We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Boyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what inspires you?
I think ultimately I am inspired by connection.
Connection to others. Connection to ones deeper self, your own thoughts and emotions. Connection to nature, to the world around us.
Art is often about representation of an inner world. But to even begin to express one’s own inner world, let alone represent it in a creative manner, one must be able to recognize it, access it. At the very least, be willing to encounter it and then share it.
Through this vulnerability of diving deep and coming back to the surface to share a chunk of yourself with others, inevitably someone else looks at what you’ve shared and says
“I see you.”
THIS moment. This spark of energy focusing two formerly unlinked beings on one another is breathtaking. The power of being seen. Known.
Whether it’s us turning towards our own inner self and offering that validation, that empathy, or sharing that with another person, the power of this moment is what inspires me to continue creating.
Connection requires vulnerability, and vulnerability requires courage. Art can require the same. It’s a risk, of course. But the reward, well. The reward is what makes it all worth it. To know, even for a moment, that others are alongside you or that someone breathed easier because of you. To be rooted, even for a little while, to the world around you and its hum of life, to another being – what beautiful gifts.
So while nature and landscapes with all of their color and life directly inspire my color choices and composition while I paint, big picture – it’s connection that drives me most. I am pursuing art as a means to connect:
More deeply with myself, to be more known, loved and whole.
More deeply with nature, asking to be rooted, grounded, inspired, and ever in awe.
More deeply with my Creator, the master artist.
More deeply with others, as a means to hold space, to offer and receive the powerful sentiment that “you are not alone.”
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My painting practice is heavily process based. I have always loved the concept of art as process not just art as a finished product. This means that the way in which I paint, each step of the journey, is just as important to me as the finished painting. My works are quite detailed and time consuming, but the slow rhythmical pace of repetitive mark making brings calm and stillness to me, in hopes that my finished works would offer the same to the viewer.
I work most often with watercolor and ink on paper or claybord. I begin by drawing a grid in pencil by hand, 3/16 in squares, and then I use a small brush to paint in the grid with various repeating marks and patterns. At times my pieces are painted while laying flat, like traditional watercolor pieces, but most are painted with the surface standing upright. This allows the medium to act on its own alongside me as I paint, collecting and occasionally falling, creating trails of color down the surface. It is quite meaningful to me that while I aim to be precise and controlled in my painting, the medium does something outside of my control. Sometimes the results aren’t what I hoped, but most often in the end it turns out more beautiful than I could have expected. The metaphor in that is a reminder I need often and appreciate from my process.
I have developed this process of painting over years. But it all started in college as I began to struggle with anxiety. I aimed to combine breathing and coping techniques with my painting practice, and the result has been a journey of pursuing my passions in a way that offers my own being healing and wholeness, with the hopes of connecting and sharing that with others.
I grew up pursing creativity. I studied Fine Art in college and have worked in the creative world ever since. I have had some wonderful jobs along the way, but the most unexpected of which was when my husband and I opened a brewery together. Newly married, we jumped head first into the world of entrepreneurship. I have learned priceless lessons about business and bravery in risk taking through that opportunity that I am now getting to apply to my own art career. The value of having the chance to see someone with a dream, and then put in the work to make it reality – this has given me the tools I needed to take that leap for myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Chattanooga, TN and some of my favorite spots in this city are outside! Hiking on Signal Mountain or having a picnic on a bolder in a creek bed, paddling on the river, you name it. Chattanooga has some incredible places to connect with nature. After an outdoor adventure I’d insist you visit Oddstory Brewing Co for a cold beer. I’m quite biased of course, but they’re the best in town. If you’re hungry I’d send you to Lupi’s or Community Pie for pizza, Hello Monty for their burger (the plant based option is fantastic) or Cashew for all things vegan! Clumpies ice cream for dessert is also a must.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout goes to a whole host of incredible women in my life who have shaped me into who I am today. Women who have taught me intensity and ferocity, tenderness and truth. Women who have gone before me and shared their knowledge. Women who have looked deep into my being and called forth the strength they knew was there. Women who have loved me through it all.
And to my husband, my best friend, my calm in every storm, without whom my life would infinitely be less.
All photos by Kiersten Williams