AMBER EMM – ARTIST / TEACHER
How would you describe yourself?
I am a realist, a do-aholic if that makes any sense I can’t waste a day. I have to achieve something every day whether its painting, gardening or just getting the groceries done.
How have you seen your art evolve over the years?
I have always had an eye for detail, as the year go by my focus has become more intense along with my skills. I try to challenge myself with each new painting.
What inspired you to do what you do?
The Beauty around me. Painting is my happy place, where I feel my best. It is my strength, it’s something I know I am really good at and I can’t waste it.
What would be your best advice for someone wanting to go into business for themselves?
Get as much advice from as many people in the business. No question is too dumb to ask. Go get it, don’t wait for it to come to you.
How do you handle all your different responsibilities, what are your priorities & Responsibilities?
I work from home and of course with that comes mum/wife on demand, so family will always come first then painting. The rest just has to wait. I am a hopeless housewife as I would rather be painting, so always ring before popping in so I can do the mad lady tornado cleaning. After painting is definitely boating which is one of the reason we live in Auckland.
Any goals for the future?
My husband and I want to travel and I am sure this will change my painting. I would love to do more figurative work.
Tell us a little bit about your family.
I have one older sister and 9 step brothers and sisters so a rather disruptive childhood which has made me very appreciative of my wonderful Husband of 25yrs our 2 teenage children and my dog. We still live in our first home which was a house removal which we have been working on for the last 25yrs, I don’t think we will ever sell it but we might move up north to be by the sea and away from the city. We love boating and have done up 2 wrecks of boats on our back lawn. Both made it back in the water within 18months and we use our last one as much as we can. We live in Whenuapai , Auckland
Biggest life lesson?
“Life isn’t fair so find the positive”
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
You can only sell it once; if someone wants it don’t save it for an exhibition.
Share with us your favourite quote.
“Be the best that you can be”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From what I see every day the beauty around us. We truly are blessed to live here.
Who is your favourite artist?
Barry Ross Smith. I love his humor and colour pallet.
What artist movement(s) do you feel most inspired by?
The old masters they were real pioneers and their skills were amazing, none of the tools we have today.
Talk about your art…how do you feel you art has evolved since you first picked up a paint brush?, what do you aim to do within your paintings? are you a ‘clean’ painter or do you need to get your hands dirty when you paint?
I am a very precise painter with an eye for detail and a love of contrast, light and shadow. I wouldn’t say I was a tidy painter and I am definitely not a tidy homemaker, but it is all of me. I live to create and struggle sitting idle. I was trained as a traditional signwriter before computer stickers came along so have good brush skills and am very good at drawing what I see. I first started painting in water colours then moved to acrylic and then after winning an oil set from the French art shop for 2nd place in the professional section of the Easter show I decided to give them ago and haven’t looked back. Over the years I have developed that skill and with each painting I feel the drive to make it better, more photo like. That is the challenge for me. I would like to brake out every now and then and do some really imaginative work but to make a living as an artist in New Zealand you have to try and keep your following. I know when I changed from boats and coastal New Zealand to painting Flowers I took a big hit in sales just because no one knew who I was for a while.
My teaching has been an amazing journey and I am sure it has made me a lot better painter and given me great confidence as it truly makes you realise just how much you know. It has made me paint things that I would never have painted but in doing so I have really enjoyed it and the people I have meet and made friends with I wouldn’t change for anything. I have a blessed life and feel very lucky to be able to follow my passion with the love and support of my family.
Are there any exhibition/art event you went to recently that most impressed you and why were you impressed?
My own students exhibition. What impressed me was seeing them all together and knowing how far they had all come and how much courage they have shown to put their work up for display. It was a good as any exhibition in town and for a 10th of the price people have no idea what a deal they can get.
In your opinion, what makes good art?
That’s the best thing about art, There is no right or wrong it all comes down to If someone likes it enough and is willing to part with their money. Then to me it has value whether it is my taste or not, we are all so different.