Litro #151: Adrenaline: Artist Q & A with Emma Coyle
Emma Coyle is this month’s cover artist. Coyle has been based in London for the past ten years. Her work has appeared in numerous galleries and publications internationally as well as locally. She has also expanded her audience by exhibiting in LA and NYC where her work has been well received. She is represented by DegreeArt, the Marylebone Gallery and the Stowaway Gallery in London.
Tell us about yourself, your background and ethos.
I grew up in Ireland and graduated in 2003 with a degree in Fine Art. I have been based in London since 2006, specialising in painting. Just this year I have started incorporating sculpture into my practice. I have a strong interest in the process of making of art, of which colour and line work are very important in my paintings.
Who inspires you?
I spend a lot of time in the galleries and museums in London, I find it interesting and an important part of my work, to see what is going on around the city. For me this is my main inspiration or encouragement.
How did you get into art?
I don’t remember anything driving me in particular. I think I just always liked the process of making something.
Can you tell us a bit about your latest project ‘Untitled’? What inspired you to focus the themes on fashion and seduction?
I have always liked the idea of using the style of Pop Art and incorporating it into something more, mixing new and old. Previously I worked with mixing the style along with imagery from the Silver Screen and Japanese advertisements of the 1920’s. Since moving to London I found a new interest in fashion history and I wanted make my imagery more contemporary with using fashion photography from the present. My Untitled series is a progression of this idea. I think the seduction theme goes hand in hand with today’s fashion photography, I don’t think it was something intentional on my part.
Visual art, like all art, is about communication and expression. How does your work fit within our cultural conversation? And how do you ensure the conversation carries on with your work?
I think any artist working in contemporary art mirrors the world around them. We look to now and the future which embraces our current existence, our work carries on as we live life.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
At the moment I have been collecting American art publication from the 1950’s to 1980’s. I have a huge interest in art history, in particular the New York Art School and I prefer to read books written of the time.
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
I honestly don’t know, it would of course be something to do with living in Ireland in the 1980’s. I’ve always had a strong interest in movies and I inherited that at a very early age.
How do you relax?
For me working on my art is relaxing. Without progressing my art from week to week would definitely make me on edge.
Can you give us your top 5-10 tips for budding artists?
I think anyone would only need one main tip, and that is to always make the art that you want. Never get tied up in other options and social media. Take advice from others in the field but only use what you are comfortable with. The artists who I most respect are educated in art, this doesn’t necessarily mean a formal education but taking your own initiative to read about all forms of art and going out in galleries to see what is happening in the art world. Once you have a knowledge of art history and the art around you, your art will get stronger as the years go on.
Could you name your top five artists – and explain why they impress you?
My top five contemporary artists would be Julian Opie, Mel Ramos, Claes Oldenburg, Miles Aldridge and David Downton. I think each of them represents a high quality in the production of visual art and the execution of artistic ideas. Their individual artistic progression of art practice is a real inspiration.
How would you define creativity?
I think it’s quite simple thinking. Visual artists, musicians or writers all start with a thinking process, how ideas are incorporated or executed is up to the individual.
In an internationalist, interconnected world, ideas and creativity are constantly being flung across community threads, internet forums and social media sites (among many others). With so many different voices speaking at once, how do you cut through the incessant digital background babble? How do you make your creativity – your voice – stand out and be heard?
I think I have always stood out as an artist by not embracing social media and the Internet to strongly and keeping to my own work process with my own ideas. I have always been an artist who prefers to work on my art practice on my own and not use my energy on discussions or thinking about people’s responses to my work. I am very focused when it comes to my work and I am a very private person, for me social media ect can be intrusive. I use LinkedIn only, which is how I was fortunate to meet you. I find it a nice formal format to extend my art practice to a greater audience. The internet is an important platform for the art world but I think it can also become a distraction as it is 24/7. High quality publications like this one have more interest and substance to me than an online blog.
What’s next in terms of future projects?
I have completed the Untiled series and have been working on a new idea within abstraction. I was interested in combing painting and sculpture to forward the ideals of abstraction using the term ‘Linear Abstraction’. Using a section of an abstract painting, I am working the section into a three dimensional sculpture. It has been a process which I am very proud of and has been visually successful.
I am also working on combined paintings, matching and combining images of female portraits and cats on large canvases. This series is very much at the beginning.