Meet Superfine! Artist, Emily Fromm
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While we get hyped for the first Superfine! Art Fair in NYC coming up this April, we explore its theme of "(Wo)man" and celebrate its all-female lineup of exhibiting artists that are crushing the art game. As we continue our series of interviews with artists exploring the world of art IRL with Superfine!, we took a beat to chat with contemporary painter, Emily Fromm (@emilylfromm). Sit back, relax, and read more and find out how you can show your art IRL with a dope offer for Ello members.
Don't miss out on this. Meet Emily and more artists IRL at Superfine’s upcoming SF market and join the movement.
View more of Emily's work here.
-Introduction by interviewer Mayah Taylor (@mayah), Ello’s Community Creative Manager. She loves tacos, fashion, Doctor Who, and wears too much black.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What type of art do you create?
Yes! I’m Emily Fromm, I’m 28 years old and I’m a full-time artist based out of San Francisco, California. My primary medium is acrylic painting, usually on canvas or wood panels, but I also do murals and large scale installations as well. I paint contemporary urban landscapes in a style that brings to mind classic cartoons or comics, but employs traditional sign-painting techniques.
Who and/or what inspires your art? Is there symbolism that can be found in your choice of color, shape or iconography in your work?
I was born and raised in LA and moved to the Bay Area when I was 17, so the California landscape has always been a constant source of inspiration in my life and art. I love capturing scenes of street corners, motels, delis, liquor stores and the like, highlighting signage, Americana imagery and architecture. I take the reference photos for my paintings myself, which means I visit every location I paint in person. I try to think about what colors present in the scene most evoke what it feels like to be there, often brighter or more distinctive shades, and then will pair those colors with more subtle or natural hues. I tend to limit the number of colors in my paintings, and will often use the same or similar colors in many paintings to evoke a sense of relation or continuity between them, though they are primarily intended to be viewed as individual images. The series that I’m preparing for Superfine! NYC is my first group of paintings that isn’t centered on the West Coast, and I’m having an amazing time painting locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Coney Island and more. For me, painting has always been an attempt to capture places that I know well and love; using it now as a way to explore places that are new to me has been very different and interesting. The landscapes in New York are so dense that when I visited, I found inspiration at every turn. Curating my reference photos and creating the paintings for this series has been an extremely fun process - I’m very excited to share all of the work in person this spring!
What is your creative process like? How has it evolved?
For many years, I balanced my art career with a part-time job, so I was always looking for inspiration directly around me. I would take photos on my way to and from work, while on breaks, on art supply runs or while hanging out on the weekends, and ended up painting a lot of bustling city life in San Francisco as a result. Since taking the leap to work on my art full time about a year ago, I’ve been able to travel more than I used to, and am excited to make paintings of places I’ve been able to visit including (of course) New York, Montreal, Boston, Colorado, Australia and others. I find my compositions changing with my ability to photograph during the traditional work day, or at times when I was previously unable. Now that I’m often taking my reference photos while traveling, I’m capturing scenes as I experience them as a first time visitor on vacation, a tourist amongst tourists, rather than a local. I think it changes my vantage point quite a bit, both in the way I see the landscape itself and the way I view people interacting with it. But aside from that, my painting process when I’m back in the studio (also my home) is about the same. Once I select an image and get my canvas ready, I sketch the composition directly onto the canvas and begin painting in a sort of paint-by-number fashion without the numbers. I usually start with one of the more distinctive shades, a color I’m relatively sure I want in certain places, and go from there through each of the colors I am using. Depending on the painting, sometimes I make a lot of changes in this stage or sometimes things fall into place fairly easily, but I spend several days applying multiple coats of each color for opacity and evenness. Finally, I spend several days painting and then re-painting all of the line work, text and detail. The process can be tedious, but also meditative, exciting and rewarding.
When did you first get involved with the Superfine! Art Fair? If this is your first time, what do you expect?
This is my first time participating in Superfine! and I’m very excited! I’m not entirely sure what to expect but know that the fair puts together a fantastic line-up of artists, art collectives and galleries, so I can’t wait to see all of the other work in the show and meet some of the other participants. It will also be my first time showing art outside of California, so I’m extremely excited to hear what people think of my work in another place! It seems like a great way to meet new artists and collectors, whether you’re traveling for the show or exhibiting in your hometown.
How do you imagine the future of IRL art-focused events like Superfine! ?
I’ve never done a fair like Superfine! before, but basically all of the art shows and events I’ve participated in my career have been IRL. I think it’s super important for artists to be part of their art community, wherever that may be, and that art is always best when seen in person and explained by its maker. Shows and fairs like Superfine! give artists the power to meet their collectors and sell their own work directly, which is very exciting. I think events like this are an interesting facet of today’s art market alongside traditional gallery shows, and I look very forward to participating in my first one!