Art & Culture Interviews Lifestyle People

Interview with Australian Artist Emily Day

When we first spied Emily Day’s beautiful work on Instagram we knew we wanted to get in touch and find out more about her work and inspiration. As a largely self taught Australian artist, Emily creates beautiful work taking inspiration from native flora and the natural world around her. We catch up with Emily and find out more.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a self taught artist who paints full time from my home studio, which is actually the living room and heart of our apartment. I live with my husband, our very energetic 16 month old daughter and our less energetic 11 year old rescue dog and I’m constantly shifting half finished paintings around various walls and surfaces of our home.  I predominantly paint floral scenes and still life arrangements. Broadly, my work aims to capture and celebrate the ‘aliveness’ of a moment in time: to encourage both myself as the artist, and you as the viewer, to be completely grounded in the present.

Where are you based?

I currently live in West End, Brisbane, so it’s a very urban and arty neighbourhood to live and work from, but its close proximity to the river feels very grounding.

How did you get started in your career?

I have a background in architecture, however I wanted a change from my slightly corporate job to something even more creative. My husband and I were spending a year travelling, both abroad and around Australia when I decided that it was time to turn my painting hobby into something more. It was on a 6 month road trip around the southern coastline of Australia where I started to sketch, paint and collect a journal of colour swatches everyday.

Once I returned back home, Covid lockdowns had just started and there were no architecture jobs available anyway – so it was the push I needed to jump headfirst into painting full time as my job! I’ve never looked back.

Artist Emily Day, Image: Hayley Bracewell Photography

How would you describe your creative style and mediums used?

My creative style is definitely a blend between intuitive and considered. I usually sketch a piece in my journal first and really construct it in my mind, before putting paint to canvas. I usually paint an arrangement that I’ve set up in my home studio, but I frequently draw back on my design skills by stitching together photos, sketches and memories in my mind to construct an arrangement. 

Usually I paint straight onto the surface without sketching first, and then layer acrylic paint in translucent layers, through to thick, opaque, loose brush strokes, to build different levels of detail throughout a piece. Lately, I’ve also been experimenting with adding details and layers at the end using oil paints, as I quite like the contrast between the matte and buttery mediums.  

Florals feature heavily in your work, have you always loved working with flowers and natural elements?

Florals have definitely always featured in my work. When I look back to my paintings even when I was a child, they were always there. When I started painting on the road trip, I focussed on predominantly native florals and foliage that I was spotting on my daily hikes and walks along the coastline.

They were wild, unruly and beautifully sculptural elements to paint. Once back home, and after having a baby in the middle of a pandemic, I was much more housebound, so my work turned more to floral still life arrangements.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently working on a mini body of work that The Toowoomba Gallery are representing at The Affordable Art Fair in Sydney in June! The next exciting thing after that is my first solo show in August in Brisbane, at Wild Canary in Brookfield.

Alongside this, I am working on seasonal, roaming painting workshops called Bloom Art Experiences, with fellow artist and good friend Kate Quinn. We are bringing boutique art and food experiences to regional areas, with a different location each time. So currently the horizon is full but very exciting! 

Artist Emily Day

To see more of Emily’s beautiful work follow here on Instagram here, or visit her website here.

Want more? Click here for our interview with artist Dina Broadhurst and here for our interview with Pip Spiro.