Mandy has spent 39 years perfecting her art.
'My life's journey has honed my art. I’ve been creative since I was about four years old. As a child I loved sketching, expressing myself by dressing up in unusual but distinctive clothes and jewellery, and immersing myself and my imaginary friend in a rich make-believe world of colour and texture. My mother is a beautiful quilter, has always sewn and she made our clothes when we were young.’
This inspired Mandy to seek a career in fashion in New Zealand and then Brisbane until the late 1990s. On returning to the Wairarapa and starting a family, Mandy’s creativity then found its expression in art and she started painting for children. However, Mandy’s connection with clothes has been a constant. ‘I always paint in nice clothes, my family think I’m crazy, but I find if I feel better in myself and I definitely paint better. I’ve been known to change my clothes in the day if my work isn’t flowing as I would like.
Mandy uses a combination of mixed media – acrylic, French stains, dyes, vintage lace and vintage papers, to create her exquisite works of art.
‘My family inspire me a great deal. They have always believed in what I do, can see the happiness I gain from art and are pleased that I am happy doing what I do. I fit my work in and around my life; it is all part of the whole. If I need to paint until 2am to get work done then that’s just the way it is and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Initially, I sold my work at fairs and in a local hall I hired with a group of friends; that got my art noticed. The big breakthrough however came when I first exhibited at the NZ Affordable Art Show in 2005. Without a doubt, what is now the New Zealand Art Show launched me as an established artist.’
When Mandy won the Show’s Signature Piece Art Award, worth $5,000, in 2009 she used the prize money to fund a trip to the 2010 ARTMELBOURNE Show. This proved a further breakthrough and as a result, Mandy is now represented by three Melbourne dealer galleries. As Mandy says, ‘art is the result of my life’s journey; the culmination of so many experiences and influences that have contributed, and continue to shape, my work.’
Mandy Emerson - Short Artist Film