Emily Dimov-Gottshall is the imaginative artist behind the
Altoona, Pennsylvania based
How would you describe your work?
I enjoy working in a variety of different art mediums...from acrylic to watercolor, collage to fabric and clay. At times, these over lap each other and other times, I have fun exploring the medium by itself. My work usually involves a bit of magic, some elements found in nature and overall inspired by life.
When I create a new piece using watercolors in the ACEO form, I am limited by the size of the piece (2.5 by 3.5 inches). However, this is what makes the piece exciting for me and I hope for the collector. I try to give each piece some sort of emotional connection...whether it's humor, sorrow or joy. Once I know what I'm trying to convey, I can jot down a sketch or to freehand a piece.
When I work with paper clay, I often freehand my pieces. My sculptures are rarely drawn down...unless to solve some physical challenge of the pieces. My Sammie Crow piece was a challenge as it is top heavy and is supported by wooden legs on a wooden platform. I figured out by adding wire into the wooden legs, I could attach it to the wooden platform and they would balance each other.
I also work with wood carving and for these I do sketch out my ideas. With wood, there is this intense time period where you are investing a lot of your physical energy into giving the wood dimension and form. I compare it to animation in some ways...you don't want your story to be cheap or too simple if your going to be putting so much artistry into your work. So, you do give it a lot of thought and time. And yes, it does make it harder to give your work to the world. You want to keep them all. lol
How long have you been creating Halloween themed art?
I started around 2006 or earlier. I sort of stumbled into it, actually. I really love Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas and thought, wow! There is a whole other world of magical realism! I love magical realism.
I also love the Day of the Dead. When I lived in Los Angeles, we were very lucky to have a strong connection to the Day of the Dead. I loved these cultural events as they are unique to what I celebrated in my family but am still very connected to these days. Who hasn't lost a loved one? It's this remembering of those who have left us, I find so poignant in Halloween and Day of the Dead art.
I also like how there is this overall acceptance of Women in Halloween art. For me, I see it as a celebration of Women who were often on the fringe of society and labeled a witch. I tend to see them as some of the first doctors/caretakers and hope I celebrate a little of this in my work. My work is often a gentler view of Halloween. :)
What do you consider your greatest creative challenge?
My greatest challenge is time. I have 3 children and a house full of pets and yes, time is very important. I carve time out by getting up early, limiting TV watching and have found it's getting easier as the children grow. Oddly, the children do help to keep me inspired. I probably wouldn't do as much art if I didn't have them in my life. They keep me balanced and focused.
Creatively, I find it challenging to get fresh ideas. This is why I have piles of books by artists and art I admire. Gustav Klimt, American Abstract Art collection, Beatrix Potter, etc. all of these, help me when I need inspiration. When I feel as though I'm tapped out, I reach for a book and within an hour, I feel as though I can start a new series of painting.
What do you like most about being a member of EHAG?
I enjoy the camaraderie and the support. The group has been great to push you in directions you wouldn't have thought of. I like how they get you excited about doing something new in Halloween art.
What was your favorite childhood costume, and why?
I probably had 2 favorites. Wonder Woman and a Gypsy woman. Wonder Woman was a store bought plastic costume that was totally uncomfortable (imagine Halloween in Southern California...hot!). But I loved the mask and being someone who could save people and was a strong woman. The Gypsy woman was a favorite because my aunt put lipstick on me and my sister and this seemed so wow to me!
Do you have any favorite Halloween Traditions?
Besides trick or treating and watching "Nightmare before Christmas", I love decorating the house up. I usually have the fireplace covered in a little Halloween town theme with lights and all. I enjoy making a little magic happen in the house and outside. Since we are geared towards the little ones, candy is a big part of it all. I'm okay with that. lol
Where do you find your inspiration?
Besides films like Nightmare before Christmas or the books on Klimt, I like Edward Gory's style and Hayao Miyazaki. When I saw Princess Mononoke in 1999 or 2000, I was like what is this incredible world? I was hooked, heart and soul. Then, I saw Spirited Away and Kiki's Delivery service (not in that order) and each time, I'm blown away by the depth and imagination of Miyazaki. I find his work has a way of capturing those details people often rush by and this is what makes his work so strong to me.
What are your artistic plans for the future?
I have been working on a novel...it's illustrated (hence the time factor). I want to make this available on Amazon. My other goals are to send out more to magazines for submissions, get an art agent and keep creating. I would like to see my work in stores some day. :) I guess that's a common goal of artists, but it's worth aiming for.
I was recently accepted into a juried artshow. It is one of my abstract art pieces. This is the 3rd show I've had work accepted through the juried process.
I also have work shown at "Art 4 Gallery", in Hollidaysburg PA. They just opened their own on-line shop! I'm also selling my work at my Etsy shop and plan to keep adding new work there.
This year I will be doing my "Art Yard Sale". I usually talk about it on my art blog for the local newspaper. Basically, I set up some tables in my yard and sell art. :) It's a nice way to met people, share my art and website and hear what people have to say. We are aiming for the first weekend in August. Last year was great as my first time selling and doing my Art Sale. It helps having a very supportive husband/partner who encourages me.
"Open the Vault" - tell us a secret that not many people know about you.
I am inspired by the Muppets and wanted to be a puppeteer. When I had my 7th birthday, my mom took us to see the Muppet Movie. I thought this was the best thing in the world. :) I wanted to make puppets (and have made quite a few) and if I could have connected to people who did this, I would be one right now. I love this art form and will always have a soft/fuzzy spot for puppet artists.
How do you balance your personal/professional life?
Often, I'll have the dining room table covered with paints and art supplies which makes eating dinner a challenge. I also have an art table in the dining room, which sort of helps. lol I have a studio in the basement, and have more tables set up with projects I'm in-progress on.
During the summer it's a little more difficult with the kids being under foot, however, they are used to finding paint brushes in the kitchen sink. Usually, it's not too chaotic...only when I'm planning to bring things to the gallery or having a show.
What shows if any will you be participating in this year/next year?
I will be participating in "Artists in our Midst" at SAMA (Southern Alleghany Art Museum) in September.
I will be having an Art Yard Sale on August 6th.
You can find my work at Art 4 Gallery in Hollidaysburg PA, www.art4gallery.com.