Emma Repp is best known for illustrative, bright, and highly patterned portrayals of monotony and adaptation. Originally trained as a printmaker, she employs a similar calculated process and layered aesthetic to create whimsical images out of a combination of handmade and digital elements, but chooses to create with whatever she can find.
How would you describe your work?
What you could feel like if you ate only marshmallows and didn’t get dizzy.
What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and your work? How did you come into working that way?
I draw with pens, then scan layers of those drawings, then make some watercolor paintings, then edit them together in photoshop, then print on chiffon, then adhere the chiffon to wood, then paint on that. If you fell asleep right there, that’s fine.
I was making really intricate copper plate etchings for awhile, then I became too cheap to buy copper and work in a print studio. So HERE WE ARE.
What triggers your imagination or inspiration?
I really like thinking about gut microbes lately. They are tiny little dictators that can change everything about a person. Just as a tiny fleck of color can really amp up the party of an artwork.
What are some of Instagram accounts that you particularly enjoy or get inspiration from?
Honestly, I get most of my inspiration from wellness bloggers. One might say, “This does not make sense, surely she means she gets all of her inspiration from @thejealouscurator.” (Who I LOVE). But the feels I get from @leefromamerica demonstrating how to use a Squatty Potty are what I try to regurgitate when I make a thing.
What was your dream growing up?
I wanted to be an Ally McBeal/ Carrie Bradshaw hybrid. I did not want to be Rachel Green.
What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?
Optimal digestion. But I also want to make art objects that are sturdy enough for a children to lick with a mouth full of blueberries and WIPE CLEAN. (I wouldn’t recommend licking the art, but whatever happens- happens.)
Is there any specific moments or memory in your life that pushed you definitely towards the arts or pursuing your creative ambitions?
I feel like I’ve been fighting it back my entire life, and it just keeps bubbling up - like you better do this or your head might actually explode.
Also, an old German lady told me I couldn’t write well enough to be a novelist once.
What does your work mean to you?
I don’t know. With some work, it just comes out. Like poop, but with more color.
What is your definition of art?
It either has to make you feel something, or it has to be cute and pretty and something you and your mom will want to look at together while you eat carrot sticks.
How do you see your work playing into and responding to the current conversations happening in art and culturing?
I just want my stuff to be accessible (not too expensive, content that is digestible, RILL STURDY) and I work within a printmaker mentality to make that work (I do “editions” of similar works that are not actually the same so I can afford to sell them at a lower price point). When things become too accessible, they seem to stop being art. And honestly, fuck that.
Are there any upcoming projects / exhibitions / or collaborations that we should know about?
I’m at The Other Art Fair’s inaugural Chicago show right now and I’ll be with Superfine! DC at the end of October. I would also like to paint a really big wall and get paid for it - I’m just going to put that right here.