Oil Painting by Emma Hapner

My name is Emma Hapner, and I am currently studying at the New York Academy of Art to receive my Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. I am originally from Indiana, and received my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Ball State University. I work primarily in oil paint on canvas to create figurative works from a female perspective.

I am reassessing classical painting through the lens of the contemporary female experience, focusing on the complexity of these women and self-expression through materialism. My paintings focus on women and their experiences, while appreciating beauty and femininity, from the viewpoint of a woman. I want to explore the relationship between portraits of women and the viewer, and break away from the voyeuristic idealism that has been used to depict women throughout history. By making images of women, I want to show the viewer their complex identities, feelings, and experiences.  


Oil Painting by Emma Hapner

When did you first begin creating art?

I feel like I've always been creating, my earliest memories of art were of using one of those step-by-step drawing books to draw a ballerina.

When did you first consider yourself to be an artist?

I feel like the first time I really felt like I could use the term "artist" was when I did my thesis show for undergrad. Seeing everything I had worked so hard on, up in a nice gallery space, and people visiting was really encouraging for me.

Who or what influences your practice?

My family has always had a huge impact on my work. Most of my first paintings were of my sisters, Sarah, Molly, and Claire, who were always willing to pose for me. My parents were also always so encouraging, and without their positive influence, I wouldn't have been able to pursue my passion.

Tell us about a specific moment in your career that you would consider a turning point.

A key point in my career was moving to New York City! I came here for grad school at the New York Academy of Art, and it was the first time I felt truly committed to pursuing an art career. Being surrounded by so many other artists has been such an important experience for me.

Where would you like to see your artwork go in the future?

I really hope to continue to make art about women, femininity, and all of the experiences that surround that. I want to keep making paintings about it until I have a large body of work that really tells a story.

Oil Painting by Emma Hapner
Portrait of Emma Hapner