The Ordinary People: The Beauty of Nature with Emma Chong
On a Friday morning, Emma (@lunabyemma) invited us to one of her most special showings yet –and it was no simple walk-in-the-park. Armed with a wooden easel, heavy canvas and paints, she stepped into a natural clearing past the bridge, surrounded by weeping willow trees.
And then, she started to paint, inspired by the water lilies, the way gentle breeze rustled the leaves, and the grass beneath her feet.
Emma Chong is an illustrator who turns towards many things – the soft drops of rain on a window pane, the sound your coffee cup makes as it’s set down, and the trailing of the sun on her skin. “What I create helps me navigate through the more intimate parts of my existence”, she shares with a warm smile.
Emma wears the Guardian Necklace
What sparked an within you for interest and love for art?
My interest for art and specifically drawn images started from a very young age when I was first exposed to children’s books, specifically Grimm’s and Anderson’s folks and fairytales, with beautifully illustrated pictures. My interest was further cultivated during my fine art studies and ever since then it has been an ever growing and evolving interest for visual arts, specifically visual art forms that explored with materials.
What is something that art has given you?
Art has given me a purpose.
I learn to be more attentive to my experiences in general, to embrace the many aspects of woman experiences, be it the good and the bad, the happiness and pain and turn them into something else- art/ illustration or anything of that matter.
What motivates you to start a new piece each time/each day?
My motivation to create often comes from my desire to communicate with my audience and my determination for growth. Specifically, solving technical issues with each practice (printmaking) and seeing the result improves is what keeps me going.
A good idea doesn’t happen overnight, I need to actively explore my surroundings, watch a movie, read a piece of article and digging into my journal and sketches to find traces of notes that I have made. Because not every idea turns into a masterpiece – most of the time they are documented in the form of scribbles on my sketch book, still life drawings, digital collages or digital drawings.
Have you ever faced creative block – and how do you usually overcome it?
Yes, in fact, it happens often when I am most critical of myself, and especially at times when I didn’t deliver a certain results according to plan, which often leads to a cycle of procrastination and self doubts.
I have noticed that when that happens, it's really hard to overcome it just by reading some encouraging quotes... obviously checking out what others are doing on Instagram would backfire on me.
Emma wears the Eternity earrings
Instead of doing nothing, I would go back to the basics: going for a run, and the fundamental practice, buying a bunch of fresh flowers from the nursery and arrange them in style, practice still-life drawing, explore with new materials and flipping my collections of art books. Doing these actually help to release my anxieties and aid in rewiring my thoughts, in the process I would always feel refreshed and reinvigorated, and I would be able to start the creative process again.
What does a typical day in the life look for you? How do you prepare your mind for the work you’re embarking on?
A typical day starts from waking up next to my three-year-old son and feeling like a great mom! :D
I'll play with him briefly, prepare him for the day and bring him to school. Then I will make my way to the studio. Studio routine starts with a prayer, watering the plants, turn on my favourite music and I am ready to work. Nothing preps my mind better than talking to God.
Emma wears the Hua Earrings
What are your upcoming plans for personal and business growth this New Year?
2023 is a year of further exploration for me.
I have plan to complete a series of online painting classes that I have started earlier on, it should be available online before the second quarter of the year, meanwhile I look forward to collaborate with a few local brands and showcase more of my illustrations.
On the other hand, through my personal experimental works, I have been motivated to begin a deeper inquiry with the methodologies of contemporary art-making and I am looking forward to beginning my BA studies in October which I would be exploring themes of woman experiences in general, motherhood, the relationships between botanical imagery and femininity, these are things that are close to my heart and I have shown interests in down through the years in my art pratises. Besides continuing my printmaking practices, I am also going to explore other multidisciplinary methods that are new to me.
Emma wears the Change of Winds Earrings
What part of nature inspires you the most – what is the best part of Spring to you?
Nature is full of fascinating surprises and wonders. I am sure I have yet to see all of its beauty.
If I have to only mention one, I would say green forests. I love seeing wild flowers, shrubs, tiny plants, shrooms and fruits growing and coming to its own, and I love how the trees have provided shadings for these tiny flora and fauna. Green forest is the heart of the earth where life and mystery dwells. The best part of Spring to me is definitely the increase length of daytime and the awakening of nature.
When one talks about Spring, Sandro Botticelli’s painting Primavera comes to my mind.
The nine mythological figures beautifully painted in their gentle draperies, myriads of plant species and the abundance of flowers and fruits blossomed, suggesting the beauty of Spring lies in fertility and metamorphosis.”
As the morning turns to afternoon, Emma sets her brush down. She pauses to look at her work. The jewelry she wears – the Eternity bracelet and Bamboo ring from our collection – glides up and down her hands as she sorts through paints, picking out specific colours to commemorate, to capture specific moments. Closes her eyes as the wind welcomes her, guiding her towards the next stroke.
“My craft centres me, and forges a path for me to leave a small little notch in the vast world we wander.”
Explore Emma's collection for the Lunar New Year here