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Art & Life with Emily Keating Snyder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Keating Snyder.

Emily, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’ve been an artist my whole life, crafting Barbie houses and constantly painting as a kid, then developing and honing my style over years of exploration. I studied Art History and Studio Art at NYU, always wanting to make art, but feeling more confident discussing what other, “more qualified” artists had made.

I found that my time learning and working within the art world disconnected me from my ad hoc, craft roots of creativity. I wanted to make art that was inspired by fun and tinkering and playing with new materials. But I somehow made myself believe that it wouldn’t be taken seriously if it didn’t have some very intellectualized or conceptual meaning behind it.

Creating work that feels more authentic to me is something I’ve been fine tuning over the past few years. My current series of abstract paintings with embroidery inlay feel like the culmination of that process. I’m combining my art history education, my crafty childhood and my love of color to create these pieces.

And after letting go of the need for intellectual context, just focusing on physical materials, I’ve ironically found that this work has more meaning than many things I made in an effort to come across as intellectual.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I work in a few different mediums, including collage which is one of my favorites, but my main focus at the moment is an ongoing series of simple, textural abstract paintings. I begin with painting one color on loose, unprimed canvas then add thread in different colors to create a pattern that moves the eye around.

My desire is to give people the experience of having a moment with color. Not to just notice it in passing or as a small part of something else, but to experience color as a main focus. I use the thread to add other details because it gives dimension and does not distract the view with more paint.

As someone who really values direct experience and the tangible world, I like creating art that hints at how it was made and the materials used. I keep some of the raw canvas visible and generally do not stretch or frame the paintings so that viewers can see every element of the process. I find that a lot of people have a very mysterious view of the art world or feel excluded from it. I want to make art that’s very relatable, that anyone can walk up to and experience and understand easily. These are all simple everyday materials: fabric, thread, paint, nails. I love that connection to building and crafting by hand.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
I don’t believe the essential role of artists has changed much. Artists have always reflected their environment and surroundings, filtered through their direct personal experience. However, I think it has become more important for artists to use their work to question their surroundings and to ask questions of their audience, creating more of an interaction.

Going back to my desire to make art that is based in the everyday physical world, I didn’t set out to create this artwork as a response to social events in any way. It’s much more about process and materials. But what’s interesting is, the more I share it, the more I realize how much it can tie into larger social questions.

For example, I’ve been surprised by how many people hesitate to use the word “craft” when describing these paintings because they’re afraid of offending. The fact that craft is often seen as beneath fine art brings up questions around our larger associations. Of course, this is an over-simplified statement, but for the sake of dialogue craft is usually associated with women and fine art was historically associated with men. Again, the main intention behind this work is not heavily social or political, but I find the conversation around it really interesting as it ties into larger society.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I occasionally share artwork in person at gallery shows and art fairs, but for the most part, it is available online. The easiest place to find me is on Instagram @emksnyder where I share art and lots of behind-the-scenes moments. Most of my recent pieces can be seen or purchased on my website, EmilyKeatingSnyder.com, or Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/EmilyandKeating). I also have a group of paintings on view at the very fun Biz Babez (https://www.bizbabez.la/) co-working space in DTLA.

If you’re interested in adding to your art collection, I have something for everyone whether you’re just starting out and want to add some affordable prints or if you’re decorating a new home and would love your own custom original.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Courtney Paige Ray (personal photo)
Dazey LA (concrete wall with small paintings)

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