in the studio :: emily demsky

one of the biggest things i was looking forward to when i went to baltimore this summer meeting emily demsky face to face. 

she is a LONG time internet friend. back in the day flickr friend. and if you know her at all, it's always about the red shoes. in particular the red clogs.

needless to say. i was so happy to see them in person in her studio. 

emily is also one of the founders of habit blog. a space that is no longer "current", but still incredibly meaningful. i remember the first time they invited me to participate and it felt like i had entered into this sanctuary. a space i had loved from a far and was suddenly asked to join. it was a thrill. 

this summer emily also opened up her home to me. i stayed with her for the better part of the week that we installed chroma. and not only was she my amazing host, she helped me arrange things - giving me tips on where to get an airbnb for the family, where to eat, what to do [along with cyndi]... she always was my DRIVER- taking me to the train, picking me up after a long days work at the gallery. and in those moments- at her kitchen table for coffee, in the car... she was everything a good friend should be. 

at the time - emily had just recently moved into the most glorious studio. it's a dream. high ceilings. white. brick walls. a separate room. fabulous light... sigh. her work is intuitive. abstract, but leaning toward the natural. it's flowing and free and really heartfelt. and here are her answers to my studio questions. 

please name 5 artists/creatives/makers that you know personally who you find inspiring
and influencing ? 

I know this seems like an easy questions - it's just that there are so many!  I've chosen all Baltimore-based artists/creatives/makers for the purposes of answering this question.

1. Pam Negrin, textile artist and print maker

2. Bridgette Guerzon Mills, encaustic painter

3. Ellen Frost, florist

4. Jill Andrews, wedding gown designer

5. Deena Margolis, painter

And 5 artists/creatives/makers that you don't know but love from afar?

again, there are so many!  here are a few highlights:

the last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?

1. The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

2. A Year with Rumi by Coleman Barks

your top 5 tools/supplies

1. my camera - iphone and dslr

2. glass jars leftover from my husband's kimchi and saurkraut (from Hex Ferments in Baltimore) which I use for water on my painting table

3. paint brushes and palette knives in all shapes and sizes

4. artists tape

5. #2 x-acto knives

a material or idea you most want to try but haven't yet

oh, everything.  I make encaustic monotypes but I've never done encaustic painting - that's something I'd love to try.  dyeing fabric.  weaving.  i could go on....

name a song or album you will grow old with

that's a funny one...and the song that comes to mind and stays in mind as i scroll through the playlist in my head is "closer to fine" by the indigo girls.

favorite beverage? 

easy peasy - water.  no ice, not cold.  water.

how many studio spaces have you had ? is this current one your fav ? why or why not ?

I suppose that I've had 3 studio spaces - the first was a communal space at a local community center.  It was a multi-purpose room and a group of us used it as a painting studio two days/week.  About 7 years ago I moved from that community center space into the spare bedroom in our home and I painted there until this past spring when I moved into a proper studio space about 15 minutes drive from our house.  The current space is by far my favorite and I still can't believe that it's mine.  It's bright and huge and I can work with ease on more than one project at a time, which is something I've never been able to do before now.  And it's all mine - nobody leaves stray items lying around, or borrows my scissors and doesn't return them, I can leave it as messy as I want or tidy it obsessively, rearrange the furniture or leave paintings all over the floor.  To say I love it is a grand understatement.

what is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be productive?

A stretch of uninterrupted time.  It doesn't have to be long - 2 hours is good, 4 is better - if I have lots of interruptions, I have a hard time finding my flow.

do you have a studio routine? if so will you share it with us?

Do you have a studio routine to recommend?  Last fall I read "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey.  It's a collection of short essays about various artists (of all types - painters, poets, filmmakers, etc.) and their work routines.  Now that I'm in the new studio I've been thinking a lot about routine, and since it's summertime, there really is no routine in my life at all right now.  I'll let you know what happens in the fall!

is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?

Yes!  More than one...

We spent two weeks in Italy in June and I told my husband that I think I must have been Italian in a former life - I felt so content and so inspired being there.  I loved the language and the relationship between the ancient architecture and modern life, I loved the food (what's not to love!?) and the lifestyle, I loved the way even the simplest things are packaged so beautifully.  I loved being there and I could have stayed if only I had my dog with me!

And no mention of places that resonates with me is complete without Provincetown, Massachusetts - it's at the eastern-most tip of Cape Cod, the beaches are all protected National Seashore, the air is fresher, the light is brighter, and I have a little love affair with the dunes and the marshland.  We've been going every summer for 12 years and my family would probably say it's my happy place.

where have you felt the most "at home"

For better and for worse, I live in the city where I grew up.  I went away for college but other than those four years, I've lived in Baltimore all my life.  I've traveled lots and I love to travel, I'd also love to live somewhere else at some point in my life, but for now I'm here.  And though I've felt at home in other places (see previous question!), I'm going to have to answer "Baltimore."

dancing? pro or con?

pro in theory, learning to be comfortable doing it in public :)

it took a tremendous amount of willpower for me not to steal this little gem of a painting. with the rocks next to it of course.

thanks emily... so much love
hope to see you soon. 


emily d said…
ok i am so so so honored to see our conversation in this space. i love seeing my studio through your lens and your kind and generous words are making me blush. i adore you, friend. and i can't wait to visit again soon. xoxo.
i love this! and she is amazing, in talent and spirit.
Richard said…
what a heartwarming love affair. thanks for sharing it with us!!
Deb Cox said…
Thank you so much for this post. It is awe inspiring and just plain uplifting on a snow covered day in Southern Ontario. The sun is shining now and that is how your blog has made me feel as I sit here with my morning coffee and reading it all............Thank you so much. And a big sigh and thinking of all things that are possible.

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