Instagram: @emma_roulette Tumblr: www.emmaroulette.tumblr.com
1. What's your story? Where are you from?I'm from Hobe Sound, Florida. I studied entomology, zoology, and Spanish in Gainesville, Florida. I spent some time there working as a beekeeper, as an 8th-grade science teacher, in various labs studying wasps and later jumping spiders, at the Florida Museum of Natural History preparing butterfly and moth specimens for research and then as a scientific illustrator dissecting and making drawings of moth genitalia. I moved to Madrid to teach English in 2016, and then to Barcelona in 2017.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.I used to make very realistic black and white stipple drawings of plants, animals, etc. But that style of drawing started to hurt my hand and wrist, so over time I simplified my lines and experimented with color. I'd say my "aesthetic" hasn't completely solidified yet. I know a consistent portfolio is supposed to be good for "brand identity" and all that, but I feel resistant to being anything other than an undifferentiated seed. Maybe that will change when I go to ~Art School~
3. What is your favourite medium and why?.005 and .01 Micron pen on bristol board, then color in photoshop. Pen & paper because I can have almost complete control over what lines get made. Almost. Pen's margin of error makes shapes a little messier and more organic, and I like that. Photoshop for color because I suck at everything else.
4. What is your artistic process like?When I'm doing a piece with any plants or non-human animals, I want to represent them as biologically and geographically as accurately as possible. So I scan google images and Flickr for photos that people took in particular locations. I also look for scientific lists of the observed flora and fauna in certain ecosystems. For other projects, I use images from my phone, or I sketch onsite. I'll draw everything in pencil, then in pen, then add color in photoshop.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?These comic artists/illustrators: Conxita Herrero, Maria Medem, Amanda Baeza, Liam Cobb, Maruo, Seiichi Hayashi, Yuichi Yokoyama. Also this botany class I took at UF called "Local Flora" really impacted me. We learned to identify over 300 species of plants (using leaf shape, arrangement, flowers, etc). One of the professors told us about this thing called "Plant-blindness." Before taking the class, if you're walking through somewhere with a lot of plants, you just kind of see it as this whole wash of green. After taking the class, you no longer have plant-blindness-- all the green changes and is suddenly full of information: outlines, distinct colors, names. I've never had a class actually change my moment-to-moment perception as much as that one, and all the time I'm thinking about how to capture this. Entomology classes were similar-- we had to make insect collections for some of them, which required going on hikes, walking slowly, and looking at everything really closely. Insects can be little camouflage masters sometimes so you really have to pay attention to the outlines of things, to slight movements, etc. It is this type of attention that I have with my work.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?Drawing is fun because, with a blank sheet of paper and a pen you can make anything you want, you have so much freedom. I like to think that in every moment (making art or not) I am free to choose in the same way, and this is exciting, especially when you don't always choose what is the most straightforward or justifiable. Also, making and looking at art (in all forms) gives me certain attention and interest towards everything external to my self. Seeing everything as an art, even the most "boring" aspects of daily life, gives me this spectatorial distance where I can appreciate everything as interesting, at the very least.
7. Where did you study?I got my B.A. in Spanish at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and now I'm working on a grau superior in illustration at L'Escola Massana in Barcelona.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?Ok, I'm gonna be really specific, because why not. Living in Brazil, or southern China, or some other place with access to lots of biodiversities. Learning a new language, working on a comic or a larger series of illustrations. Having good habits and being around people I care about.
9. What about in ten?I guess the same as #8, but maybe a different country.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?Mostly I want to get to a point where I can make art for a living without having to do anything else. I really want to move away from making stand-alone pretty pictures and move toward larger, more conceptual projects. I especially want to make more comics, because the whole narrative thing allows for so many more communicative possibilities. Plus comics grip the reader in that one must actively work through it to get the whole thing, unlike a single image which is so often viewed and evaluated in a second. I feel really happy when my drawings are used for causes that I feel passionate about, like conservation biology. With my more personal art, I guess I'd like for people to see another mode of living in the world, one that is dilated, hyper-vivid, non-competitive, and requires slowness to allow detailed observation.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?My mom's mac and cheese! and roasted brussels sprouts.
12. Favourite book?Fiction: The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector Nonfiction: The Devil and Commodity Fetishism by Michael Taussig
13. Favourite genre of music?Sensual slow jams with lots of synths and saxophones lol... basically Sade. Also ambient/noise/""""4th world""""
14. What are your hobbies?Hiking, reading, discovering new music.
15. If you weren't an artist, what would you be?Maybe I'd go back and study anthropology/political ecology, or I'd work at a National Park as a biologist or interpretive guide.