Mercy Issue contributing artist Emily Carpintero shares her thoughts on art, change, and creative blocks in a short journal entry. She’s part of a group of women who make Protest’s very first issue possible.
Emily Carpintero’s work centers on the shadowy side of life. Emily creates art in shades of black, white, and grey; her pieces are inspired by the universal experiences of fear, love, curiosity, and heartbreak. When not immortalizing herself and others through portraiture, she captures the grey areas of a changing city in a photography project called It's Not Like That Anymore. The project uses the physical developments happening within our neighborhoods as a parallel for changes happening within the heart of people, which is “consistently faltering and changing.” And as change never stops, this is an ongoing project. You can take a look at It’s Not Like That Anymore and other projects here.
I am an artist because I don’t care for anything as much as I care for art. Like most artists I’ve worked plenty of jobs outside of the art field, but even the more interesting jobs leave my soul feeling empty. Making art is not a “job,” but my life; I will always identify as an artist before anything else.
When I experience creative blocks I don’t fight them. I’m aware that I don’t get to choose when I’ll make my art; the vision for a piece will come to me all at once or not at all. Instead, I delve into other activities like reading, writing, watching films or listening to music—things that would in turn inspire me over time.
Change is necessary because without it I am stagnant. To feel something different, to see something under a new light, to put myself in a position where I need to rebuild my thoughts and emotions in connection to my art and life - that tension is important for me as an artist.
I feel my best when I have things to think about—they could be incomplete thoughts, or just a fragment. I jot down anything that is meaningful or could be meaningful if I just sit and think about it more. Sometimes these small thoughts turn into art projects, and sometimes they just live as small thoughts.
My personal affirmation is that I will always have art. When anything in my life turns out bad, I turn it into art. When I’m living through the bad feelings of whatever bad thing happened that day or week, I always feel a tad better knowing art awaits me.
So far, the most memorable advice I received this year is to stick to what you know, but be smart about it. With the ever changing movements of our generation, the art world is easily swayed too—as an emerging artist it’s hard to find your voice while attempting to make relevant work that will catch the eyes of curators and publishers. Creating art for the culture of the world and creating art for yourself are two different things that a professional artist needs to bring together, and I am slowly learning how to decipher what parts of my work are integral to the message and what can be altered to fit views greater than just my own.