MAP’s THIRTY Creative Minds Series: Interview with Emily C-D

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Emily C-D is an interdisciplinary artist with a community-based practice. She has been based both in Baltimore and Mexico City since she graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005. Although the artist trained at MICA to be an illustrator, her main focus has become her relationship with the public and the public space. “I love meeting people, and I love using art as a way to do this,” says C-D, who has recently completed a number of public projects, both in Baltimore and in Mexico.

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In Mexico, she has been an artist in residence at the Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology in Michoacán, the Galería Gubidxa in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and the FARO de Oriente in Iztapalapa, Mexico City. She views the the time she has spent in Mexico as a sort of self-led graduate program in cultural studies, communication, and collaborative art. From the US to Mexico, she has involved children and young adults in fun, interactive projects that blur the line between spectator and participant. She has been a pioneer in the mural movement of painting on the street surface. Lately Emily has been excited about teaching kids to make musical instruments and costumes out of garbage, and leading them in loud, bizarre public performances.

C-D has been selected to participate in a brand new speaker series at Maryland Art Place called THIRTY: 30 Creative Minds Under 30 that features three speakers on a monthly basis throughout the year. It is an opportunity for young artists to share their ideas with a wider audience and a chance for Baltimore’s art community to get to know the next generation of artists.

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Bmoreart: How old are you and where do you live?

Emily C-D: I am 30 as of March 14th so technically I dont qualify for the THIRTY Under Thirty series anymore, if the opening night had not been rescheduled I would have been 29! I am from Maryland, have been a resident of the H&H Building in downtown Baltimore for years and also spend at least half my time in Mexico.

B: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work.

C-D: I am an interdisciplinary artist with a community-based practice and a penchant for working with found materials. My involvement in community art has been a natural outgrowth of a creative process concerned with transformation. From the US to Mexico, I have involved children and young adults in fun, interactive projects that blur the line between spectator and participant. In Mexico, I have been an artist in residence at the Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology in Michoacán (2012), the Galería Gubidxa in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca (2011), and the FARO de Oriente in Iztapalapa, Mexico City (2010).


In 2010, I was awarded highest honors for Works on Paper by the Maryland State Arts Council for a series of collages made with papers collected in Mexico. My Baltimore-based art trio Can Collective with artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn was a recent recipient of the PNC Transformative Art Project Grant (2012) for our multi media installation “Sunflower Village” at Franklin Square. We are currently collaborating with the Civic Works Community Lot Team and the Greater Greenmount Community Association to work with community members to weave into the fence surrounding the garden being installed at the corner of North and Greenmount Avenues.

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B: Why did you want to give an artist talk at MAP? Have you presented your work this way before?

C-D: In November of 2012 I presented my work at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City as a part of Essential: 9th International Congress of Design for Humanity, organized by the Design School of the University of Anahuac. This was a wonderful opportunity to share with the Mexican art community some of my stateside work and explain its context. Im excited to speak at MAP for similar reasons–I will finally be able to present to the Baltimore community some of what I have been working on in Mexico and draw parallels as to how work made in different communities and cultures informs eachother. At MAP, I will be concentrating on showing work made strictly with found materials and discuss its relevance in our globalizing world.

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B: As a visual artist, why are speaking opportunities valuable? What does speaking professionally about your artwork add to your practice?

C-D: I am interested in presenting because I believe that by verbalizing the work that we do publicly, we learn to describe it and understand it from a different perspective. I am interested in sharing because I am excited about what I have been working on! And I think it could be interesting for the people to see how I took the work I started in Baltimore and expanded it and matured as an artist by placing myself in an unfamiliar culture, community, and language. Besides, questions from outside sources are always enlightening, often bringing to point issues that I might not think about if I just kept my work to myself.



THIRTY: 30 Creative Minds Under 30 kicks off Wednesday, March 27th, 6pm at Maryland Art Place

THIRTY is a series of monthly talks featuring thirty emerging Baltimore artists under the age of thirty. All of the participants use a diverse range of creative practices, from visual art to performance, curatorial, community art, design, film, photography and technology to create visual experiences. Participants of THIRTY were selected by the THIRTY committee and MAP staff through either open call or by invitation.

Talks on March 27, 2013 will feature Emily C-D, Mia Weiner, and Ashley Minner

To see more of Emily C-D’s work, click here.

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