We met Emyle while sourcing California Native plants at the Tree of Life Nursery. Noticing all the beautiful painted signs scattered throughout the nursery, we were drawn to ask, who painted all these signs… with a warm smile, Emyle replied, “I did!” Emyle’s talent extends to and is expressed in so many different and unique ways. Raw and deeply in touch with nature, Emyle’s work is an inspiration and true reflection of passion.
Learn more about this special artist…
What motivates you to create?
I began drawing when I was very young to make little story books on paper, I would staple them together and dramatically retell the tale in front of my mother and grandmothers. I think that many times throughout my young life I had a hard time being able to truly communicate my feelings and through drawing stories, I was able to express things I couldn’t verbalize. I love telling stories, stories about queerness, the climate, the story of the buckwheat in my backyard, the little bug I saw on my walk, or something from my dreams. Being able to tell these stories brings me joy.
What are some of the things your art has taught you and hope it teaches others?
I think my art continuously teaches me to slow down. I have a tendency to get picked up in the whirlwind of living in SoCal and that can leave me with this mentality of never stop, rush, rush, rush. Doing things like waiting for the gourds to grow, to dry, to let the pen heat up enough to burn, to slowly maneuver it over the design. Things take time and sometimes I get caught up in the immediate gratification, the immediate glorification, but learning how to breathe and relax have been my greatest treasures. I hope knowing that your bandana, or pouch, or wood print took time, it took the buckwheats blooming in summer to turn into their deep rusty red to dye the cloth, and for the milkweed to bloom for that perfect sketch.
How does nature influence your work?
Nature is a huge piece of my puzzle. I look to nature for inspiration, the curve of leaves, the shapes in shadow, and the way that though every flower and plant, in theory, written in their genetic code should look the same, or try to; the beautiful genetic diversity, the little bug that makes a home in the stem, or the factors surrounding that shifts the tiniest of moments in a plant’s life that creates a little miracle, a little fasciation, a little unique plant that can look so different. Or the absolute awe of these little bugs having these itty bitty legs that take them so far. I think the joy of seeing diversity in nature really leaves me with an itch to mimic and draw them, to have a little piece of them with me all the time.
If you were a plant, which plant would you be and why?
If I was a plant I would be Mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), she’s called the womens’ herb, she’s the first plant friend I made, and the first one I knew its name. She has been used for centuries to help ease the period pains and give you some beautiful dreams. There is a Toby in my life who taught me how to make salves out of Mugwort, and to drink tea made from Mugwort, and she even gave me my first little twig with the tiniest little root on it, which now makes its home in my little habitat. She likes to grow and grow and grow, through her roots ever spreading, ever adaptable, I am continuously growing, and learning, and always exploring, always loving, trying to help where I can. That's why if I were to be a plant, I would be her.
Do the seasons have a direct effect on your work?
Seasons play a massive role in my art and what type of art I create. I love to dye my fabrics with natural dyes and try to use things that are in season. I am continuously in awe of what's in bloom at different times and you can tell the change of seasons by what flowers and leaves I draw and collect in my journals. I think it's very important to slow down and be sustainable, and also enjoy the way in which the land and plants move where you live. It feels nice waiting for pomegranates to ripen on trees and saying “It's pomegranate season” on the days you eat them. There are all these little seasons, the times you can see Bloomeria with one of your partners, the times when you can use buckwheat to dye your favorite dress, when you can make cattail cookies, and when you can make the best possible Cleveland Sage ravioli (which in my personal opinion is in the spring with fresh new leaves).
A few more ways to connect with Emyle