Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Chapa.
Emily, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My first experience with making art purposefully was in the garage of a local ceramicist as a pre-teen. My mother had bartered” clay dates” for me in exchange for one of her garden installations at the artist’s house. I later found myself in required art classes in high school and then started finding ways to be in there as much as possible. I continued on in community college with art, once again returning to ceramics and trying out photography, but I just couldn’t seem to find my special niche and was frustrated.
I left to start a family and worked ten years for my father’s business, himself a luthier of fine mandolins, producing mother of pearl inlays for the guitar industry. At a family birthday party in 2008, I was handed some pods of paint and asked to face paint the kids, which I had no idea how to do. A lovely clown entertaining at the party approached me and gave me her card, encouraging me to contact another colleague because she needed face painters. I never did, but this interaction was never forgotten. When we made the difficult choice for me to stay home with the kids, my husband said to do something with my art. I resisted, and didn’t do anything creative regularly for years, except for a few short months where I assisted a master seamstress making Ballet Folklorico dresses.
Those sewing sessions were more like creative counseling sessions, with her helping me to find my path again. Sadly, she passed away, but I kept her life lessons with me. With each family party or holiday that came up, I would get better materials and research designs. I was then offered the opportunity to be the face painter at a small music festival as well as at school functions, which inspired more research and practice. In 2016, a school mom asked for my info, as her husband had recently revamped a local restaurant with a playground to make it a family friendly establishment. I was offered a regular spot there every week and started doing more private parties. I then attended a local convention and met other local painters. One great face painter in particular took me under her wing and gave me that final push to fly. That’s really what this artistic journey has been about; all of the generous people along the way who have shared of themselves and their talents to help me thrive.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My art is face painting mostly for children, but occasionally for adults. What I think makes this art form special is that it’s an experience with a visual, but temporary result. It’s fleeting, yet beautiful, just like nature. It’s perfect for a world where all of our experiences are captured on camera. I also love the instant gratification because children have limited patience, but then get to experience a unique piece of art and be the canvas, all in the span of a few minutes. It is absolutely amazing to see a child, especially one who is shy or timid, get a mask of their choosing and it completely transform how they interact with others. With paint on, they can truly be themselves and that is so gratifying for me, and their parents, to see.
Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
I don’t necessarily think our role has changed because I think that artists have always been providing the visual responses to current events, usually speaking for the disenfranchised. Some of the world’s greatest works art have come from the turmoil of the times. The difference between now and a decade ago is the mass communication through social media, so people’s work and their message can be seen and experienced by millions. In my particular work, I am much more in a bubble because I work mainly with children and their world is different than ours. The health of the economy does affect my work as does the warming climate. I strive to be adaptable and fluid to all situations, so that I can continue to do what I love.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Anyone can follow me, and contact me, through Instagram and Facebook.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/facepaintingbyemily
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/FacePaintingandMorebyEmily