EF: I would describe my works as abstract florals. I use a lot of floral imagery in my work but not in a traditional sense. Florals are sort of a jumping off point to experiment with shapes, colors, and textures. I used to work predominantly with paint but for the past few years collage has become a big part of my work.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
EF: I draw inspiration from all kinds of places. My daily walk to the studio, art books, magazines, Instagram. I have been known to stop people on the street to take pictures of their outfits if I like the patterns or color combos of their clothing. I think the most important thing is to always be looking.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
EF: I rarely go into a new work without any idea of how I’d like it to turn out. Usually I dream up some sort of idea or technique I’d like to try. Then it almost never works the way I thought it would. Then I work off of that and something new emerges. I’m never married to an idea, I’m always open to changing it as I’m working – at least for me the work turns out better this way. Sometimes when I’m starting something new and have no ideas I just put paint down and see what happens. Like any colors, any placement, it doesn’t matter and then I work off that. It’s so daunting to look at a blank canvas, it’s so much easier to work off of something that’s there even if it’s a mistake or something you don’t initially like the look of.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
EF: I am open to having people interpret my work as they like. I enjoy putting (what I hope to be) beautiful things out into the world. Many people have told me looking at my work makes them feel happy. If that is what they take from it that makes me happy too.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
EF: I joke to people that half of the appeal of being an artist is that I don’t have to wake up early in the morning. I tend to take my time in the morning and then work throughout the afternoon into the evening. I typically go to the studio 5 days a week and take the weekend off (so that I can see my friends who have a more regular schedule). If I have a show or deadline coming up I might go everyday. It doesn’t really feel like work to me, I enjoy it so much. There are some annoying things to deal with of course – I don’t have a car and so I am always carrying a ton of things around and my income isn’t always consistent but you find ways to make everything work.
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?
EF: I think it really depends on what kind of artwork you make. I have some friends who plan everything out on the computer and then execute that exact thing at the studio and it really works for them. I work with collage a lot and so for me the element of chance and observing what looks good in the moment is very important. I would argue that having too rigid a plan might prevent the work from being as good as it could be if you were open to changing it as you worked. When I was younger I would read interviews with artists and some would say things like ‘I let the painting tell me what it wants to become’ and think they were crazy. But as I’ve gotten older and made more work I sort of see what they meant.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
EF: I think the biggest lesson (and I apologize if it’s too cliché or simple) is don’t be afraid to try things. If you want to try a new medium, just try it. If it’s a disaster you can go back to the medium that works for you. If you want to cold email a gallery you think you aren’t ready for, just email them. If they reject you, you can email them new work in 6 months. If people love a certain series you make and you are sick of making it, just stop making it for awhile – there will be people who like the new things you might make. If someone offers you a show and you don’t think you’re ready just say yes and figure it out (maybe this one isn’t the best advice but I do think having a deadline is motivating and you can surprise yourself). I know so many very talented people who are shy to put themselves out there and I believe you should push yourself and get a little uncomfortable.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
EF: I hate to sound superficial but I really do love beautiful things. I don’t know if I regard personal taste and style to be of the highest importance but it is definitely something I enjoy cultivating and also admire in others. I think a lot of artists have very distinct tastes and I would say it’s very clear to me what I am drawn to and what I love.
EF: Maybe the hardest thing is that there is no set path. But I also sometimes think that is the best thing too. I just mean that it’s difficult to ask for set advice because there really isn’t anything that you definitely should do or definitely shouldn’t do. I would also say it can be very challenging to keep going if you are having a hard time making things you like, or if you’ve gone through a lot of rejection. It’s so important to keep going. Once you’ve made it through some of those challenges it gets much easier to deal with others as they arise.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
EF: Basically the thing I love the most is the magic of it – I love that I can look at something I’ve finished and admire it and not even know how I made it. I love getting swept up in the process.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artists that inspires you in any way?
EF: I find the way Rauschenberg worked very inspiring. He was so innovative and experimental. And his pieces are some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
EF: I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Although I’m not the most technologically advanced person I do think you can do amazing things with it. I get people to help me but I wish I knew enough that I could do it myself (because it can be so hard to communicate exactly what you want to others). I totally think it’s a great tool. Just as a simple example I learned how to take slides in art school and the ease with which I can snap a photo on my phone of what I’m working on is so great. Also it’s amazing to have access to and be able to see what artists are making all over the world – the internet changed everything.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
EF: I think so but it’s hard to say because I can only see things as someone who has followed a creative path. I will say though that my artist friends often make observations that are really amazing even if we are just walking down the street or doing something mundane. Much more so than my other friends. So I would lean towards yes, I do think we see the world differently.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
EF: I don’t love going too far away for long periods of time. I enjoy my regular life so much I don’t always feel the need to get away. But I do love New York, so so much! I go a few times a year if I can. I’ve also done a studio swap with a friend there before and that was so great. I love everything about that city.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
EF: I enjoy reading books that give some sort of insight into the lives of artists. Some favorites include Bad Boy about the life of Eric Fischl, and Lives of the Artists by Calvin Tomkins. Also Joe Fig has these great books Inside the Artist’s Studio and Inside the Painter’s Studio.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
EF: I’ve done a number of art fairs in New York but I would like to have gallery representation there at some point. I also sometimes daydream about having a museum show.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
EF: I don’t often think about what it means to me, but I suppose it means a great deal. I’m very grateful I get to make things that make people happy and spend my time the way I do.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
EF: Hunting Bears by Radiohead
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
EF: I like that flowers play a role in a lot of significant moments in life and have this ability to bring joy and comfort. I’m not trying to present the viewer with a realistic interpretation of the flower but rather convey the beauty and the impressions which they leave behind in our memories.