Women Who MAKE: Artist Emily Proud
This month’s feature is brought to you by the power of Instagram. I have no idea how I stumbled across Emily’s work on my favorite social media app., but I was hooked! Her calming, yet graphic and modern use of watercolor is completely refreshing. I had to have one!
Of course, I wanted an Emily Proud original (and still do) but when I learned I could get a huge framed print on One Kings Lane, I opted to buy Emily’s The River to hang in our guest room. I decided to reach out to Emily about an upcoming trip I was planning to San Francisco (she’s based there), to see if she was game to host photographer Carolina Mariana and me at her home/studio in the Mission District. We all had a lovely time chatting about art, our shared love of cats and admiring Emily’s work. You can find affordable prints by Emily on Artfully Walls. Here’s the interview:
- Name: Emily Proud
- Age: 30
- Current title/company name: Emily Proud
- Years in operation: Officially 3 ½ years, but unofficially a long time.
What is your first memory of making [art]?
At preschool I remember painting at the easels they had there. I set up still-lives from a young age using objects from around the house like potted plants and toys. I also remember just drawing the buildings I could see out my bedroom window.
How did your education or past work experience give you the confidence to go out on your own as a small business owner?
I suppose having an art degree gives me a sense of validity, and working in a “real job” for a while gave me business savvy than I didn’t have before. However, I think at the end of the day, it is my own willpower and passion for making art that gives me that confidence.
Tell us about the process of launching your own small business. Best parts? Biggest challenge?
I’ve been painting for a long time, so it feels strange to name a specific launching date, but I started making art full-time in 2012, so I see that as the point where I started to think of artwork as not just my practice but also my business. It was also when I started to share my artwork publicly on the Internet. The best part has been seeing my hard work pay off and the little nuggets of reward that come along the way. The biggest challenge at a certain point was finding my voice, but since I feel that I have found that now, the challenge is getting my work out there and taking the time to improve my craft the best I can.
What is your favorite part of the creative process? What inspires you and why?
My favorite part is when I hit my stride and lose track of time. I am inspired by every day things, the landscape, outer space, the human body… many things. I don’t really know why, they are just around me.
What is the best advice you have for other female entrepreneurs/artists?
Do the work, and share it thoughtfully on the Internet.
Do you have a design philosophy, and if so, what is it?
Keep it simple, stupid.
Imagine “Emily Proud” in five years, how would you like to grow personally, with your art and/or professionally?
I hope to become a better artist and that it makes me a stronger, more interesting person. I have been working almost exclusively in watercolor for the past three and a half years and my ultimate goal is to master it. I want to do something new with it.
Do you have a most popular item or service?
My moonrise paintings were popular, but now I’m noticing more and more people liking my gradient-based work. It’s always interesting to see what people respond to, it’s so personal and different for everyone.
What do you enjoy most about the creative community in San Francisco?
San Francisco is very approachable. Maybe because it is also my hometown, but I think I am far less intimidated by it than I would a bigger city.
Centered by Design is my business name, but it’s also the idea that we can find a bit of sanctuary each day through design, that good design can center us and make us feel great. Does your design process center you in any way? If so, how?
I completely share that sentiment. My process is slow, gradually building pigment and layers over time, so it happens to be naturally meditative.
Emily’s San Francisco Favorites:
- Favorite spot to get inspired: My studio
- Favorite jewelry designer: The minimalist bracelets my friend Christine at Abacus Row makes.
- Favorite place to shop for home décor/furniture: Does Ikea count? Those meatballs are delicious.
- Favorite place for coffee: Tough choice, but I had my first date with my husband at Four Barrel so let’s go with that.
- Favorite place for a sweet treat: Oh, picking just one? Walnut pie from Mission Pie is a craving I have often.
It was such a treat when Emily let me look through her stack of original paintings! This one on top I really feel in love with. Thanks so much for sharing with us Emily. You can find more Emily at emilyproud.com
Stay tuned for next month’s #womenwhomake post with another wonderful San Francisco creative!
XO – CLAIRE