Interview: Emily Combs
Luca Curci talks with Emily Combs during the 6th Edition of LONDON CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 2022, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Emily Combs was born in Wilmington, NC but raised in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography with a minor in Fashion Photography and Art History from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, GA. Her art develops themes of death, identity, and the progression of time. She is concentrated on fine art, portraiture, self-portraits, and fashion photography. Her works have been shown in exhibitions such as SCAD open studios, Art Fluent, and J. Mane Gallery, with a Viewers Choice Award from Atlanta, Celebrates Photography and a nomination from the Fine Art Photography Awards.
Luca Curci – How did you get into photography? Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
Emily Combs – I started photography when I was around sixteen, I was placed in a photography class in high school. I had no prior knowledge of the medium before then. The first thing we did in that class was making a camera from scratch. I made my first camera out of cardboard and a tin can. We would put film paper in the box and open it to create the image. A lot of the time, we were just guessing how long it would take to expose properly. The first photo I took was an image of my front porch. We put them all on a critique board and I can remember how much my image stood out. From that moment on it felt like I was meant to create art through this medium and I never looked back.
LC – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
EC – I tend to find inspiration within myself. My photos usually come from my own emotions. I like to analyze and realize emotions that are difficult to explain through words. My photography gives me a way to communicate things like death and grief. I believe my art can also help others feel vulnerable with their emotions and feel seen.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
EC – I usually look within myself for my inspiration. There’s so much going on in our brains that can’t always be formed with words. Even when I can’t explain why I feel something, I can tap into images to describe these emotions. I tend to see emotions in visuals and when I do, I dig deeper into their meaning and research-based on them. I also like to chase things I can’t stop thinking about, even if it’s just one picture in my head I want to create it.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
EC – Many of my artworks are focused on time and change.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
EC – I think as I’ve gotten older my style has become a little darker. The tones have become more muted and the subject matter feels more serious. Many of my pieces feel heavier but still, have a touch of whimsy throughout like in my beginning works.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
EC – The message of this series is to remind the viewer to stay in the present. I took inspiration from the “memento mori”, which is meant to remind the viewer there will always be an ending. The future will become your present and the present will become your past. I made this series during a time of transition in my life and it became a comforting reminder that I will only ever have this moment in time. I believe my works form a connection between myself and time. It shows how to grapple with the unmovable force of progression and change. The fear and excitement I bring to my future are a way to help me transform into the person I am today.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
EC – Before I created this series I was having a major inspiration block. I hadn’t made something I fell in love with in a long time and I felt ready to do so, but my direction wasn’t agreeing. I was laying in bed one night around 2 am when I came up with this series. I finally had a quiet moment to gather my thoughts and really dig deep into the emotions I was bringing to this project. Then suddenly the inspiration hit me like a brick. Sometimes finding the right inspiration can take time and the best inspiration can come from yourself.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
EC – I believe it can give opportunities to artists. ITSLIQUID gives artists the chance to be seen and put their art out there. This group can give stepping stones to an artist’s career.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
EC – I did, it was an experience that I will cherish throughout my career.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
EC – I believe ITSLIQUID has an amazing group of people creating these exhibitions. My photos looked beautiful on the wall and appreciate all the work that was put into making this show possible.