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AS IS | Emma Talbot


From Stourbridge, UK

Based in London

We interviewed magnificent Emma Talbot about her art path, nature of the inspiration, recommendations for those who are at the beginning of their art path, and many more

A: Please, tell us a bit more about yourself. What brought you into art?

E: I studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art and the Royal College of Art. I now live and have my studio in London, where I work with drawing, painting, installation, and 3-dimensional forms to explore the inner landscape of personal thought, emotion, and narrative. These individual subjectivities are then cast into wider narratives, addressing prevalent contemporary concerns. My work is often hand-drawn or painted onto silk or other textiles, and incorporates some of my own writing or quotes from other sources. It explores the personal as political, social politics, gender, the natural world, and our intimacy with technology and language.

In 2008 I was announced as the eighth winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women.

A: What inspires you the most?

E: I’m currently on my residency as part of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, organized by Collezione Maramotti.Having been able to spend time in Sicily and study the land, I’ve really appreciated the ways that principles of permaculture can be applied to life and to making art. Permaculture isn’t an ideology or a doctrine, and I find many of the principles - such as giving yourself time to observe and reflect, appreciating the usefulness of mistakes, using small and slow solutions, using the edges and valuing the marginal, creatively using and responding to change, etc. - to be really inspiring guidelines right now.

A: What would you recommend to someone new to art (an artist or just an admirer), what to begin with?

E: Figuring out how making art can become a refuge and a space to really articulate your thinking is fundamental. Follow your own thoughts. However tough life is, art can be a really valuable space for exploring thinking, even with very little means.

A: Your top 3 adjectives related to art?

E: Rather than three adjectives, these are the concepts that are required for the art world and its future: equality, consideration, sustainability.

A: The perfect phrase to start any conversation about art is: ..?

E: “There must be another way…”

A: Must-read books to help us talk about art (or do we even need them)?

E: My favorite books change all the time, but at the moment Isabelle Stengers’ "In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism"; Arundhati Roy’s "Azadi"; Clarice Lispector’s "Água Viva"; Edna O’Brien’s "Night", and Hélène Cixous "Coming To Writing".

I also recommend "The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction" by Ursula K Le Guin.

A: Please, share your favorite quote (not necessarily related to art):

E: “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks, and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”(Arundhati Roy, ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’, 2020)

Thank you!

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