Creativity in the Bay of Plenty: Emma Prill

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Emma Prill is a Bay of Plenty artist well known for her vibrant and original Flower Garden works which featured in last year’s Garden and Art Festival and are familiar to many from café walls and galleries. Emma has been a finalist in recent Molly Morpeth Awards and the Miles Art Award, winning People’s Choice in 2014. A mother of two young children, Emma made the decision to work as a professional artist years ago and has not looked back. focus asked her some questions about her lifestyle and plans.

What is a typical day in the life of Emma Prill?

My days are really varied which I love. I usually start with checking my emails and responding to enquiries and orders. I’ve recently launched my Home Art Workshop Kit and have received several international orders, which is fantastic. I love working from home so I can work around my two children’s also very full lives. During the week I vary my time between working on my commissions, planning or taking art workshops and art parties, and working on my limited edition Giclée print range (fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers). I sell them through several galleries in NZ – Zohar at The Mount being a great local one.

What inspired you to create your first Home Art Workshop Kit?

The Indian Elephant Workshop is the first in a series of workshops I am planning. I first designed this workshop for children and then had some interest from adults so I took exactly the same workshop for them and it was a real success. I felt if I pulled all the elements of this workshop together in a kit, people could create a special project in their own homes. I have spent months and months creating the pack and I have created it to be sustainable, using quality paints (I hand mix them myself) and a project for all ages to enjoy (ages 5+). With the different designs and colour choices, everyone will create a unique and original work of art.

You are well known for your intricately made Flower Garden works. What’s your inspiration behind these?

I see the Gardens as a place to retreat and rejuvenate into. They are inspired by forms and colours found in gardens both on land and under water.

I hand paint each and every flower and part of the garden using acrylic on canvas. I’m often asked if I use fabric in my Gardens. I love this visual question that the Gardens provoke. Is it a painting? What is it made from? I see them as sculptural paintings, using very traditional materials, acrylic on canvas but in a non-traditional way.

What’s next for you?

I really enjoy exploring the fluidity and flexibility when canvas is not bound to a frame. My last works were both finalists in the Molly Morpeth Award 2017 and Miles Art Awards and explored cutting into canvas and inviting shadow and light into the work. I will be exploring this further. I will also be working on my commissions and adding to my collection of Home Art Workshop kits. Recently I’ve been invited to exhibit at the Warwick Henderson Gallery in Auckland so I am also looking forward to taking my work to a new audience. I will also be taking adult art workshops (at The Incubator in Tauranga) and have several adult art party gatherings booked. I think it’s going to be another busy creative year! I love what I do and often wish there were just a few more hours in the day to manifest all the creative ideas that are bubbling away.