THE ART OF STYLE
Sought-after Emma Gale artist shares her passion
Bangalow-based painter and sculptor Emma Gale started her creative career in advertising and graphic design, but quickly transitioned to become a sought-after artist whose vibrant works have been exhibited at Anthea Polson Art Gallery on the Gold Coast and the renowned Fenton & Fenton in Melbourne.
We spoke to the mother of two about her creative process, and the art of just getting started.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE?
Yes, as long as I can remember. I was always drawing and making things – my hands are never idle.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU COULD MAKE A LIVING FROM YOUR ART?
I always wanted to be an artist. I had a romantic vision of myself living in Europe like a bohemian, like Picasso hanging in the cafes every night. I went overseas for two years and when I came back I ended up in an advertising agency drawing and doing mock-ups for clients.
I found myself with a computer in front of me as that was the way it was back then, and I stayed in the graphic arts industry for a while.
Since moving to the Byron Shire 20 years ago, I started painting again. Eventually, I was selling work, so I started painting full time.
It’s not an easy profession, and comes with loads of ups and downs, but it’s me and I really can’t do anything else. It’s all I know. My happy place is in my studio with paintbrush in hand.
TELL US ABOUT THE MATERIALS YOU USE
I use acrylic paint on canvas. I love acrylic. It dries quickly and I can layer it and rub it off and layer it again all very quickly. I don’t mix things into the paint, it’s just acrylic.
And I found another love: clay. I love using the earthy RAKU clay, it’s gritty and thick. I make rustic sculptural pieces. I find that process different to painting; some days I like to sit and feel grounded to the earth and make a piece. Sometimes things change shape on the way but that’s ok too, it’s all in process.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE YOUR SUBJECT MATTER?
My art tells a story, it’s my story around a subject. I paint to create a feeling for the viewer. I love other cultures and places and ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated with the world map and wanted to go to tiny remote towns and places. I like to depict ordinary people doing their daily routines. My influences come from Cuba, India, Africa, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE GREAT ART CAN DO FOR A PERSON OR A SPACE?
I believe in buying art if you love it. There is no point buying art because someone said it’s a good investment, you buy it because it means something to you. The piece has to pull you in, you have to have a feeling for it and the story it is telling you.
Emma Gale in her studio.