Emily Pope (b. 1993, Canada) is a painter living and working in Toronto, Canada. Her work explores the pairing of her body with symbolic elements and settings to amplify her experiences of womanhood. Pope's paintings aim to provide clarity and coherence to the intangible experiences of the human condition, presenting an inward life of daydreams on canvas. By centering herself as the figure in her art, Pope engages in a process of self-exploration and self-expression that creates a deeply personal body of work.

The recurring motif of glass and transparency in Pope's paintings serves as a poignant reminder of the transient nature of life and the inherent fragility of our existence. Through the interplay of glass with other tender objects such as skin, draping, and pearls, Pope amplifies the vulnerabilities and sensitivities that permeate holistically. Her use of gloves serves as a direct metaphor for the act and choice of when or what to conceal, emphasizing how Pope's works are all self-portraits.

Pope's somber color palette creates a sense of meditative and thought-provoking harmony and balance, encouraging viewers to contemplate the complex and often conflicting emotions inherent in the human experience. Her work promotes introspection and reflection, with the paintings themselves serving as a means of connecting with the viewer.

Original Art by Emily Pope

When did you realize you wanted to pursue art professionally?

I've always known that I was an artist, so the question for me was really a matter of when and how I could transition it into my full-time financial pursuit as well. Throughout my life, I've harbored a profound passion for painting and the avenue it provides for self-expression. Even as I explored various other creative fields in my previous jobs, the more I honed my skills and discovered my unique artistic voice, the more apparent it became that my true calling lay in dedicating my life to the profession of painting. It's been a natural evolution of my artistic journey, a journey I've eagerly embraced.

Whether fellow artist or friend, who has continued to inspire your work?

I tend to work in relative isolation, and when it comes to the inspiration behind my work, it is primarily self-referential. However, my creative journey is deeply influenced by the women who have come before me. One such source of inspiration is Sylvia Plath. When I immerse myself in her writings and journals, I am profoundly moved by the connection I feel to the emotions and sentiments she so eloquently expresses. It's a connection that resonates deeply within me and fuels my motivation to create art that evokes similar emotions and connections for women of today and future generations. I aspire to capture and convey these timeless and recurring feelings in my work, instilling a sense of comfort, understanding, and tenderness in those who, like the women before me, have felt deeply.

Original Art by Emily Pope

What do you enjoy exploring through your art?

Through my art, I take pleasure in exploring the intricate relationship between my body and the world around me. I am deeply fascinated by delving into the complexities of womanhood and my experiences and emotions that accompany it. For me, the act of creation is profoundly significant, allowing me to exist within the flow of time and ultimately leaving a tangible memento by the work's end.

Looking back, what advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

I would emphasize the importance of trusting in my unique voice and not being afraid to take risks. Your gut instincts rarely steer you wrong, and it's a lesson I find myself reinforcing even today, it's like training a muscle. I would also encourage my younger self to remain steadfast in pursuing my own artistic vision, resisting the pull of external pressures and the 'what-ifs,' and instead, to maintain unwavering focus on the work at hand.

What is one thing you hope your audience walks away with after experiencing/viewing your work?

I hope my art leaves my audience feeling a little less alone. I want it to resonate personally, inspiring introspection and fostering empathy for oneself. If my work can evoke emotions and spark meaningful connections across time, then I consider it a success.

Emily Pope
Emily Pope