Emma Morgan: Illustrator: Melbourne

I think the art life chooses you (like the wand chooses the wizard) – it’s kind of a curse (but also a blessing)

Emma Morgan is an illustrator and illustrator who was designed in England, 1991. After moving to Melbourne, Australia with her parents at a very young age. Emma completed a Visual Arts degree at Monash University in 2012, where she spent most of her time obsessively studying figure painting, anatomical drawing, minimalist architecture, and red wine. Emma also briefly studied Interior Design at RMIT University. Emma is passionate about the social context of animals, predators, and anthropomorphic figures. She strives to use her art powers to help wildlife and other conservation efforts. AR hung out with Emma in her creative space…

Name: Emma Morgan
Occupation: Artist/Designer/Scribbler
Hometown: Mornington, VIC
Current Location: The Studio

When I was a kid I wanted to be… a cat, a princess or a paleontologist (Baby Emma was well into prehistoric sea monsters). (I don’t know either). (Feel like I’ve let baby Emma down)

My earliest, fondest memory is… riding horses! And wearing my snow white dress to the supermarket.

The studies I took to get where I am… I did a Visual Arts degree at Monash University, and then briefly did Interior Design and Styling at RMIT. I’m proud to say, that I was taught by some of the best.

Before this phase of my career/life I was… always in this ‘phase’ to be honest, it just became more prevalent over time. I think the art life chooses you (like the wand chooses the wizard) – it’s kind of a curse (but also a blessing). (Mostly a curse). I really would have liked to have been a musician though (I guess there’s still time!) – I’ve played lots of instruments my whole life. I still love messing with my guitars and little synthesizers every now and then for fun.

I’m most creative when… I’m having a bit of a tantrum. I’ve found that I like to draw rhinoceros when I’m feeling off, for some reason. I have a whole collection of them… (We now call them ‘Emma’s Tantrum Rhinos’). Wine does help the pen flow too.

The tools I can’t live without… My hands… and any device that can play good music for me.

I’m inspired by… people who are just super passionate about something. I also really like it when I hear a song or see something that blows my mind so much that it makes me want to immediately go and make something. That, or the Space Jam soundtrack.

I’m currently reading… ‘The Gold Finch’ by Donna Tartt

The website I hang out on the most… I spend a lot of time on youtube watching important videos (for example, people who draw eyebrows on their dogs)

I’m currently listening to… The Smiths

The last film I watched was… I can’t even remember? I did just recently finish binge-watching ‘Stranger Things’ though, like everybody else.

Travel is… completely necessary. I’ve done it my entire life.

My travel essentials are… A valid passport, an open mind and good company.

One thing I would like to do but haven’t got around to it yet… An African safari!

The challenges of doing what I do… is trying to find a balance between producing commercial work and then also creating the work that you really want to make – but I think most creative’s can struggle with this.

The highlights over the past 12 months have been… Getting a studio space in Commonfolk – feel so lucky to work alongside Sarah + Kate, we’re like a little family! I am going to volunteer with Elephants in Northern Thailand in a few weeks from now, and I expect that will be a life highlight.

Advice to share to those who want to follow in my footsteps… Find something you’re totally obsessive about and just follow it, no matter what it is or where it takes you – don’t worry about what other people think too much. As practical advice though, if you want to start any career in the arts, I really encourage you to go and study it if you can. Learning from others and meeting like-minded individuals is so important when you’re starting out – it’ll really help you find your own ground too. The quality of your work will also be loads better.
Other than that, always work with integrity. Learn to be resilient and persistent. Don’t do things because it’s trendy either – it won’t work for you in the long run, trust me! Just be yourself (super lame but for real) people will respect you way more for it.

Do What You Want… and always be kind to animals

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Photography: Tom Terlaak