It was an accidental friendship, if you ask me. A selfish, cold-call business deal taking an all together different turn. And you never quite know what’s just around the corner until you put your boots on and go for a walk.
I saw Emily’s art up at Coffeebar a few years ago. A fluorescent giraffe stared at me in all his doodled and patchwork attitude. I stopped mid-stride, my cup of tea sloshing onto it’s saucer, then onto the floor. I just stared back for an inexplicably long time until the person stuck behind me in the aisle backed up and went around another way and I was jolted back to the present. There was something in his face, in his stature. Whimsy and realism all wrapped up into one statement-making, show-stopping, color-screaming package. I was smitten. Not yet, by the artist herself, but by her art.
A little background. I don’t make much money. The money I do make is spent on important things like butter, shampoo and school supplies for my kids. Buying art is at the top of my ‘want’ list and at the bottom of my ‘need’ list. But, that giraffe! I came up with a far flung action plan, pulled out my computer and executed with an out-of-the-blue-from-a-random-stranger email asking if she would be willing to trade a photoshoot for a commissioned piece of art. She said a resounding, yes. Turns out that that type of thing is just up Emily’s alley and this random stranger with a camera morphed into a BFF overnight.
If ever there were protocol for photoshoots, guidelines to be followed and logistics to be mapped out regarding location, timing, subject matter etc. they all fly out the window once you step on Emily’s property. Every expectation you might have about how a photoshoot will go is instantly sabotaged by the singular act of greeting her at the door. And I mean that with as much admiration as possible, because this totally works for me. Expect the unexpected and you will be happily fulfilled.
I’m not afraid of farm animals. However, with the same amount of conviction that I write that I can also write that I don’t love farm animals. It is a flat out guarantee, though, that if you make a deal to photograph Emily Reid and her art, you will damn well end up spending some time with farm animals. And with that first step into their pen you can also guarantee that regardless of how many times Emily says they won’t bother you, you are very hesitant to leave yourself unguarded by raising the camera to your eye. The end result is almost always a bunch of tilted, out of focus compositions from quickly darting away from the emu who is lunging at you with his ginormous beak and the quick and agile goat readying his horns for a friendly butt to your shin. And I won’t even mention that one time, when traipsing around in the tumbleweed filled back lot and looking through the viewfinder wondering why Emily and Hattie have that shock and surprise look on their faces. You hear the buzzing only a split second before hearing, “Run!”.
And I love it. I love every minute of it. Because it breaks the mold. She breaks the mold. A light filled soul who wants nothing more than to do good in the world and make people (or animals) happy. She is quick to laugh, quick to encourage and never taken aback by anyone’s idiosyncrasies. She is depth and roots and hard work. She is sun light and packed earth and springs of enthusiasm.
And I’m not afraid of accidental friends. Especially beautiful ones like this.
P.S. I am the proud owner of 2 (soon to be 3) of her paintings. You should become a proud owner, too.
P.P.S. Check out her ongoing art displays at Sage 255 West Peckham, Reno, NV and Diavola 21021 Geyserville, CA, or sign up for an art class at Atelier in Truckee, CA on December 30th.