I came across self taught Perth artist Emily Joan Gibbs on facebook. In October, Emily started a Sketch a Day Challenge, where she would allow herself just 20 minutes each day to produce a piece using various mediums. Then in November, Emily competed in Artgames, where two artists painted head to head at the Good Shepherd in Leederville. Artists were given a theme prior and had to paint live in front of a crowd. Emily made it to the finals and loved the challenge. She also met heaps of wonderful people and found it to be a great learning experience. Check out some of her work from the Sketch a Day Challenge. To find out more about Emily, you can follow her on Instagram: @emilyjoangibbs or her head to her Facebook.
You’re a self-taught artist. How did you first get into art?
I have always drawn and had the desire to be creative. Both my parents are very creative and were a strong influence on me. I guess I was always that kid making the posters and doodling all over her page in class. I always asked for paints and art supplies for christmas and birthdays, this made me experiment and mess up my parents house!
What is your favourite ever original and why?
I’ve been following a girl named Dessie Jackson on her creative Journey for a year or so now. Her work is truly inspiring, though I don’t have one particular piece that is my favourite. But her work as a collection is really beautiful. If I’m speaking about an original of mine I’d have to say my first ever painting would have to be my favourite. It was a piece I did for my nanas 80th of my Nana and Grandad’s old house on their Yanchep property. At that stage I hadn’t produced a piece of work I was proud of. When others saw the painting and labelled me an artist I knew I wanted to do more.
Tell us about your sketch-a-day challenge.
I was going through a bit of a “where am I going in life” moments one afternoon (which I think is important to do every so often) And I noticed when people asked if they could see my work as an artist I had very little to show. This made me realise the only way to grow as an artist was to be creative as much as I could. However, being a full time student working part time it proved to be rather difficult. So I gave myself 20 minutes a day “that would be enough time,” I thought. At first it was hard to post something that wasn’t finished or that I didn’t particularly like. There were many queries to family and friends as to whether it was ‘good enough.’ The feedback I received from posting to Facebook and Instagram was outstanding and really pushed me to do more. The restrictive time frame forced me to open up creatively and let go of any inhibitions.
What draws you to sketching people?
Our imperfections I think. I’m drawn to our differences; it’s what makes us beautiful. It’s because we are unique that we are all so intriguing. I want to capture an emotion in my skectches, and what better way than to draw the eyes.
What inspires you to create?
My inspiration comes at the most erratic times. Whether it’s 2am and I can’t sleep, or it’s in the middle of a lecture at Tafe. Or maybe just on the couch at home, all I know is I’m learning to take it and run with it! Mostly though I find inspiration strikes when I am emotional. I might be stressed to the max with study so I’ll draw to gather my thoughts and feel a bit more confident. Or I’ll be inspired by summer hangs at the beach with friends, my emotions come through onto the page.
Tell us about your other creative interests.
I’m currently in my 3rd and final year at Tafe studying my Advanced Diploma in Applied Fashion Design and technology. I love studying it and definitely see myself pairing my art and fashion as a career. Music is also a heavy influence in my life, mum being a music teacher I played a few instruments when I was younger. Now I just sing too much around the house!
What advice would you have for aspiring artists.
Draw, paint and be a messy creative every single day. And I mean every single day, even if you don’t feel like it! We learn by doing! However you wish to be creative, push yourself until you cannot satisfy your unquenchable thirst for more. Then do more! At risk of sounding a bit corny; I really enjoy this line from ‘Ten Thousand Hours’ by Macklemore- “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint, The greats were great cause they paint a lot”