Emily Copeland

Emily CopelandIn what way did your experience at The Department of Visual Arts at Western impact you & your career path?

The art program motivated me to pursue art as a full time career and more over helped me to discover my love for realism. My fourth year professor was one of the people who had a profound impact on my art during my time at Western. I am now a full time professional artist that is managed in New York at one of the most renowned realism galleries in the world.

How have you been contributing to your community following your experience at Western?

This past year I participated in Blank Canvas, at Museum London. It was a show that included local artists both in the beginning and middle of their careers. I am also committed to attending and supporting local art shows, which allows me to stay in touch with the artists and students in the artist community.

Can you think back and share a memorable moment from your time here at Visual Arts?

I think my most memorable moment from Western was the day of my fourth year seminar show. Our class came together that morning to set up our work and had our class critique. We had all become like family to one another, and really pushed each other to grow as artists. It was one full years’ worth of work that went into the show. That was an incredible feeling to see how everyone’s work came together. Our professor had been incredibly supportive the whole year and helped us in the direction to create our best work. It was a proud moment for each and every one of us.

What was the most important thing you learned during your time here?

I think the most important thing I learned at Western wasn’t visual technique, but more the history of why the art world is the way it is. The Art History and Art Criticism courses helped me to understand where ideas started. It taught me the origins of certain techniques and who my inspirations are. These classes gave me the confidence to critique and challenge concepts, and understand all different types of art forms. Without this knowledge, I don’t think anyone could confidently survive in the art world.

What is something you are passionate about? What are you working on right now?

Something that I am really passionate about is “following your heart”. If you find your niche, you need to stick with it regardless of circumstances. People will always try and change you, but you have to be true to yourself. I want to always be different and working in ways that no one else is. I try to draw rare subject matter, and have my audience relate to the objects I choose to draw. I am also extremely passionate about art history. I think it is very important to have the knowledge of where ideas come from and how they have changed through time. Something I am currently working on a pair of life sized elk antlers and have recently completed a Les Paul guitar. I try to experiment with different textures; surface finishes, shapes, and contrasts within each project.

Why do you think a career in the Visual Arts is important / valuable?

I believe we still need art in the world for many reasons. I think it’s important to have self-expression, build mental focus, learn self-discipline, and have something to reduce stress. Artists often bring something new to the table in other career fields. They are creative, can communicate in different ways and think outside the box. They bring beauty and colour into the world. They take risks and have the ability to spark conversation through images. I believe that without art, the world would be uninteresting, repetitive, and dull. Not just visually, but emotionally as well.

What would your hopes be for the next 50 years of Visual Arts at Western?

I hope that within the next 50 years the art department continues to explore and be accepting of both old and new art forms. I believe that old traditional methods are just as important as the exploration of pushing boundaries with new mediums and ideas.