April 16th, 2020
Jesse Gussow


Artist Emily Whittingham paints somewhat lighthearted macabre works. Her characters have a early Saturday Morning cartoon vibes mixed with dark and desolate themes, such as skulls, death and decay. Her works balance the themes so well. Her subtle use of humour within the pieces draws you in. Her use of colours only emphasizes the themes of dark and light. She is truly a skilled artist at creating a light and dark balanced piece.



Where are you from?

I’m from Hampshire in the UK.



How did you get interested in art?

Like most kids, I drew a lot. But it wasn’t until I was about nine years old when I really got bitten by the art bug. I started off by copying illustrator Nick Sharrat’s work and style before moving into styles of things like manga, old fairy-tale illustrations and Tim Burton. Whilst I’m not really into manga like I once was, I definitely owe a lot to the medium for helping my style grow and develop. As for Tim Burton, he’s still one of my heroes, and I still adore old fairy-tale illustrations.



What inspires your artwork?

As mentioned before, Tim Burton is definitely one of my inspirations, along with Jasmine Beckett Griffith and Miss Mindy. I’m mainly inspired by vintage American animation (such as the old Disney films and Tex Avery); classic horror stories and films; fairy tales and the Disney parks.



How would you describe your style?

‘Whimsically gothic’ lowbrow art.



When working on a piece what is your whole process from start to finish. How long does that typically take?

To draw out a piece for painting, that can take about one or two hours, maybe more; depending on the size, complexity, research and detail. Next, it’s another hour or more to paint the background, followed by the main points of focus and the final details. I must admit that I’m a fast worker and tend to overestimate how much time I need for paintings. I’m getting better with taking my time with my work, especially finer details, which is what I like doing.



What is your favourite dinosaur?

Blue the velociraptor from the Jurassic World films.



Do you listen to music when creating art? If so what is the best?

I definitely like background noise of some description when I’m working, whether it’s a mundane TV program or music. In particular, I love listening to classic rock, 80s music and 20s/30s jazz.



How many pieces do you complete a year?

If that’s including all the log slices I paint, my drawings and my little originals... well, I’d have to say lots! As I mentioned before, I’m a fairly fast worker.



What does your work say about you?

It says that I’m often away with the fairies...and the vampires, mermaids, bats, zombies, skull headed animals, tattooed ladies...



What do you want people to feel or experience when they see your work?

I like people to enjoy my work – I like it to make them smile and go ‘Ooooh!’. A lot of people comment on how they’ve seen nothing like my work before, and that’s always a big thumbs up for me! People often ask me where I get my ideas from. Most of the time, I honestly don’t know.



How have you overcome an artistic block in the past? What's a good way to avoid it? If any.

Whenever I’ve got artist block (despite the millions of ideas I have lined up), I find that the best thing to do is walk away and do something else. Whether it’s a few minutes or half a day, my motivation always comes back.



How has your artwork affected you? And other people?

It feels fantastic to have my own little world I’ve created that I can keep adding to it, retreat to and show everyone else in the world. TO have finally found my style and niche that I really enjoy feels incredible. I’m not sure how my work’s affected other people but I think that people like it.



Is there a artistic medium you haven’t done that you would like to? If so what is it and why that particular one?

When I was at university, I wanted to go into puppet-making but that didn’t quite take off. It was a lot of fun, but something was still missing for me. However, I’d like to get better at it, and sculpting in general. I used to love sitting there and sculpting small things from polymer clay and I kinda want to get back into that. But I just don’t really have the patience.



How have you grown from when you first started to now?

I like to think that I’m growing both as an artist and as a person. I’m consciously always trying to find ways to improve my art, whether it’s a way of painting something, anatomy or simply taking my time with it. I like to think I don’t get as frustrated or upset with things (whether it’s art or not) as I used to, and I’m learning all the time.



Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?

Unfortunately, we don’t get Fudgee-O cookies in the UK, so I’ve never tried them. I’d like to, though. But hot dang, do I LOVE Oreos!

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