Q&A with sculptor and senior Julia Emerson, who uses recycled materials for pieces

Selena Liu

Why do you think people should explore art?

I think it’d be good for people to take the Intro to 3D arts or some of the more three-dimensional arts to get some more exposure, because I wouldn’t have known I was good at art if I didn’t take jewelry class. If I (had) taken a drawing class, then I would’ve hated it and never put effort (into art). I think if people get more exposure to different mediums then they’ll have more of an understanding of (themselves). (For me, it was finding) that apparently I have good spatial understanding around me; that’s been pushing me to become a surgeon in the future. Learning from what I’m able to do and pushing it towards the future and potential careers is definitely helpful.

How do you get your materials?

(Jen) Riley-Davis, the jewelry teacher, (is) a hoarder. She takes all the supplies and (thinks), ‘someone could use this in the future.’ My first project was with (an) old mannequin, and she had held onto it for 15 years (because) she figured someone would use it eventually. I get (the materials) mostly from the art department, sometimes I get (them) from antique stores or Goodwill. If I have an idea (that needs particular materials), I need to go to Lowe’s or some other place.

What inspired you to start sculpting?

Nothing really inspired me; I just didn’t want to do drawing because I suck at it. I decided to start taking a jewelry class, and I really preferred that to drawing or painting. I discovered I was actually good at (sculpting), which was a shock. I decided to stick with it and now I’m in the AP (art) class.

What is your favorite piece?

I did a project with keys last semester; that took a good seven, nine weeks to do. There’s one that I just finished that’s made out of matches; I lit it on fire. It’s difficult (to choose) because as you get better at your art and the more you evolve in your ability, the more you look back on what you did (and) the less you like it. I’ll probably not like my pieces in the future I currently enjoy, it’s just growing with the art. It depends on your ability at the time. Every artist I know is like, ‘I hate my art.’

To you, what is the most interesting aspect of your art?

BARRICADE: Sculptor and senior Julia Emerson’s sculpture stands in the construction area outside CHS. According to Emerson, the piece reminded her of the intruder procedure.

Some of my pieces are more conceptual and more focused on (an) idea. I’m about to start a piece focused on alcoholism. The one with the desk and the chairs: I called it ‘Barrier’ because it was reminding me, when I was building it, of when you barricade the door in case there’s an intruder in the building. The other piece ‘Marital Law’ was a commentary on 1950s housewives, and (the housewife’s) disgust with doing that, her being forced into a role she didn’t want to play. Now, it’s fun to do those more conceptual (pieces), but there’s also those abstract pieces that have no meaning to them. Trying to display (the conceptual ideas) and have the person understand what it’s supposed to be (is interesting), but if they don’t understand that’s also okay because it’s up to their interpretation.