Fun art has been on my mind for a while, actually since I was about 10 years old. All I wanted to do was to draw sunshines and smiley faced flowers, filling my pages with happiness. Unfortunately, I received the message from the world that while what I was doing was fine, if I wanted to be a “real artist”, I would need to be able to do more - learn the basics, practice shading, etc. Art became more of a way of getting approval and ultimately led to perfectionism. Fast forward to today and I now know that anything you create with God is a way of communicating with Him, a kind of fellowship where smiley faces ARE enough! I think that is one of the many reasons I just LOVE Emily Little, and wanted to share some of her beautiful heart and fantastic work!
I first met Emily at a local art show over 10 years ago and right away I was drawn to her booth. It could have been the vibrant colors and whimsical birds in cages, or the layers of texture and pattern covering each square inch of her work. However, I think it was Emily herself (and her adorable husband), grinning from ear to ear, excited to meet me, that won me over. She was humble, genuine and exuded joy. It was the same with her art, and I watched as it made everyone happy as they bought piece after piece. They were thrilled to have just a little part of that warmth and fun.
I recently spent some time with Emily and talked with her about all of this - how inspirational she has always been to me, and where it all started! Here is a little background. (no pun intended)
Emily was always creating something from an early age and would have loved to go to an art school, however she was encouraged to be more practical and have a degree that promised a more predictable future. She ended up teaching English - tutoring and helping struggling students, eventually in charge of that tutoring group. All the while she was keeping a small antique booth with creative treasures feeding her artistic side. Emily started to realize that the stress of a more managerial position was in fact very, very heavy. Always willing to learn, she took her very first art class with a group of friends. It was a community art class at USN, where she was encouraged to just create and to use what she had! There were no mistakes, and it was very freeing. Kudos to this art teacher!
She started painting; people encouraged her; she sold her work and her art career was born! In 2010, Emily started doing art shows and as her popularity grew, she was recruited by Creative Coop for a licensing deal. Her studio is the heart of her home, where she loves to hang out with her family while she paints. Emily’s story resonates with all of us and I can absolutely see God working through her. She makes fun art joyful. This happy feeling is how I feel when I am co-creating with God whether it is fun art or fine art. She is energetic and passionate, yet humble and grateful, and her art just makes you smile. The biggest compliment you can give her is for her to hear her art made you happy.
You can find Emily’s work commercially produced all over the nation through Creative Coop, as well as originals at Hot Pink in Brentwood, the Back Porch Mercantile in Knoxville, The Blue Giraffe in 30A, and of course on her website and in her studio here in Middle TN. If you are in the area, check out her open house Dec. 2nd and 3rd. Follow Emily at @littleestudio on instagram or at www.littleestudio.com for more info!