Name: Emily Gernild
Occupation: Visual Artist
Currently living in: Copenhagen
What makes you happy?
When I’m fully present with whatever I do. Painting. Or being with my family.
Where do you find inspiration?
Exhibitions at galleries and museums, making studio visits with other artists, my surroundings in the city, a bike ride to Glostrup, or making collaborations and trying out new materials.
When did you realise that you were going to be an artist?
When I was about 23 years old, I had a boyfriend who thought I would fit right into the art academy. He had already finished his time at the Danish Design School and was a great supporter of me trying it out.
How do you begin a new project?
I show up in the studio in the morning. Sometimes I have inspiration with me, other times I don’t. I clean my place, make coffee and start drawing until I have the right idea, or an urge to use a certain colour combination.
Where’s your favourite place to work from?
Describe an experience you had, that confirmed you, why you are doing what you do.
I was once asked to make a painting pro bono. It was for a memorial concert and an auction to be held in memory of a young man who had died violently. The money to be raised, supported a good and peaceful cause in his name. I was trying to capture a person that I had never met in that painting. I only had the stories about him and firsthand descriptions from friends and family. That was a profound experience. Everybody involved was obviously very emotional and personally involved in the project. I felt that art in that sorrowful context, was a way to express the complex emotions, which the spoken word struggles to describe.
Name one person who helped you get to where you are today.
My old professor Jens Haaning helped me get in touch with a professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and made it possible for me to study there for a year. Jens Haaning still plays a big role in my way of working, and along the way he has been my greatest supporter and encouraged me to continue doing what I had started doing at the academy. Also, I feel like I have been blessed to meet so many supporting and great people along the way of my short career.
What does art mean to you?
To me it’s a way of thinking and offers a poetic, abstract, spiritual and nuanced method to discuss and reflect.
Name one women who inspired you on your creative journey?
I don’t consider myself creative necessarily. I just use what works best for me to put light on important issues, or as a way to raise my non-verbal voice in a verbalised world. But I definitely consider Agnes Martin and her writings on paintings and beauty as being one of my biggest sources of inspiration.
Which challenges have you met in your work?
The biggest challenge is when I have to make decisions on my own. It’s a one woman project. Even if I discuss challenges with my manager, boyfriend or business partner, in the end it’s up to me alone how I want things to be.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Work hard. Say NO to projects that don’t have the right spirit. If it’s too commercial too soon, think twice. My professor gave me a great advise: “Rather exhibit off space than in a shitty gallery. AND always thank people who spent time on you and show interest in your work.”
See more of Emily’s work here.
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