by Lorie Lewis Ham
Here at KRL we enjoy featuring local artists of all kinds, and this week we are profiling Reedley artist, Emma Schwagerl. Emma has lived in Reedley her entire life.
KRL: When did you first become interested in art?
Emma: Since I can remember, really. I come from a big family (six kids total) so finding a sense of individuality can be tough, and that was the one defining thing I always had since I was really small, that I was the “artist” of the family.
KRL: What types of art do you do/mediums do you work in?
Emma: Having a “style” and a medium I’m proficient at has always been this big goal that I recently realized was unrealistic to put on myself. I honestly love trying different mediums so I’ve never really committed to mastering any and am constantly trying new ones. Right now I’m really into digital painting, and gouache paints; gouache has a strong similarity to watercolors while also being opaque and that combo is perfect for what I like to make right now.
KRL: What inspires you?
Emma: The biggest inspiration I get is actually from other artists, their use of colors, or a technique they use. That’s one of the perks of being an artist during this time is being able to connect and see art from people all over, not just mainstream art.
KRL: When did you first begin selling your art?
Emma: I think the first time I sold a piece I was 15. I didn’t start selling my art and taking commissions on a serious level until 2018, and I’ve just been selling on and off since then!
KRL: I understand you have an Etsy shop, what types of art do you sell on there? And how can people find you there?
Emma: Yes I do! If you just type in Etsy.com/shop/emmaschwagerl in your browser you’ll find me! At the time being, I’m selling prints of some of my original works! On occasion, I add listings for custom pet portraits on there as well.
KRL: What do you like best about creating art?
Emma: The feeling when you finish a painting, it’s such a strong feeling of accomplishment. Knowing I created something unique, that I MADE something from nothing but my own ideas, is really a great feeling. That’s definitely the best part for me.
KRL: What is the hardest?
Emma: Always being several skill levels below your taste. Something I think a lot of people don’t recognize about making art is that it’s a lot of skill building, we can’t just produce what we envision. And that’s very hard on your pride as an artist. It’s lots of making something over and over and it getting a little better each time. It’s like what I paint is always a few steps behind what my ideas truly are.
KRL: Do you display your art at local galleries or events?
Emma: I’m far from being a fine artist displaying in galleries! I have however displayed/sold my art at the Reedley art hops.
KRL: Do you create your art in a specific place/atmosphere?
Emma: I’m a pretty particular person, so I’m rarely ever working on anything outside my studio at home. The only exception is when I’m working on something digital cause all I need is my iPad, that being said I still almost exclusively work at home in my studio!
KRL: How long does it usually take you?
Emma: It depends on what I’m making. Longer than you’d expect I’m sure! Something quick is a couple hours. Average is 4-10 hours. I’d guess the longest I’ve spent on one piece was 20-30 hours.
KRL: Do you have a day job as well?
Emma: I do! I’m the manager at a gift shop in Reedley
KRL: Future goals for your art?
Emma: I think the dream would be to make art I love, and be able to sell prints and originals at a livable wage. I make the most from commissions, which can be draining. Being able to make paintings solely based on what I want to make, and make a profit, is the best set up I could imagine.
KRL: Do you have a website and/or social media for your art?
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