An interview with Lydia Emily
Note: Lydia Emily has just been booked to appear on Radio Alchymy, KPFK, Pacifica Radio, next Wednesday night/ Thursday am May 19th.KPFK will be raffling off five of Lydia Emily’s Winston Churchill pieces.
Q: You were at one time a folk artist who painted scenes of a personal nature about yourself, family and friends – what was it that inspired you to veer into politicts using photorealism and mixed media?
Lydia Emily: I started doing political street art as I began to understand that people like me do not really have a voice. I am not rich, a celebrity, or a politician. And Galleries generally don’t show political art. So I needed to find a way to put myself out there as a public witness to what goes on and often goes unnoticed. On the street I am an equal, so that’s where you’ll find me.
Q: Who are you speaking to, why the urge to share your works with the public and what would you like your viewers to take with them after viewing one of your pieces?
LE: I want people to really witness what goes on in the world. Witness means to acknowledge what happens, not just to see it go by on your twitter or facebook. As a witness you are participating in the culture, not just standing on the curb. I am a witness. And I hope that my being a witness will make other people think seriously about what is going on around them, and what they can do to influence it.
Q: What mediums do you use on the original pieces – what size are they? Do you work on one at a time or do you have numerous pieces going simultaneously?
LE: I use the Sunday New York Times only for background. I cut it up and glue it to the canvas, then oil paint on canvas. I only use acrylic for highlighting the street copies. The sized range anywhere from 15 inches to 40 inches square. I work on one piece at a time.
Q: Who currently inspires you the most?
LE: Winston Churchill and the Dalai Llama. I have their birth dates tattooed on my back.