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An Interview about the Expressive Process of Making Art

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As someone with no artistic talent, I have always been in awe of people who can create any kind of art. I find myself gawking at the art of my friends and the small works they produce. One of these friends is Emily Collins, a fourth year student of UC Davis whom I met while on the track and field team in high school. Not only is she an incredibly talented artist (as you can see in the attached images), but she is a dancer, nursing student, and all around vibrant personality. I felt it all too appropriate to interview her to get a glimpse into a creative mind.

Question One: What inspires you to create? Do you find that you work better at certain times of day or night?

“Art is so fascinating to me because it truly is a visual representation of how one views the world. As I looked back on my portfolio, combined from YEARS of painting/drawing/charcoal, it shows to me my growth process as an adult. By that I mean I can see and remember the things I found were the most fascinating, the most beautiful things in the world, so much so that I would want to recreate them with my own hands.

“With that idea in mind, my inspiration to create has also changed a lot over the years. During high school, I was so fascinated with faces and how the effects of shading could create such distinct and unique facial expressions. Honestly, whenever I saw a facial expression that stood out to me, I would take a mental picture of it and be inspired to recreate it on paper later on. Same with shading, I was so amazed about how the darkness of my pencil lines could recreate the effect of sun [light] coming through a room, the waves of curly hair, or the crinkles of a paper bag.

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“Most recently I have been using art as an expression of human emotion. I’ve always considered studio art to be an expressive outlet, but this year I have used painting as a way to show the things that can’t be seen. I think that’s the other beauty of art, is that I can take the raw emotions and the thoughts inside my head –- things that no one else can see besides myself –- and throw them onto a piece of paper, allowing everyone else around me to see and feel the things that were once only subjective to me.”

Question Two: Is there a theme to what you create?

“I may go through themes during a season of artwork… but I don’t believe there is nor should there be one theme that embodies all of my pieces. There are common ideas that may come through a few of them (i.e. despair, overflowing joy, hope, happiness, etc.), but as I said earlier, I think having such so many unique art pieces allows me to show my growth as an artist, and leave each one with a greater impact than the last.”

Question Three: How do you want your art to be perceived?

“I always want my artwork to elicit something in the viewer. I know what the pieces mean to me, but when someone looks at what I create, I want something to be stirred up in them –-I want it to release a certain feeling, a memory, or a question in themselves. Another thing that’s beautiful about art is that although the feelings embodied in the piece are unique to me, I know that everyone experiences them. The way I paint a certain feeling may be completely different from how it “looks” in someone else’s mind, but by viewing my piece, it has, one, made them think about what it is, two, made them think about what it means, and three, if it resonates with them, elicits an emotion or a memory of their own. And with that, it has become much more than just my piece, it has become theirs as well.”

Nicola Salarpi |  Staff Editor
All photos credited to: Emily Collins

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