Weekend Plans with Emily Tan

Weekend Plans with Emily Tan

Emerging artist Emily Tan is an artist to watch. Her abstract and expressionistic paintings capture a swirl of moods. Intensely textured and vibrant, they often illustrate opposing forces in our lives and our psyche. See new works by the University of Tampa grad and artist Alexander Coury at 8 p.m. at The Bends tonight.

 By Julie Garisto

Emily Tan floats peacefully amid the ebb and flow of life. Photo by Deidra Leigh.

Creative Pinellas caught up with artist Emily Tan to get to know her a little more, find out about her collaborative process and upcoming outings.

CP: What is your relationship with Alexander Coury? What inspired you two to join forces for “Something/Collaborative”? 

Tan: We know each other through mutual friends. He and my boyfriend Skyler have been best friends since they were 8 and are currently DJ’s/producers in Trippy Squad. We have always been interested in each other’s work and he approached me to be apart of his show at the Bends a few months ago. I knew his clean black-and-white graphic style would complement my vivid and abstract paintings. The biggest challenge was making sure every color and line was intentional.

Emily Tan and Alexander Coury, untitled 2018 acrylic, latex paint, enamel and polyurethane

Did you collaborate on individual pieces? I’ve enjoyed Aurailieus Artist and Brook Lyn team-up recently and really hope these collaborations start to happen more frequently …

Every piece in the show (besides the sculpture) has been painted or illustrated by both of us. I realized after we completed the pieces (today haha) how insane that task was. It forced us to think outside of the box and challenge our processes.

As a writer, I relate to the line in your bio, where you say you are “inspired by chaos and order of life.”

This is a statement that always comes up in my work. Each piece in the show contains a distorted form within the painting. It portrays that push-and-pull in life. There will always be situations I’m not prepared for, but staying true to my process and routine help immensely. A very special quote from Einstein helps explain the order and chaos. It was the senior quote from my good friend Isabella Grasso in high school who suddenly passed away in a tragic car accident.

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”–Einstein

Emily Tan, untitled 2018 acrylic, latex paint, enamel and polyurethane

Hey, we’re both University of Tampa alums. (I’m currently attending, actually.) How did their BFA program help you refine your skills?

That’s awesome! I loved the BFA program. The professors I had my junior and senior year definitely helped shape the artist that I am today. Our requirements included sculpture, drawing, painting, art history, pottery, photography, printmaking, graphic design, etc. Without all of those avenues, I would have never discovered paint pouring. My love for 3-dimensional art has challenged me to build or find pieces that you can’t find at the art supply store. I am beyond grateful for my education and the people I met along the way.

Now for the important question, what are your upcoming plans besides the Friday night art show? 

24th Annual Tampa Pro skateboarding competition, which has events all weekend.

Every Monday I paint or bartend at Vagabond Gita/Moonlight Market in Tampa. The new location, Station Grill, is now being transformed by one of my mentors Sandi Hein, who was the old GM of Czar in Ybor. We are so excited to see what she creates!

Also, Trippy Squad throws parties at The Bends once a month on a Friday.

Rock Asana March 30th in Curtis Hixon park for Bella Prana — the yoga studio I am the retail manager of — for our free yoga event.

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