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In the Studio with Emily Campbell

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Summer School

by Rebecca Juliette

Emily Campbell earned her MFA from MICA in 2011.  She’s exhibited up and down the East Coast from Asheville, NC to Brooklyn, NY.  She graciously gave us a peek into her studio practice in advance of a reception for her latest exhibit, Imaginary Islands at Spacecamp by ICA Baltimore.

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Name: Emily Campbell

Age: 30

Baltimore Neighborhood: Belvedere

Study or College Degrees: MFA in from MICA in 2011, BFA from Mercyhurst University in 2008

Studio Location: Home studio

Media: Micron Pens, Gouache, Markers

Favorite Tools: Prismacolor and Copic markers

Currently Working On:  I am working on a series of large pen drawings along with smaller gouache paintings. In this work I am exploring disorienting and claustrophobic environments in which fictional characters engage in bizarre actions and rituals. In these dystopic scenes, new civilizations are imagined with inhabitants who participate in a range of provocative, sexual and often humorous actions.  My imagery is pulled from botanical illustrations, historical imagery, and appropriated ancient myths.

Studio Philosophy: I love being in the studio, it’s sacred time to me.  I like to maintain a regular studio practice in order to stay on track.  Going to the studio in the morning and then working through the day is my ideal.  I try not to set rules or pressure myself to make certain things so I can keep a level of spontaneity and surprise in my work.

Studio Frequency: Varies.  I try to put in a minimum 3 hours of studio work in everyday.  Some days I will work for over 10 hours, just depends on my schedule at the time.

Upcoming or Current shows or projects: Imaginary Islands with ICA Baltimore at Space Camp.

How’d You Start Out as an Artist: I think having two sisters really sparked my imagination at a young age.  We would create elaborate make believe stories and settings that we would live out for weeks at a time.  That sense of story building and play still influences my work.

Artist Whose Career You Covet:  Mary Heilmann.  First of all her paintings are great.  I find it impressive how she moves between painting, ceramics, furniture, books etc.  I also like that she finds inspiration in pop culture and cartoons but is able to radically transform those sources into her own language.

Artist Whose Work You Wish You Had Made: Horace Pippen’s “The Trial of John Brown”

How You Get Through the Dull Times: I rarely have a dull moment in the studio, but having fun studio mates always keeps things interesting.

What Motivates You: I am easily inspired and I love collecting and keeping little things.  Leaves, rocks, and feathers are daily motivations.

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There is a reception for Imaginary Islands Friday, July 17th 7-9pm at ICA Baltimore @ Space Camp (16 W. North Ave).  The exhibit will run through July 26th.

Find her online here and here.

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