Artist Emma Uber has an incredible knack for paintings faces. Her series of pastel portraits involves beautifully detailed—and mainly feminine—faces that blend into backgrounds filled with thick, vibrant strokes, drips and smears of paint, and bursts of colorful shapes and flowers. Her use of a strong color palette and aggressive strokes, set against the soft features and expressionless faces, sparks an intense curiosity about each of her subjects.
Currently living in Australia, Uber doesn’t write much about herself on her website but we were lucky to get in contact with the artist and she was kind enough to answer some of our questions. You can catch that interview, below.
Can you please give us a brief background of yourself? Where are you from?
I am 30 years old and currently reside in Adelaide, Australia. I come from a graphic design and photographic background but have always painted on canvas after hours with much dedication. I own a camper van and love to cruise far, far away on the open road and discover beautiful new places and people with my fiancé.
What inspired you to create the portraits set?
I realized I was losing an emotional connection with my work. I'd been painting faceless figures and limbs for a long time and although they were graceful and beautiful, I felt they had become very passive and safe. Becoming passive and safe scares me to death!
I attempted a colorful self-portrait just to get out of my comfort zone and it grew from there. Portraits are very confronting and demand an emotional response, which is what I really love about them.
I notice you paint a lot of women. Where and how did you choose your subjects?
There are two kinds of subjects I paint. Some are people I know, and others are amalgamations of different faces and features I've collected over the years. I take photographs of my models as a reference and then get to work in private. Perhaps I paint females because I naturally have a connection with them, like painting a semi self-portrait.
I would probably describe myself as having a lot of fire under the surface of my facade, so painting sexy, colorful, passionate people keeps that side of me alive and churning over. It's very healthy for me.
What words of inspiration can you offer to other artists out there?
I feel I'm only at the early stages of my artistic career, so can only offer advice that helps me keep painting. Keep an area permanently set up at home so there's no excuse for not creating. Make it as accessible as turning on the TV so you spend any spare time at the drawing board and not the couch. Don't be too afraid of making something that's "not good enough", because all that time you spend creating goes in the bank and is never a waste of time.
And most importantly, surround yourself with passionate people. People who are enthusiastic and enjoy life will help you grow and keep you inspired.
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