Art is made richer when it comes from an honest and sincere place. Emma Carter’s work is filled with real yet cathartic moments that both shock and impress. In our latest spotlight, Emma details the personal experiences that inspire her work, and what she’s hopeful for this year.
Q: Hello Emma! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Hey hey! I am a 22 year-old visual art student, a self-portraiture photographer, and an occasional illustrator. I have a habit of leaving the country to embrace “culture” but just end up “tasting culture” by drinking around the world.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: My own personal struggles with mental health issues are the main drive of a lot of my artworks. My photographic work captures and expresses my depression, anxiety and PTSD, which all roots back to when I was raped in 2011. For around a year after this experience I experienced a tremor in my hands, this made it extremely difficult for me to practice my drawings that I had grown up doing on the daily. I turned to photography, a method I had very little knowledge in but a great deal of interest in.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: I love photography and drawing equally, it’s so hard to say which I prefer as I love them both for different reasons.
As my photography is mostly self-portraiture, I mostly do a shoot when my mental health is way, way down. My 2015 series What Cannot Be Seen wouldn’t have happened had I not had an anxiety attack that woke me from my sleep the night before. The entire shoot was my way of visually explaining how I felt in the moment when I woke up to having the biggest anxiety attack of my life; it’s still the biggest one I’ve had to date. It was such a risky shoot to do as well, I was home alone and wrapped my head with Glad-Wrap and between shots with the self-timer I would poke a straw up the through the Glad-Wrap into my mouth just so I could breathe.
My drawings have always been something I would sit down and spend hours working on at a time. I’ve always loved to draw cartoons and wanted to be an illustrator and an animator when I was a child, I’ve since grown into drawing characters that I’d love to use for card designs. I adore hyper-realistic portraiture as well; I have attempted realistic-portraiture and love being able to teach myself new ways to capture others around me. Drawing has always been so relaxing for me; unfortunately it just takes me so long to get into now.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Shocking, deep, frightening, confronting, hopefully not cliché.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: Because of my experience with my tremor, my drawings take a lot for me to sit down and do. Once I’m in the mood to draw I seriously cannot stop, I usually end up over-doing or ruining works because I keep telling myself that it isn’t done!
My photography is a bit different and a bit harder for me to get into as my work is usually done when my mental health is getting bad or when I’m at breaking point. I have a huge note on my phone with ideas for my photo shoots that I know can only be done when I’m not doing great – I believe that doing my photography in these mental states has a more authentic final piece.
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: I’m hoping to become an art teacher within the next three so hopefully somewhere in-between that time I’ll be able to experience a few exhibitions and make a few sales on my works.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: Gottfried Helnwein, he is my all-time favourite artist, his works and his life-story just blow my mind. Such a talented artist, just… just go look him up.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: ACMI in Melbourne has always been my favourite gallery to visit; it’s interactive and has amazing exhibitions.
Q: Where can we find more of your artwork?
Q: In a year of great uncertainty and ill judgement, what are you optimistic for in 2017?
A: Hoooooboy, after the year that 2016 has been I’m just hoping that the weather and the people will be kinder and let me pat their doggos.