Emily May, aka Decadent West, is a Texas-based screen printer. Her work often involves textiles, and subverts the familiarly feminine into something sharp. Emily’s work is defined by her repeated use of imagery including a rotating collection of nudes, diamonds, self portraits, beer cans, mouths, hands, patterns, and charismatic mega-flora. Also a writer, her work frequently centres around the use of bold text.
A lifelong painter and collagist, Emily studied Environmental Ethics at the University of Vermont. Upon graduation, she realised that making art was her true calling, and in order to expand her skills and increase opportunities to make her art widely available, she pursued screen printing at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. She describes; “I fell in love with the process and results immediately; I love the fast pace and opportunity for layer-building it provides“.
For the last decade, Emily has been experimenting with images and pattern-making, building an ever-expanding and evolving language of specific Decadent West iconography. “I rarely enter the studio with a set plan; the result is a product of letting my mind build upon what I’ve been consuming, whether it’s Walt Whitman or Robyn” states the printmaker.
Emily is constantly challenging herself to tighten up her designs, and advance her knowledge of colour theory. As a screen printer, Andy Warhol was one her first major influences, and she continues to be inspired by Jenny Holzer and Diane Krueger’s use of bold text, as well as the imagery of Pamela Phatismo Sunstrum and Laura Owens.
She concludes; “I aim to create images that invite the viewer to look twice: a very soft, feminine veneer rooted in strength and power“.
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October 16, 2020 at 06:56AM