We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Koch and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emily, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
In high school, I was very passionate about art. When my parents would ask me what career path I wanted to pursue, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do other than art. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what type of art I wanted to pursue, but I knew as long as I was doing something creative with my life then I would be happy. I knew it would be difficult and might not work out in the end, but the way I saw it, life was too short for me to not pursue a career I was passionate about.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am currently working to enter the professional field of illustration. In school, I aspired to work in children’s books and editorial illustration. As my thesis project, I created art for my children’s
book series, “Adventure Globe”, about world travel to encourage children to be curious about
other countries and cultures versus just their own. I hope to one day to be able to produce the
series with the help of a publishing company. In my free time, I enjoy exploring many other
forms of artistic expression and stylization. I often perform landscape painting to help keep my
skills sharp, and I have begun carving stamps in my free time after incorporating some stamp
design into the work for my thesis project. Since graduation, it has been a struggle finding
illustration jobs, and the pandemic has only made it more difficult. It can be a challenge to find a
balance between your personal style and what any given company is looking for in their unique
workplace. I’ve always known the path to a successful artistic career isn’t always a
straightforward one, but I’m willing to put in the work no matter how long it takes. Often your
hard work will pay off with some amazing experiences that will help you grow along the way.
Currently, I am the acting Artist in Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains’ National Park. It
wasn’t easy to obtain this residency. I worked for months filling out dozens of different
applications, writing essays, and creating art work to submit in my portfolios. I received many
rejections in the process but all my hard work paid off in the end. The experience taught me that
a large part of being an artist isn’t just the art itself, but learning how to sell yourself and work
the more logistical side of art. I am honored to have this opportunity and can’t wait to explore all
of the park along with all the creative inspiration it has to offer.

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.
I actually very recently moved to San Francisco so I have only just begun to explore the city myself. I definitely have some ideas in mind to showcase the city. In the first two days, I would
start by taking my friends to all the big tourist spots, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and
Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz is great to visit on a foggy day if you can. It makes the entire
experience all the more eerie. After Alcatraz, I would take them around to all the different parks
scattered across the city, especially Golden Gate Park. It’s always best to visit on a sunny day.
Everywhere you walk you can see people out enjoying the nice weather. There are beautiful
flower gardens and amazing museums within the park. My personal favorite to visit is the
California Academy of Sciences. Inside they have a rainforest biosphere with beautiful plants
covering every inch of the walls and butterflies everywhere. If we can find the time to venture
outside of the city, I would take them to Muir Woods where you can walk through majestic Red
Wood trees. From there, the next stop would be Lands End. It’s part of the National Parks
system. Here you can explore the rich history of the historic buildings on the site as well as the
natural beauty of the northern California coastline. On the day before my friends leave, I would
take them to the Ferry Building and Pier 39 where they could see the sea lions on the docks, visit
the Aquarium of the Bay, and explore shops for souvenirs they might like to bring home. The
Ferry building alone has so many different shops to explore from gourmet chocolate and candy
shops, to a shop entirely dedicated to selling different varieties of mushrooms. Throughout their
time in San Francisco, I would take them to explore the large variety of different cuisines
available all throughout the city. The city is a melting pot of food and cultures from all around
the world. My personal favorite place to visit is North Beach where you can find authentic Italian
food in Little Italy. Right next-door you can find China Town filled with authentic food and an
atmosphere that makes you feel as though you are actually in China. My friends would leave
with incredible memories.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people throughout my life that have encouraged me on the path I’m on today. Overall, the encouragement and education that I received at my college, Ringling College of Art and Design, has had the largest impact on my improvement and growth as an artist. The support and knowledge I received from all of my professors was instrumental in making me the artist I am today. My work wouldn’t be where it is without the help of their endless expertise, encouragement and passion. I also credit my fellow students and friends, who taught me many important skills along the way.

Website: https://ekoch28.wixsite.com/website

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emioch_art/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-koch-24a562140/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmiochArt

Image Credits
Artist portrait taken by Sheridan Roberts at Smoky Mountains National Park. All other photos are scanned photos of my work.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.