We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Atterbury and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have been creating art all my life to some degree. I went to school for studio art and I learned some valuable skills. but when I left college, I found it difficult to find a job that suited a way that I wanted to portrayed my art. I worked a few unrelated 9-5 jobs for years and was running my business on the side but it was just very small events and commissions for fun for a long time. But when the pandemic hit, like many people work ceased, and I decided I would take seize the moment to pursue what I really envisioned. I began to post more art online and organically grew a fanbase that allowed me to take the leap and pursue this work full time. I would be making art even if it wasn’t my job, so being able to put all my time into something that already has all of my attention and interest has been amazing.
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 think what sets my art apart from a lot of others is the vulnerability. It allows people to project their life experiences on my skeleton character as we can all see ourselves in it. My personal style has taken many, many years to develop – I started by having a lot of more academically inspired work, and then more leaning more towards whimsical, surreal work, and after many years playing with different ideas finally found a sweet spot between the two. The journey to get to where I am in my practice was long but it felt easy because I stayed true to myself and wasn’t trying to make art for other people. When people started connecting more with what I was making it was helpful in finding my niche as both an artist and business owner.
While the art has always come naturally, I’ve had a very steep learning curve in translating that into a business as I had no entrepreneurial experience. It’s been a lot of learning as I go and connecting with other artists in the community. The support I’ve had from them has made a huge difference in navigating the business side of art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite things about living in the Bay Area are the weather and how bike-able everything is. Where I am in Emeryville, you can bike to my favorite coffee spot, States, which is originally from my hometown. Then you can bike to the marina or Point Isabel – I take my dogs to the latter every weekend to play with other pups and get great views of the bay. For restaurants, I love Hot Boys in Oakland – they have the best fried chicken sandwich. If this was a long trip I would want to take some day trips. From the Bay Area you can be at the beach, the redwoods, the mountains, and more in just a few hours. I go to Muir Beach as much as I can. And finally, I would end at Fieldwork, a local brewery in Berkeley, who make great IPAs and darker beers.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would dedicate a lot of where I am to my sister, she has helped me along my personal journey as an artist and my journey into being a small business owner.