Emma Kidd is a painter, illustrator and creator of intricate monsters. Here we talk with her and find out where she gets her inspiration from.
Do your creatures have lives or stories that stretch beyond the canvas and the page?
They do, but I rarely share that side. It isn't written down. I have pieces that interact, that I perhaps don't point out or show in that way.
In your opinion, what is the best fictional creature of all time?
Oh, that’s too hard! I like most of them for different reasons. Perhaps Count Dracula. I read enough vampire books when I was a teenager to say that. I also like most of Tim Burton’s work.
Which materials and do you work with most?
I prefer ink and gouache. I like to mono-print onto book pages with oil paint, then work gouache detail over the top.
What is your most treasured creative possession?
I have a few original artworks that are personally linked to me, or that I have acquired. Other than that, perhaps my crazy imagination!
What kind of mood does your studio provide?
My studio is a big desk in the corner of my son's room. To keep my art things out of his reach, it’s quite high up, so my work-space it can get a little chaotic. The room is really nice to work in because it’s light and warm all year around.
What would you like people to take away from your art?
I'd like people to remember that when it comes to art, nothing is very serious: I'm an art school graduate who just can't do conceptual art, and find myself scoffing at what people get away with sometimes. Also, that the world is strange and humorous all at the same time. Sometimes you find that in the least obvious places.
You once mentioned that the ideas of Brut Art underpin some of your work- can you explain its importance in your work?
Art Brut shows a level of emotion that isn't always there for me with [technically] ‘perfect’ art. It can be amazing and naïve; even a little odd at times, but I like it.
I discovered Art Brut at the Lille Metropole Musee d’art Modern (LaM) in France. The museum houses a significant collection of Art Brut, most of it collected by Jean Dubuffet.
Is travel important for creativity?
Yes, I think so. I have done a lot of travelling in the past. When I finished school, I applied to a film school in Melbourne and after receiving my application, they told me to travel and experience things. Looking back, I think it was a nice way to say ‘you're not ready to make something exceptional’, but it was advice that stuck.
What are two things that you are beginning to explore through your practice at the moment?
Firstly, I am trying to get back to creating things that take time. For a while I was working in an almost mechanical way, hand-painting my articulated creatures in batches.
But also, I don’t want to over-think my process.