Brand new artist, Emma Gibbons talks about her intricate original artwork

Brand new artist, Emma Gibbons talks about her intricate original artwork

Having only recently signed to the publication house, Wishbone Publishing, Emma’s work has been a huge hit with collectors. From commission based art to screen print limited editions, the artists is taking centre stage as she creates painstakingly intricate, handcrafted components with a designer and luxury influence.

Her first collection with the Artmarket Gallery was an original creation of Addiction No.5. Available in a magnitude of colours, these original pieces of art hang on the gallery walls with vibrancy and a signature style that you cannot find elsewhere. Emma Gibbon’s originals have since branched into the creation of High Fashion, a Chanel-esq artwork with a striking impact, and then even into catchphrases and sayings like Keep Calm and Carry On, all in signature ‘pill’ form!

Having recently launched her first screen print, the artist’s work is set to continue in just one way… up! We are so excited to see what the future brings as Emma discusses what new and innovative projects are in the pipeline. Take a read below to find out more about this incredible artist’s techniques, inspiration and the crazy ins and outs of working with the hugely talented Damien Hirst.

What inspired you to pursue art?

“I've always been creative. I was constantly drawing and creating stuff as a kid,” says Emma. She continues to reminisce on her teens, “I went to art college in London and completed a degree at the London College of Printing and then a masters at Camberwell. I loved it, and I loved being in the city - I loved the energy and there was just constantly stuff going on. I partied a bit too hard with hindsight but you only live once!”

Emma got a taste for the industry by working with art galleries, “working for galleries, doing events and getting to know artists, gallery owners and collectors I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I wasn't sure in what context, or what job I would eventually have, but I knew I wanted to carry on studying and working and see where I ended up.”

“I got a job working for White Cube and that was a real turning point. We held exhibitions for Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George - it was super fun and massively inspirational. An incredible place to get to spend your days.”  

You have an interesting history of working with high profile artists. Was this a huge part of learning the art world?

Emma Gibbons has worked for a magnitude of high profile artists, working at world renowned exhibitions from all corners of the art-world. Damien Hirst, and the Chapman Brothers are to name when looking at Emma's portfolio of art history.

“Working for Damien has been a huge part of my life for the last 15 years. I have always loved his work - I did my dissertation on him long before I started working for him. I've worked on tonnes of different Hirst projects. In London, I was part of the team putting together the For The Love of God diamond skull exhibition. It was a huge crazy project that was insanely popular with the public and had tonnes of publicity and press, so logistically it was super challenging.”

“I've work on projects in Hong Kong and New York and up until 2016 I was working for Damien Hirst in Devon, where we both live. He's a huge source of inspiration to me every single day. I am hugely fortunate to own one of two of his pieces so I get to enjoy them every day at home too.”

Where and when do you feel most creative?

“I'm in the studio very early every morning, but I'm not a morning person! My husband and my daughter are both super early risers so I'm usually up and starting work by about 7am. The plus side is I can do ten hour days in the studio without it feeling like too much of a sacrifice.” When noticing the intricacy and detailing of Emma Gibbon’s original artwork, it is no surprise that these 10 hour days are a necessity!

“I draw my inspiration from all over the place. I'm a huge festival fan. My husband is a music producer so we're fortunate enough to get lots of festival invites. I love the colour of it all - the outfits, the glitter, the sunshine. Also any excuse to wear a sequin leotard in pubic and I'm there! I always come back from festivals with loads of new ideas.” 

The theme of your work is so intricate and delicate, what inspired this medium?

“I like art that packs a punch.” Emma continues, “as a collector, I like art that's bold, colourful, and something that makes a statement. I guess as an artist those are all qualities I've tried to emulate.”

“When I was working for White Cube I was introduced to American artist Liza Lou. She makes installations out of hundreds of thousands of tiny beads. They’re mind blowing and incredibly beautiful pieces of art. She’s a massive inspiration on my work. Damien has also done loads of different projects using pills. His print series The Cure is one of my all time favourites. He also did a set of works using millions of dead flies all stuck together on giant canvases. They were completely disgusting, but also incredibly powerful. There’s something about the repetitiveness of thousands and thousands of things together that really appeals to me artistically.”

When discussing how Emma finalised the idea of using glitter filled, vibrantly coloured resin pill, she says; “The pills are ultra contemporary too. They appeal on a visual level, but they’re also fun, and a little bit naughty! They allow me to be extravagant and colourful but they’re still very much fine art. That’s the appeal for me for sure.”

Simply… why Chanel?!

Emma’s work tends to have a reoccurring theme throughout, and that is her high-fashion designer muse, Chanel. The perfume bottles draw for the inspiration of her amazing collection titled Addiction No.5, available in an array of beautiful and vibrant colours. “I’ve been obsessed with Chanel since I was little. I remember my Grandma telling me about her and about the fashion house when I was about 7 or 8 and I've been hooked ever since.”

“Fashion was my first real love. I think as a kid clothes are one of the first ways you get to express your individuality. I was offered a place at the London College of Fashion when I was 16, but I didn't go. I stayed at school and finished my A-levels and went to Art College instead, but fashion (and Chanel) has always stayed with me.”

Coco Chanel was a prestigious fashion designer certifying the success of her fashion house across the 1900s. Her work has been the influence of thousands of tweed suits and the 'little black dress' and redefined fashion for women in the World War I era. “Chanel was just the most inspirational designer - she changed the way women dressed, and even the way women think about themselves, forever. As a creative that's about as special as it gets. She was also small, female, immensely talented and super feisty! My daughter Coco is actually named after Coco Chanel, they're similar in many ways.”

What is the process of your original artwork?

Mixed media at it’s finest, Emma Gibbon’s creates her originals using painstakingly intricate hand crafted components also known as ‘pills.’ Emma explains, "first I make the pills. It's a very long, fiddly, labour intensive process so I get that started before I do anything else. Each pill is made by hand using resin, combined with glitter or sand or cake sprinkles. Sometimes I use diamond dust and Swarovski crystals, depending on the piece.”

The Addiction No. 5 Chanel bottles take roughly 2000 pills each to complete. They also take 24 hours to 'set' properly, so there's always a time lag before I can use them - which allows me to prepare the boards and get my layout right. I always apply a minimum of two layers of pills on each piece - that gives it real depth, and that feeling of 'Wow that's a lot of pills!’”

“Each individual pill is applied by hand, and bonded with adhesive and then resin. It's an insanely lengthy process! (I get though a LOT of podcasts.) Stopping is a very instinctive thing. There's always the temptation to keep going, but generally I stop when I'm happy that I've got the effect I want.”  

When and how did you know it was the right time to sign to Wishbone Publishing?

Emma joined Wishbone Publishing at the start of 2020 and as her work came into the Artmarket Gallery the demand was phenomenal.

“I’d been toying with the idea of signing with a publisher for ages. People kept telling me I should do limited edition prints - but I was adamant they had to be really nice quality prints, and not just photocopies of the originals.”

Gibbons recently released her first limited edition screen print. Available in just an edition size of 25, the limited edition screen print, Keep Calm is of that amazing quality that Emma so highly desired and finished in black or white framing.

When discussing how she chose herself and Wishbone as the perfect match for her art and ethos, Emma says, “I wanted someone who had the knowledge to make something special and unique, so that narrowed it down. I'd heard really good things about Wishbone, and when I went for the initial meeting it was clear pretty quickly that we shared the same values. I've had a blast with Wishbone, and we're only a few months into working together. We bounce ideas off of each other really well and we have TONNES of great projects in the pipeline. We’re definitely only just getting started.”

What does the creative future hold?

“The beauty of this medium is that there’s so much scope to explore various different imagery and ideas.” The artist is alway open to commission requests of various perfume bottles and any other contemporary ideas you may think of!!

“There are some wicked projects in the diary for the very near future. There are definitely some other brands on the horizon, and I've already been flirting with some very popular characters! I don't want to give too much away at this point, but I've got a date with Barbie, and perhaps a certain Disney character or two. I've done a few PacMan originals and there are some more retro video game pieces coming up as well.”

We are also super excited about your newest limited edition print!! Will we be seeing more of these?

“Absolutely! We're working on a very cool Chanel print that has some wicked features that are exclusive to the print version. We have a few tricks up our sleeve - but you'll have to wait until the release to see what we've been scheming!”

“But yes, lots more to come. I’m really excited about the work in the pipeline – the response has been phenomenal so far and we’ve got some awesome bits that are still only in the planning stages. Definitely watch this space!”

Emma Gibbon’s artwork has been highly desired at the Artmarket Gallery and we can’t wait to see what comes from the artist in the future. You can shop Emma Gibbon’s collection of art on our gallery website.

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