EMILY JANE TODD

em 3 CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

EJT: My work usually features some of these themes: tactility, nostalgia, storytelling, authenticity and craftsmanship. These themes seem to overlap and interlink and are born out of my love of traditional methods of printmaking, bookbinding and analog photography.

CH:89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

EJT: Without sounding too cliché, like many young creatives who find themselves in big cities, I live in an ‘up and coming’ area called Elephant and Castle in South London. It is a community that is in the midst of a huge social and economic change making way for redevelopment and all the signs of gentrification that comes with it. My most recent work ‘3 Ghost Shops’, is a response to this place that I’ve called home for the last five years. The work was inspired by trying to capture the transient nature of the ever-changing urban environment that I’ve witnessed over these years by typographically telling the stories of three commercial addresses, documenting their traces before they disappear.

More generally, I love to collect things from flea markets, vintage fashion and pop culture magazines, strange floral artworks, found film in cameras, battered old kids toys….

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

EJT: It’s exciting but also quite hectic; there are lots of overlapping ideas and tangents to explore. I often go through a phase of really wrestling with projects, trying to refine what exactly it is I would actually like to try and communicate. Finally there’s a eureka moment, where everything clicks and comes together.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

em 1EJT: I’d like people to appreciate craftsmanship and technical skill more than they do, not just with my work but generally speaking too. A frightening amount of what we encounter on a daily basis is through a screen that’s, flat, edited and plastic. I’m a bit old school; I really appreciate handling authentic physical objects that have been made by talented people with care and real skill. There’s nothing nicer than picking up a hand bound book or seeing a fantastic bit of sign painting and really understanding the expertise, time and determination it’s taken to complete. Perhaps it’s something you only understand when you’ve tried to create something similar; maybe I’d like people to be inspired, to have a go themselves.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

EJT: I’m in a strange phase at the moment, having just completed my degree in graphic design I’m at the end of what’s feels like has been a long time in education. During these summer days I’ve made a conscious effort to walk my way around London instead of opting for buses or the underground. When walking I’ve found I’m more likely to stumble across interesting places.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

EJT: Every project is different, sometimes the initial direction is research led, other times it’s a response to a problem or sometimes the motive is more self-indulgent. Someone once told me that it really doesn’t matter where you start, creativity is like riding a bike; without pedaling you can’t expect to get anywhere. Basically don’t worry too much about what to start with just make an effort to generate stuff to get going.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

EJT: There’s never a ‘wrong answer’.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

EJT: I think personal style is important, I’m someone who enjoys experimenting with fashion and people have often commented that I have a ‘look’. I’m a fan of classic clothing, elements often taken from 60s mod culture but not to the extent that it becomes a costume. Taste is a bit more subjective, in terms of an item’s physical quality; I think it’s quite important. However, when it comes to thinking of something as ‘high culture’ or ‘low culture’ and therefore ‘bad taste’ I don’t think it’s so important, there’s no such thing as guilty pleasures in my book.

em4CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

EJT: The feeling of uncertainty with so many options.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

EJT: Being proud of yourself when you’ve perfected a new skill and made something that just works, seeing your work appreciated by others.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

EJT: Designers, creatives and artists alike, Eric Kessels, Ed Ruscha, Jonathan Ellery, Paul Smith, Katrien de Blauwer, Barbara Hulanicki, Dennis Hopper, Anni and Josef Albers… (to name a few).

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

EJT: “The medium is the message” as Marshall McLuhan says, choose the technology that feels appropriate.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

EJT: I think everyone possesses creativity in some form, I’ve been fortunate enough to realise my creative strengths and pursue them. Sometimes I think as creatives we’re able to see potential in things when others might not.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

EJT: I’m in my element when I’m discovering new places whether that’s a plane journey away or short walk away. My favourite city or place is tough. So far it’s between Valldemossa a small town in Mallorca, Spain or Yahşibey, a rural village on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Valldemossa is an idyllic example of an unspoilt Mediterranean town on the edge of the Tramuntana mountains. Yahşibey is a very rustic and charming village near Izmir that faces the beautiful Aegean coastline. My hometown of Liverpool will always have a nostalgic place in my heart too.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

EJT: Probably Sylvia Plath or Susana Kaysen.

em 5CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

EJT: To keep pressing letters on my new Adana printing press and to start a music blog that I’ve been meaning to start for ages.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

EJT: Freedom to faff about.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?

EJT: The day we caught the train, Ocean Colour Scene.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

EJT: If I had to summarize, I think it’s authentic and often nostalgic storytelling.

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