Artist & Illustrator
Tell us a little about your story and your purpose.
I am an artist and a mother. Both are part of my story and purpose. I love the idea of fostering creativity in everything I do and everyone I love. I'm an illustrator and visual artist .
I love illustrating children’s books, I get sent a manuscript and a brief and then I have the privilege of bringing someone’s dream to life. It all started with a card range and now 20 years (and 120 odd books later yikes), I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with Hachette, New Frontier, Little Steps, Brolly books, Book group, the Enid Blyton Estate and recently the Duchess of York. Those of you with little ones understand the power and magic of story time and I still can’t believe I get to be an integral part of that !!
My work as a visual artist is a totally different story. I have been represented with Jacob Hoerner Galleries now since 2009. My work has always been site specific. I moved to Berlin in 2011, and was totally shocked that I had zero inspiration to paint. I did however enjoy making music and playing little gigs. The urban landscape just didn't inspire me. I visited Mparntwe (Alice Springs) a few times when the German winters got too depressing and was taken by the landscape, and eventually did a residency with the local artist run initiative called Watch This Space, in 2013. I painted like a woman possessed!! The trees became my companions (this is a whole other story lol). I ended up exhibiting my first show in 5 years and have been drawn to paint intimate landscapes since. I ended up moving from Berlin to Mparntwe and continued to paint the landscape for another 5 years (as well as have a little boy called Redmond). Last year I moved back to Melbourne after 8 years away and have just completed a new body of work based around studying the Merri Creek and Birrarung lands, its rivers and Wurrung (trees). This show is so exciting as my curator has decided to exhibit it outside on the banks of the Birrarung lands (Yarra River). This opens March 20th 2-4pm... more details on my instagram page @emmastuartart. I am also a passionate singer and songwriter but since becoming a mother this has become pretty much non existent! But I still manage to sing once a week with some amazing people!
Who are the women that have made the biggest impact on you and your journey so far?
My mother, my sister and my beautiful friends. I'm not a massive fan of defining gender specifics to women, or men... just people. But if we are to be gender specific, lets go this time with my Mother, Barbara Stuart. Mum spent her childhood in a catholic convent in the early 50's in Mansfield, Victoria. When she was 16 she packed one bag and headed to London on a boat ...alone. She studied nursing by day and painted by night (or visa versa). She met a West Indian black man called Morris Stuart (my Dad :) ) in 1966 and married him in 1967. They were a mixed raced couple during the civil rights movement and were heavily involved in the movement as well as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. They were ostracised constantly for their interracial marriage. Still they went on to have 4 children and still do amazing things today! My mother's art is very similar to mine and we often joke that we share the same brain... She is an adventurer, but still an old school Australian and they are rare these days. She's fostered so much in me that I love.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
To seek out and celebrate women's achievements, but also commit to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.
What is your hope for women and girls in the future?
To encourage and forge a gender equal world.
If you could have told your younger self anything, what would it have been?
Oh my God, such a hard question... I am a firm believer in acceptance. To accept all that I've chosen in my life. My relationships (good or bad), my travels, my achievements and mistakes. They all make me who I am. There is no point in beating yourself up for things you could have done better. I am a big lover!! My Dad always tells me I see the good in people and it can get me into trouble. This is pretty ingrained in me, but perhaps, if I met my 7 year old self, I'd tell her to be careful of people who tell you they love you too soon, but also those who don't tell you enough??
You can follow Emma's art on Instagram at @emmastuartart
and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/emma.stuartillustration