Emma Daisy | Artist Sketchpad Feature
We sat down with artist, creator, and overall amazing human, Emma Daisy, to talk through her story, career, and “Dream Project”. Here’s what she had to say in this Artist Feature:
Dear Dream Project,
Every artist has an origin story — an account of the circumstances that made them an artist, and most of the time, the backstory contains clues about what inspires and motivates them. Here’s mine: I was born in Korea and then adopted and raised in the American Midwest.
Growing up as a Korean kid in the suburbs felt like I was an ‘other’, an outsider. Due to that early experience of feeling out of place and not quite fitting in, I struggled with identity and belonging in ways I couldn’t even understand or articulate, at least not in words. But when you don’t fit neatly into the usual boxes, you learn how to navigate the world through those in-between spaces that are universal to the human experience. For me, that’s where my personal inspiration as an artist lives and what fuels much of my work.
I find female artist icons the most inspiring, like Frida Kahlo, so brave and outspoken. She overcame so many hardships, and was largely self-taught, showing us that there’s no one right path to becoming an artist. Most of all, Frida was authentically herself, and even though she survived so much pain, her art is joyful.
Spreading joy is my goal as an artist too, and I’ve been lucky enough to work on many mural projects that enliven public spaces with vibrant colors and playful images. One memorable experience creating public art was on a Muros project for Instacart in Tulsa, which gave me a chance to get to know that city and celebrate its bright, dynamic spirit.
As an artist who takes on commissions with brands to create community art, I am drawn to organizations that are socially conscious and that serve their communities with integrity and in a way that resonates with my values. I am drawn to projects that have a mission beyond marketing.
It’s a joy and a privilege to get to do what I know I am meant to do, including all the hard work and hustle that go into life as an artist. This past year I’ve been co-curating the Bayshore Art Project with Merrick Porchéddu of Artist Uprising. The project is all about pulling together amazingly talented local artists who work in different media to create a public art experience, and it’s been exciting collaborating with them.
I’ve learned a ton from the experience, and it’s rewarding to see so many artistic visions coming together in a cohesive way. We’re bringing art to where people are — in a public space — and that makes it so much more accessible.
It’s all about transforming public spaces. Janet Echelman, another artist who inspires me, transforms public spaces all over the world. She creates sculpture on a massive, building-sized scale, using unique materials that harness wind and light to create a sense of wonder in anyone who sees it.
So, here’s my wish, Dream Project: the chance to do a huge, multifaceted, immersive, public installation that includes surface, sculpture and beyond. I would love the opportunity to bring a talented group of individuals together and work with them to completely transform a public space in a way that spreads joy and inspires people.
There’s something awe-inspiring about a diverse group of artists working together as a team, each following their own authentic vision, each telling their own truth. The magic happens when those individual perspectives click together to reveal a broader view, affirming differences and transcending them at the same time. I think the world could use more of that.