What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?

Circles are definitely repetitive in my art. If you look through any of my sketchbooks you will see them everywhere.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?

Outside of doing these portraits of people at bars there was not a lot of dialog like that at work. But, I do rely on a conversation to further what I am doing. I like it to be someone who is far away from the process and from me. Sometimes it takes someone, who has no idea about my work, that asks me a question that sparks an answer or another way to see or do things.

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