Emily Besser’s interest in colour and line form has been informing her works over the past six to 12 months. The Sydney-based artist is exhibiting in a couple of end-of-year shows - at Koskela in Sydney until 24 December and Boom Gallery in Geelong until 23 December.
“I love the flatness of paint, but I also love its plasticity, its sculptural possibilities, and the surprises that can happen when lines push and pull and create depth, landscape and new sight-line visions,” she says.
Today Emily she shares her daily art practice. You can read her original interview on Daily Imprint here.
Describe a typical working day My work day begins after the school and kindy drop-offs. There are domestic diversions aplenty but if all goes well I walk into my studio by 11 and don’t leave until 2.30-2.45pm.
What are your preferred tools, materials and equipment? I paint on three different surfaces: primed board, stretched canvas, and paper. There are different brushes I favour for use on each surface but overall my materials are simple: paint, surface and brushes. The simplicity of the materials is reassuring, but also presents a challenge to somehow reinvent them each day.
How do you dress for your job? I wear my usual day clothes, jeans and top, and I get paint on absolutely everything.
What is the current state of your desk or creative space? My studio is a a bit of a mess, but not feral. I’ve always worked in a controlled-mess kind of situation, and I’ve always worked on the floor too. I recently moved into a new studio space where I can now put my paintings up on the walls around me, this clears the floor up a lot but has been an adjustment in terms of visual perspective. I’m still adjusting to this new way of working, and seeing my work.
I’ve never really made tidying up a part of my creative process, the way some artists do. It may be unwise of me but I seem to be able to get by in a seething mess of paint tubes and brushes on the floor. And of course there is order there, it looks messy, but I know where every little thing is, most of the time.
What's your approach to managing technology - from emails to social media? Social media, like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, is so easy to use, and connects me to a community of creative people. I use it as a personal record, a gallery, a distraction, and a space to enjoy other people’s creativity. I try to use it intentionally rather than as a distraction but this doesn’t always work. Emails, artist statements, invoices, etc require me to set aside time and sit still at the computer, and usually take up a few hours a week. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed doing it, as I’d rather be painting, but I do get a lot of satisfaction from the admin side of things when it’s done properly and not on the fly. And it is such an essential part of staying connected in my professional relationships with people.
What’s your preferred pick-me-up? A good song, a cup of Earl Grey tea, snacks with almonds and dates.
How do you combat physical or creative lulls? Creative lulls happen all the time and usually always at some point during a painting session. First, I try to push through it, often that works. But I do acknowledge the feelings and if it persists I ask myself why it is happening. There’s usually an answer, or at least an internal conversation about it, which takes away the anxiety around it and makes it workable. Because of the constraints on my time, I have to make the most of the hours I do get to paint, no matter how I’m feeling, and whether I want to paint or not. I don’t bulldoze my feelings but I do treat my painting like work that has to be done, which it is. And I also happen to enjoy it immensely.
What role does silence or sound play in your day? More often than not I listen to music while I work. Music throws me right into that thought-feeling place where I can work from. I can pick up where I last left off. But some days the thought of listening to music is too much, so I just paint to the sounds around me.
What's the last thing you do before finishing work for the day? I take photos of my work. I usually have to end my work day before I really want to, so taking a photo is a way of keeping the work close to me as I race out the door for school pick-up. It also allows me some perspective and distance from my work, by looking at it in photo form, while I’m away from the studio.
images courtesy of emily besser, koskela and boom gallery