Check out an interview with Emma Hunsinger, a Senior at Wake Forest who designed our logo.
What is your Major/Minor?
I’m double majoring in Communications and Studio Art and I have enough minors to get an Art History minor but not total hours—Hey Mo! We’re doing an interview! Will you still be here in ten minutes?—
Okay what’s your medium of choice?
My medium choice is really simple—it’s usually just Sharpie on white plain paper. Cheap paper.
Do you have a favorite artist?
Shoot, um, what’s his name—Egon Schiele is my favorite artist.
I love how he distorts the body and sparsely uses color. But I do not emulate Egon Schiele
Do you have any other sources of inspiration for your Sharpie on paper works or your crazy figures?
Nothing really informs it but I can explain it. I tend to think of myself as a silly person; there are people who are really serious and people who are analytical and I think of myself as just something—I don’t want to say absurd, that sounds like I’m painting myself and I want to be this wild thinker! But, silly is the perfect word for it—it’s just very basic and nonsensical. Nothing grand or genius. Sharpie on paper evokes cartoonish things and that’s what cartoonish things are.
Okay, so like you just said, you’re a silly person and I know you’re in the Lilting Banshees, how does your interest in comedy directly influence your work? Does it affect the content?
I think comedy is a great communicator, it can reveal a lot. It’s a lighthearted way to bring up difficult issues. Sometimes you can use humor in a great manner—we just looked at Kara Walker’s piece in class and she used humor in a very dark way and it was very powerful. We get in trouble all the time for Banshees with the posters that we put out because people read into it and get upset—but that’s what art is supposed to do, it’s supposed to make you think. Humor and art pack a punch.
Did you mean to stir people up with your most recent posters in START?
Yeah, I did those in junior year figure drawing class, Spring 2012. I think a lot about counterculture—I think a lot about society and about how it progresses and how we can totally dismantle that. What if somebody were to push the whole ideal—to push absurdist propaganda? To encourage suicide, to give up hope, to do the arbitrary—nobody would ever do that! Everyone has specific aspirations.
Were you thinking of Wake Forest in particular, the fact that we’re in this bubble?
The environment definitely influenced the posters—one of the signs said, “Don’t be sorry”—and where that comes from, from say, you’re sitting in class and you take someone’s chair and they get up to get a drink of water and you sit down and they come back and say, “ I’m really sorry but you took my seat”—you shouldn’t apologize for someone wronging you! We do these things that we don’t realize—they don’t make sense.
Tell me about your doodles in class.
I have self-diagnosed myself with severe ADD, I tell people it’s terminal ADD—like it’s going to kill me. I constantly doodle. It’s not sidetracked though—it goes along with everything. In class, I doodle about what we talk about. Oh, this one is Fred Wilson—pictures of slaves, mutilated bodies…it comes from our conversations…
So it’s a pictorial note-taking process?
Yeah, this one’s from today, we were talking about Stan Douglas and colonization.
Awesome. So what plans do you have after Wake?
Of course I have lofty plans. I mean, how cool would it be to become an artist? But there are much more tangible goals. I think it’d be really cool to work in a museum, to do some art education. But I know the art world is really fickle—but you can work it to your advantage. Andy Warhol worked in an advertising firm and he was a clever guy. Art can manifest itself in the consumer culture and I would not mind exploiting it for those reasons. I don’t know what I’ll do after school really specifically. But I’m not worried about it. I’d be okay working in retail or in a restaurant until I get on my feet. Art is a marketable skill and I plan on selling it as hard as I can.
What’s one of your main goals for your art?
If I had funding, I’d think more about temporality and how we make ourselves last here. Everyone has these themes in their life that they’re obsessed with and mine’s been immortality. It’s aggravating—no one can live forever. But should we try to perpetuate ourselves after our death? I want to create work that points that out and perhaps make myself last forever.
That’s cool—so what are you working on right now?
I’ve been thinking about a series of self-portraits in really grand, victorious compositions and playing upon antique and renaissance art to look at how they depict people who wanted to be gods. Of course the work has to be big. I love doing big work. There’s a whole mechanical process that feels disingenuous with projecting, but I need assistance with that. I usually do everything by hand. I love portraiture.
So people know you as being pretty weird, in the best way possible, so what’s the weirdest thing about you?
The weirdest thing? Oh my God that’s such a loaded question! How would I answer that?
Weird fact? Story? Thing you can do with your body?
I never sleep under sheets. I sleep on top of all of my bedding.
That’s so weird.
Wait, don’t put that. Sometimes, when there’s a lull in conversation, I beep.