How did you get involved in art?

I think I’ve always had an innate desire to create.  As a child I was always doodling, drawing out stories, and doing all sorts of crafts.  Art was always my favorite elective in school, and sometimes during the summers I would go to a couple of art day camps, but for the most part I was self-trained up until high school.  After I began devoting much more time and energy to my art, I became more and more passionate about it, leading me to study at SFAI’s pre-college program last summer and The Oxbow School this past semester.


Why do you create art?

So many reasons.  I tend to be a very focused, detail-oriented person, so creating art has always been a very therapeutic process for me in that sense.  I love getting lost in the meticulous details of a drawing or painting for hours and am constantly in awe of the infinite detail that can be achieved with a sharp pencil or a thin brush.  Art always calms and centers my mind.  I also love that there are endless possibilities when I’m creating – I have the ability to share something with the world that has never been seen before.  It is incredibly rewarding to have a tangible record of my hard work and my voice – to fully see my ideas materialize right in front of me.


What is your inspiration?

I honestly find inspiration all around me, as cliché as that sounds.  I see the world very visually, meaning that I like to closely observe everything around me and that I instinctively take mental notes of colors, forms, patterns, etc. that I find intriguing.  Another huge source of inspiration for me is other people, and specifically young creatives who are looking to share their voice and to effect change in the world.  It’s seeing what kids my age are doing with their creative voices that really inspires me to explore new things and opens my mind to new ideas.  There are so, so many ways to create art, and seeing how different artists approach and respond to the same problem in vastly different manners is always fascinating.


How has being a young woman affected the way you express yourself?

Being a young woman in light of recent events has definitely made me realize the importance of putting my voice out there and expressing myself more so than ever before.  In a time when so many people want to silence our voices, we must be heard.  I believe that art can make an especially powerful statement, and I’m beginning more and more to infuse my art with feminist statements.


How are you involving yourself in the art world currently?

I recently returned from my four months at The Oxbow School, where art-making is very interconnected with academics and students are very engaged with the art world.  We were always researching artists and even had the opportunity to be taught by two artists-in-residents for ten days each, which was hugely inspiring and a great way to network with people who have received high acclaim in the art world.  I also returned from Oxbow very inspired to create and with many ideas for new projects that I can’t wait to start working on when I return home for the rest of the summer and this upcoming year!  I’m currently looking for more awesome publications like Wednesday Zine to contribute work to and am in the process of launching my website and instagram account (follow graysaon.m!).

Emily Blake