Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Music was my first love. Because resources were scarce and music (and art) discouraged over academics, I taught myself to use the full range of my voice to express a world of emotions. I started performing on stage at the age of 10, and writing songs and melodies as a teenager. I spent two decades of moonlighting as an independent songwriter, performer, and recording artist, and I stepped back from it to start a family, travel, and explore other creative mediums. I was always fond of art but found, even at a young age, that I was expected to choose one creative outlet over others, so art fell to the wayside. When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2015, I took an abstract painting class for fun and absolutely fell back in love. It quickly became my new creative outlet. Becoming a mother was a rebirth of sorts and I had to define and re-find myself. When my little one napped, I made art. This outlet helped me regain and my sense of self—it became my sanity and my therapy. In more than one way, I am a better human and mother because I make art.
At the start of 2018, I set a personal intention of making art every single day—large or small, significant or not—and that decision changed the course of my life. With each passing day, my stack of small works of art began to grow and a dream for a creative space became more and more tangible. In May, I signed a lease on a 1600 sq ft space in Charlestown; Essem Art Studio was born. My vision for the studio is more than a personal art studio, it is a space for intimate gatherings of creative minds, art shows, performances, creative play and exploration. We recently launched Art Labs for parents and their little ones throughout the week and it has been so exciting to meet the families in our community who value art exposure at an early age.
Please tell us about your art.
My art is largely gestural and expressive. I like to channel the energy of different mediums—primarily ink, watercolor, charcoal, acrylic—to express textures, motion, and rhythm. I liken it to making music on canvas. I’m a city girl with an appreciation for nature so I draw my inspiration from cityscapes, and urban grit. I find inspiration everywhere—in rocks and cracks in sidewalks, falling leaves, snow on branches, a sunset through a barbwire fence, soft clouds against a skyline. I also draw emotion from that certain something in human resilience, character, and spirit within us all to overcome challenges—human grit. I want people to see what they will inside my abstract expressions of energy, and to feel a resonance from within. My aim as an artist is to explore, examine, and express those things that are not tangible and create art that channels my personal discoveries. In 2019, my intention is to work on larger pieces and to integrate my first love, music, into my process and my art.
As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
I ascribe to a very personal definition of success that evolves and grows with me. I think it’s important to let go of society’s (fed by social media) depiction of success because it’s largely materialistic, unattainable, fictional, generic. More money, more fame, always more and never enough. For me, a happy and healthy family unit, building a strong community and tribe around me, giving of my time and paying it forward, making a living doing the work that I find meaningful, leaving behind a legacy, and being my best self every day—that is success.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My personal profile (@iamsophiamoon) and artist profile (@sophiamoonart) My personal website will feature my music and art work (www.iamsophiamoon.com
). For upcoming events, or to bring your little ones to our Art Labs at the studio, you can go to our website (www.essemartstudio
) or instagram profile (@essemartstudio.com