The Studio Interview
Walking past the large open gallery at ARTSPACE at [Untitled], the ceilings in the printmaking studio are tall and decorated with large black wood blocks above shiny metal lockers. A pegboard next to the sink houses a plethora of ink rollers, while large tables have papers and materials spread out on them. Large windows let in plenty of light. The supplies in the studio are a dream; not only material wise, but the kitchen appliances! Equipped with (drum roll please); a washer and dryer, sinks galore, oven, stove, refrigerator and dishwasher, this space yearns for artists to make this place their 2nd home. Emma Difani declares this studio a dream come true.
Emma shared stories about her mom being a photographer and father being a chef, and how this has helped to influence her life today. She considers herself a maker. She makes cakes, pies (she recently taught a strawberry-rhubarb pie baking class), and anything in-between. Born in New Mexico, she grew up cooking dinner for her parents with her sisters, going all out with hand-drawn menus. Food and art are what her family is all about.
The printmakers admiration of paper was adorably sweet. Exclaiming, “I LOVE PAPER!” lead to a confession of stroking paper against her cheek when shopping for materials. For her works on paper, her typical color palette includes layers of mossy greens and opaque browns. After recently moving to Oklahoma she finds new color inspiration in Oklahoma’s red dirt and bricks. During our meet, she had works in progress layed out that mimic the warm blush tones of the states’ native dirt. Adding bits of bright coral brings the typically quiet pieces to life, while also adding a new contrast with the dark midnight blue commonly seen in Difani’s work. In her imagery, you can see the inspiration of man-made walkways layered with abstract lines that are reminiscent of a bug’s path. Circular, organized lines overlapped with free flowing trails creates a correlation between nature and urbanization. #wildplacesinurbanspaces is the hashtag frequently used by Emma, appropriate enough.
“Much of what I do focuses on human relationships with the environment, natural or constructed, positive and negative. I am very concerned with how our collective actions are damaging the land and the people, plants and animals that live on it.” We look forward to more stories from Emma as she returns from an internship at Women's Studio Workshop in New York in September.
Writing and interview by Liz Boudreaux