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Mini-Interview with Collage Artist Emily Fest

July 25, 2012
A mini-interview with Emily Fest for her solo show opening Thursday July 26th from 6-9p at The Slingluff Gallery in Philadelphia. She’s the last of 3 shows that celebrates women in the arts who are all based in or around the Philadelphia area. Emily’s work pays homage to the printed picture. Her intention is always to create a scene in which both old and new photos can co-exist on the same plane.Emily Fest - The Slingluff Gallery
Interview by Rose Donahue
Rose Donahue – Where do you find the images you work with? Is there a source you go to first or most often?
Emily Fest – I use a combination of old Nat Geos, used books, and current magazines.  I have this incredible old book titled, “American Heritage,” where I get a lot of my great pics.  It seems to capture the age when the photograph was new and people were experimenting with this new technology.  It’s kind of funny because it has a lot of parallels with people today with new technology.  It ranges from formal photographs of people and their families to more candid shots of children playing, to public hangings and wrecked cars with people posed around them.  I kind of regret not reading the book first before cutting it all up.
Emily Fest - The Slingluff Gallery

RH – Is the contrast between old pictures and modern imagery a driving force in your work? If yes, why? If not, what is?

EF – The difference between old and new images used to be a big theme in my work.  I’ve always loved old black and white photos.  For some reason there is this reverence for colorless photos – maybe because instead of the color you have to focus on the subject or the contrast?  But if you think about it the people or the things or the landscapes aren’t any more beautiful.  I suppose they just feel foreign, and therefore, more interesting.
I am starting to do more colorful work than previously, which is exciting. I feel a little more comfortable with the medium–I am not as dependent on leaving every image whole.
Emily Fest - The Slingluff Gallery

RH – Do you find that publications are an art form in themselves since modern technology has started to dominate communication?

EF – I think that’s a loaded question 🙂 Certainly hand-made books are an art form; however I’m not so sure about mass-produced books.  People who resist getting an e-readers talk about the smell of a book and its feel in their hands so I suppose there is something about them that people miss.
Couple by Emily Fest - The Slingluff Gallery

RH –  What do you personally find most gratifying about your work?

EF – I really enjoy seeing the finished product.  It’s all kind of like a puzzle that I’ve solved when it’s done.  It’s also gratifying because I have to work within the confines of the media: there is only one image and no do-overs!  However, some of my best mistakes have yielded my best work.  But I’m certain that all artists have come to know this secret gem of art making.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Gauss permalink
    July 25, 2012 11:24 AM

    So proud of you big sis!

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  1. Hope to See Everyone Tonight: Slingluff Gallery 6-9pm « emilyfest

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