We had the good fortune of connecting with Emi Brady and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emi, how does your business help the community?
My art and business is all about our relationship with nature. On a business level, I use my income to frequently give to environmental and indigenous non-profts. The ones I give to most frequently are Earthjustice (earthjustice.org), the Indigenous Environmental Network (www.ienearth.org), and the Denver local non profit Lakota Way Healing Center (www.lakotaway.org). My hope is that by giving to these causes, I can contribute in a more concrete way to healing the planet and giving back to the original caretakers of the land on which I live. More abstractly, I hope my work encourages reflection on our relationship with the planet. Through the research that goes into creating my images, I frequently uncover troubling information that causes an uncomfortable tension between my awe of this planet’s inhabitants and my continued contribution to their destruction through living a western lifestyle. At its best, my work shows the viewer the miracle of biodiversity and the healing power of the Earth while also revealing the impact we are having on the planet. My hope is that my work outlives me and remains a window into this time of transition. Whether it’s a transition to a more sustainable way of living or to an Earth further choked by industry is still up to us.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I primarily work as a printmaker. The process and ritual involved in relief printing is the best part of my job. Although the specifics can get complicated, relief printing is fundamentally just glorified rubber stamp art. There’s lots of different ways to make relief images (slapping a muddy handprint on a cave wall is one of the oldest), but I love carving my images on linoleum blocks the most. When your block gets printed the image is reflected, so you have to carve it backwards! It’s also a subtractive mark, meaning you have to carve away all the parts you don’t want to get printed and leave your image area untouched on the block. Once the block is carved, a thin layer of ink is rolled onto it with a brayer. Only the raised areas on the block get inked. Paper is added on top, and then you squish it through a press to get a print! Here’s a video of me pulling a print of the Death card at Open Press in Sterling, CO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUXFuyqEi3E I’ve started on a new body of work recently, and I’ve only completed two images so far. They will be part of a new deck, but they will be “oracle cards” instead of Tarot cards. This means it will lack the structure of the traditional Tarot,which gives me the freedom to create my own structure. I can’t share a lot about this deck yet, but I know that it will include four World Tree cards, one for each element. The image of Yggdrasil is the Earth World Tree card.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is way up on the list. I just love the history of that place, and the ecosystem on the front range is really unique. Its bedrock is injected with hundreds of thousands of gallons of leftover waste from all the chemical weapons manufacturing that went on there from WWII until the 80’s. But on the surface it’s thriving. Bison, owls, mule deer, eagles, coyotes, fish, and a ton of different grasses all live there. And you get a killer view of the mountains and Denver. The Kirkland Museum would be a great stop. They’ve got a good balance of fine art and functional design, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Baker’s got cool local businesses like Mutiny and Rosehouse, and the burritos at Senior Burritos can’t be beat. Sweet Action for dessert! I’m sure we’ll hit up some thrift stores, too.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family deserves the biggest shoutout! They raised me to be aware of the world outside of myself and to lead with empathy and love. My husband Andrew Warner’s support has been crucial the last few years. I always worried about marrying another artist, but his understanding of the artistic process has taught me a lot of self acceptance. My friends never fail to inspire me. My assistant, Denver-based artist Maristella Frisch, has been a crucial part of keeping my business running.