Meet Emily Lynn Perelman, a Boston based illustrator and designer making sense of the world through her art, and taking inspiration from everyday shapes and sights.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
I’m currently a full time student so my days are usually spent going to class (virtually!), doing readings, and writing papers. Getting outside is really important to me too, whether it be taking a walk or doing some yoga in the park. I’ve been loving sipping on some Sweet Reason after I’m all done with my responsibilities for the day. It helps me decompress and take everything in.
What's your greatest source of inspiration?
There’s probably not one thing that brings me the most inspiration but the concepts in my work are often motivated by the desire to create something surreal and otherworldly. I try to achieve that in a variety of ways: through color, form, or familiar imagery. In that sense, my “greatest inspiration” is probably the little sights and feelings I experience in my day to day. Things reorganizing my room in a new way or trying a new kind of meal.
How did you get into your medium of choice?
I’ve always been excited by all kinds of mediums, and definitely still am, but I think I fell into digital because of how accessible it was. After getting a hand-me-down Ipad I knew I wanted to try tablet drawing, and the fact that I could do it literally anywhere, let me build my own digital drawing language. While digital is my medium of choice, I think it’s so important to play around with other kinds of mediums to see how they can inform your overall process. I recently started doing some relief printmaking and it’s such a tactile process that drives me to think more about the digital elements of my work.
Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so, How do you get out of it?
All the time!! Particularly now with lots of school work and not a lot of places to escape to. I don’t think I have a one-stop cure for creative ruts but my biggest piece of advice would be to not fight it. When I’m not feeling like drawing, and I try to force myself, it usually ends with me feeling frustrated. Try to get out of your bubble and see where you can find some non-traditional inspiration.
What does Sweet Reason lend to your practice?
Sweet Reason lends itself to my state of mind more than anything else. It gives me a little bit of needed relaxation so I can stop and ask myself, “What am I doing right now versus what should I be doing for myself?”. In that sense, it really adds an element of self care and mindfulness to my practice.
How do you find your wellness, state of mind shapes your work?
Creativity is definitely more accessible to me when I’m in a good state of mind. I don’t think that necessarily means not feeling busy or overwhelmed, because I’ve made some of my best work when I’ve had 100 other things to do. It’s just that, when things are in perspective I’m able to appreciate the pure joy of what I’m doing. I guess it’s about taking pleasure in the little things, and Sweet Reason definitely lends itself to that.
What is something new or interesting that you’re doing for your health or wellness these days?
I’m thinking a lot more about mindfulness these days and trying to incorporate some mindful practices into my days. When I can, I love to get outside and do some Yoga. But, I really think it can be as simple
Specific color palettes seem to inspire your work. How do you find these and what is it about these colors that inspire you?
I’ve always loved bright colors and contrast. Finding color palettes is really just a lot of trial and error. Often, I’ll get obsessed with a particular color palette and literally ONLY work in those colors for a couple weeks before I decide I need a change.
How does screen time vs non screen time impact your work and process?
A lot of my work happens on the screen, as I create using a tablet, so it’s important to make a distinction between “good” and “bad” screen time. If I want to not be constantly checking my phone or laptop I have to make a concerted effort to put those things far away from me or in another room. When I do this, creating is definitely more rewarding and more visceral.
What does your creative process look like?
Once I have an initial idea, I’ll usually start out with some rough sketches for directions it could go in. A lot of times, I’ll let that sketch marinate for a couple hours or even days before I fully flesh it out.
How do you stay focused?
I’ve found that I can’t work on one thing for too long. If I have a couple of things to do, I’ll work on one for 30 minutes, take a break, change location, and then work on something else. Even then, focusing has been a big challenge during quarantine so I try to let myself have as many breaks as I need.
What is the role of art in your life?
I seriously think art is a kind of expression that can’t really be translated by any format of language we currently have. To me, it’s a combination of feeling, experience, and living. The fact that it can be explained in so many different ways, or not at all, is representative of the fact that there’s more to our lives than standard ways of thinking and acting. Art is really grounding in that way. It helps you look past the muddle of everyday life and think, “Wow, okay I have this inside me so what else is there?”
Who is your favorite artist?
I’ve always been so inspired by Amber Vittoria and the way she rethinks the female form. She has this visual language that’s so exciting.
What does unwinding mean to you, or how do you unwind?
For me, unwinding means recognizing when I need a break, taking that break, and having no expectations for that break. Even if that means scrolling through social media for 20 minutes I try to not let myself feel guilty about it.
What does success mean to you?
I’ve been trying to detach my definition of success from the traditional view of money and accomplishment. I’d like to think my greatest success will be when I reach a point of contentness with who I am, regardless of what I have and don’t have at that point.
What's your current obsession?
I’ve been getting really into finding new music and creating new playlists lately. Usually, I’m the kind of person to listen to the same 15 songs on repeat for months, but I’ve been finding a lot of value and creating soundtracks for different moods. It helps me distinguish between the different elements of the day when I’m mostly stuck inside.
Has social media impacted the way you create?
Social media is a HUGE positive and negative influence on my work. There’s so much amazing inspiration out there, but at the same time, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else.
Brand you love?
Life hack of all life hacks?
Make yourself breakfast everyday
Most played song right now?
Hello Hello Hello by Remi Wolf
Favorite current read?
The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
If you could grab lunch with one person, who would it be?
My grandma who I was never able to meet