December 8, 2023

Artist Interview – Emilee Lord


Photo of the artist by Howard Romero

Name: Emilee Lord
Location: Santa Fe New Mexico

Brief artists statement:
Multiples: The repetition creates a flock. Aesthetically I prefer things that are broken, smudged, burned, torn, empty, forgotten, mislaid or sorry. These objects carry their own weight, but like a thread into a tapestry or a word into a novel when repeated they gain greater meaning and greater experience. The singular sorry thing is given power by virtue of it being among a multitude and yet flirts with a sense of absurdity and further misplacement.

Form: Abstracted landscape and the architecture of ruins combined with reference to gesture, momentum, timing and sound quality create a surface caught in silence – perhaps of both beauty and pain.

Language: I spend a lot of time reading. I read for the words, their rhythm and the way they work together. In the dictionary with words and the web created by their definitions, their synonyms etc. I find help when talking about my work. Also, perhaps more so, it is the place the work comes from. The work is referential but non representational and words, their meanings, the way we use them and what they contain become the objects whose portrait I’m drawing.

The repetition creates a flock.

How did you become an artist? Did you always dream of a life in the art-world?
I was a budding musician and dancer and somehow knew I would always be involved in a creative process but didn’t know how exactly. In undergrad I realized that what I loved about visual art was that it could exist in the world separate from me; in it’s own skeleton and skin. This ability to place things in the world that did not rely on time or my presence was curious and compelling, and essentially what lead me into visual arts.

How has your education helped your career?
I needed the time and the perimeters within which to explore different mediums and myself as a maker. Having these tools from undergrad allowed me to get specific with my study in grad school. School provided a place for me to delve into what I was doing, learning everything about it and I could be surrounded by like minded students, faculty and guests of incredible stature and inspiration. What art school does not do well is teach the artist how to be a business person, and a salesman. Those things I have had to gather after the fact.

Do you work as an artist full-time? Describe your typical day. Do you have a routine?
I work odd jobs and the rest of my time is devoted to my studio. I don’t have a routine but I have rules: mainly time limits for computer use so I can’t get too distracted for too long. I do administrative work first thing in the morning, then get into a project. Some days I end up staring at the ceiling. I count this as part of my studio practice – it can be productive, thinking space – the sorting of information and ideas.

Emilee Lords work

Do you use social networks? if so, how and which ones do you find most useful?
I use Facebook and Twitter, both of which I think are great for advertising shows and getting feedback. I’ve also learned about a lot of shows and opportunities from these networks.

Which artist should we all look up immediately? What art magazines, blogs or sites should art lovers be looking at?
I just stumbled across Colossal. It is serious eye candy.


Look up the show The Language of Less, Then and Now – Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Awesome show, great work, new and old.

Which historical and contemporary artists do you refer to most often? How are you influenced by their work?

Inspiration for my work comes from applied artists such as Brice Marden, Fred Sandback, Sol Lewitt, Naum Gabo, Franz Kline, Tapies and Burri, Louis Nevelson, as well as performing artists and composers such as Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Eleanor Antin, Butoh dancers and Yvonne Rainer.What are the other influences on your work?Linguistics, notation (calligraphy, dance, music), birds on telephone wires, horizons, fields, industrial wastelands, ruin, architecture, words, monotony and pain.

What was the last exhibition you visited?

Saturday Studio Walking Tour through Oakland, CA. What is your favourite art gallery?In Santa Fe? Charlotte Jackson Contemporary or the James Kelly.

What are your experiences of the ‘art-world’ and the business of art?

I think the ‘art-world’ can be pretentious and withholding. The trick is to live on the line between confident and arrogant, remain sensitive and have a sense of humor. That being said the ‘art-world’ is also vibrant, important and real; the place where more than any other, the national and international pulse is being taken, where our vitals are checked and most likely renewed, where the truth is more likely to be told and I feel honored to be involved. There is so much to look at and experience, I think I’m always falling behind but it’s a fun challenge to stay informed.My experience has also been to not take criticism or rejection personally. I have to make of myself two people, one that is internal, eccentric and a maker, the other that is external, poised and a business woman. I joke that I work two full time jobs.

Do you have any tips or advice you wish you had known earlier in your career?

It’s still early, but I wish I had photos of the work I made in undergrad.

Do you have a quotation that you keep coming back to and that keeps you going?Have you a motto that gets you through?

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend out lives.” – Annie Dillard.”We must be intoxicated by ritual as well as result.” – Patti Smith.

Motto: Tell the Truth. Seduce the Material. Trust your Hands.

Which historical artist do you think is over-rated? Why?

I can’t think of one I feel is over-rated but there are a lot that are over-mentioned/referenced. For example, while I love and admire her work, I think every time anyone makes anything with a horizontal line or grid Agnes Martin gets mentioned right away. Now, she did this really really well, but think of the myriad of artists working in this realm. Martin might not always be the appropriate reference.Do you or would you use assistants to make your work?I wouldn’t need them, but I use dancers all the time – more of a collaboration between my vision and their bodies expression then having assistants.

Finish this limerick: There once was an artist from…
There once was an artist from Maine
who loved fog but thought cold equaled pain
so she moved to the southwest
where she sits in the sun
and laments the lack of good rain.


1 Comment on Artist Interview – Emilee Lord

  1. Nice interview. Among the interesting things about the personal art expression, it shows unfortunately, the lack of a consistent system which guarantee an economical support to the artist who, despite the common sense, has to be involved into the art research for more than a usual full time job.
    At the end, the odd jobs are quite normal among artists, and this could represent a symptom of the contemporary conception of the visual arts:
    not as a real decent activity, but as a passion to cultivate after a “real” employment.
    I hope that my personal not optimistic point of view is just a matter of circumstances, and I sincerely wish that many other artists can focus on their artistic search without engaging their time into unproductive odds.

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