Have you ever looked at a piece of art and been profoundly moved? Like it struck a chord on your #heartstring and played a song for your soul. When you closed your eyes, you could still see it dancing across your eyelids.
Well, a few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a young artist, Emily St. Marie, and began following her journey. I was captivated by the expression, wonder, and kindness in her work. Night after night, her art began dancing across my dreams, stuck in that gentle space of my heart. And as luck or fate would have it, one of my short stories found a home in a book she was commissioned for as the artist!
Since then, we have formed a lovely friendship, and I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with her for an interview. I know you'll love her and her work just as much as I do. May I happily present, ESMA, Emily St. Marie Art.
Thank you so much for your time today. Do you mind sharing a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for having me! Well, I’m a traditional artist who still loves to create art by hand. I originally wanted to be a comic artist because I liked pictures that made me laugh. But even from an early age, I was also taken with the idea of becoming a children’s book artist because children’s book art has the magical ability to transport you to another world. Shout out to Dr. Seuss and Tomie dePaola! In the end I didn’t choose between them but pursued both. Sometimes I can’t believe I am really living my childhood dream, so I feel very lucky.
How has your art changed over time?
I used to do realistic style art, with shading and crosshatching, and even went through a time where I refused to use an eraser! But as my ability to make cartoon art increased, I worked at simplifying and reducing my art instead of trying to capture a realistic view. And I definitely use an eraser now. It’s a tool like anything else.
When did you discover your talent as an artist?
People around me started calling me an artist when I was around 4 and won a coloring contest in my age category. I was always looking for something to do, and art supplies kept me busy, so I produced as much art as I could to keep boredom at bay. I hit a wall around age 14 when I grew frustrated with drawing proper perspective and realistic expressions, but I pushed through it. I mostly self-studied from books, but did take some community art classes here and there. I didn’t always feel talented (I kind of hate that expression, because art takes so much work and hard grind), but I always knew I wanted to get better at my art and worked hard at it.
What does being an artist mean to you?
Being able to create something out of my head that nobody has ever seen before. Showing something that makes people think of something in a new way. Making fun of (not in a mean way), or laughing at things that are funny through linework, subjects, and color.
Can you tell us a little about the process you go through to make a piece?
Most of the time the idea hits me visually out of the blue, almost fully formed. Then I start sketching and see how quickly it goes down on the paper. After that I work it, think about it, and revise it until it is done.
If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Beatrix Potter. I’d love to wander around her estate with her and have her show me mushrooms and rabbit warrens on her estate.
Where do you hope to see your work someday?
Books! I want to be the artist for a best seller series (for both cover and illustrations). I plan to do some graphic novels. But, I also want to paint large wall canvases for people with big wall spaces, possibly weird one-off pieces that are fun to look at. And of course, I would like people to collect my art and have it rise in value during my lifetime, perhaps skyrocketing after my death. Okay, well, you asked.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or places we can find your work?
I am working on my long-awaited Mermaid Babies easy reader series. I have ongoing projects with Wild Ink Publishing (The Magical Muse Library series). I have a new release memoir cover that I’m very proud of, and the author is raising awareness for victims of school bullying, so it’s a great cause.
If you've enjoyed learning about Emily St. Marie, and her incredible journey as an artist, make sure to follow her across the web.