Adding a Touch of Colour to the World – Emily Eldridge
We have welcomed our old friend Emily Eldridge back to share about her stories with us!
“I’d like to use art and graphic design to impact and improve a space,” said Emily. She is an artist, illustrator, muralist and a graphic designer travelling around the world to create images on big walls and through small drawings. Let’s listen to what she has to share!
- What work have you done as an artist or a muralist recently?
I have a big illustration installation at the IFC Mall Roof Terrace right now. There are some big stickers with different characters that were placed on the ceiling of the Rooftop walkway to Shake Shack. You can even go take a selfie with the wall sticker nearby, or pick up some small free stickers at stands around the mall.
Art at IFC Terrace (Credit: http://www.emilyeldridge.com)
Art at IFC Terrace (Credit: http://www.emilyeldridge.com)
Earlier this summer, I also painted a big mural for ArtLane at Sai Ying Pun MTR. It’s called “Love Is All You Need” and you can find it outside Exit B3.
Art at Sai Ying Pun Artlane
During this past year, I have also painted large murals in the Czech Republic, China, Spain, and Germany.
- Can you introduce and share with us the artwork you did on the wall of the art room in Yew Chung?
The title of the artwork is “Art & Design Hide-and-Seek”. It aims to show iconic artworks and design classics from the 20th century. Throughout the mural, students are encouraged to find out and learn about art and design history. Some of the icons might seem a bit strange at first glance, but all of them have a strong significance and really changed history in the art and design worlds! So, I encourage students to research and learn more about what is depicted.
This project actually took a long time to develop. Initially I started with sketches that I created in Photoshop. Over a few months’ time, I worked on various sketches and ideas for the space, and this was the one that was chosen by the school as the final choice.
"Art & Design Hide-and-Seek" at YCIS Hong Kong Secondary Campus
The actual painting process took about a week and a half, and I had the help of Years 12 and 13 IB students to paint a lot of the walls and background colours. But during the week we painted, it was raining on and off! We struggled a lot with the weather and had some walls that started dripping because the paint wasn’t dry when the rain started. After the rain stopped, we had to repaint them again. It was a bit time-consuming.
- So, what’s your story with Yew Chung?
I started working at YCIS in 2005 as one of the school’s first Artists-in-Residence. Together with my colleagues, Gabe Ostley and Haruka Ostley, we helped to build the AIR programme from zero. From the beginning, we figured out ways to use our art and design backgrounds to work with and inspire students, using our specialties to share and collaborate with students through a variety of special projects – mural painting, set design, short films, comic books, illustration projects, art installations, exhibitions, and more. I worked in the Artist-in-Residence Department from 2005-2016, with students from ECE, Primary and Secondary schools. Over the years I have met a LOT of students!
- What do you want to reflect with your art?
For my personal work, it’s a bit different than my client work. But when I paint for myself, I often create female characters. I imagine them in their own little world, and think of them as telling stories or reflecting aspects of my life.
"Girl Talk" , mural in Netherlands done by Emily
Being an artist allows me to think and express myself in creative ways, and to share this with others. It’s great to be able to impact and change a space, or improve someone’s day through what I make and create. I especially love when people enjoy my murals, or like to take photos in front of them. It’s amazing how a little bit of paint can transform a space and someone’s day.
- Do you have any tips you would like to share to our alumni who plans to pursue in the same field as you?
I’m sure many students often hear that it’s difficult to make a living as an artist, and yes, I think this is true, but it’s also not impossible. It’s certainly different to work as an artist (where you work for yourself) rather than having a company offer you a daily office job. But that being said, there are many ways to work as an artist or designer, and what I do as a freelancer is just one option among many. You can work in an office as a fashion designer, furniture designer, graphic designer, or any number of things.
I think if you plan on being an illustrator or muralist specifically, it’s great to seek out people who work in the field! It’s good to talk to them first to understand how to develop a career in that path.
But I think art and design in general is a very important and perhaps under-looked field to work in. Design is important and improves many facets of our lives – it doesn’t necessarily mean being a painter or a “starving artist”, and in fact I think this is a myth we should avoid. Don’t think it’s impossible to find a good job in the art and design field – there are many, many businesses that work with and hire designers, and many areas you can go into. I have many friends and colleagues around the world who are artists and designers, and they truly love what they do.
The best advice I can give is to practise, practise,and practise! The more you do, the more you grow. Give yourself assignments if you don’t have anyone giving them to you. Find what you’re interested in, and pursue it. In my opinion, being able to successfully create something beautiful is greater than any negative aspects you may face!
This is certainly not an easy path to pursue in, but with faith and trust and the continuous practice and learning, Emily is able to leave a footprint around the world and add a touch of colour to the world. Emily is more than happy to offer experience and help to our alumni, so if you want to know more about Emily and this field, you can reach out to her by visiting her website and Instagram!