This week’s featured artist is Emily Mercedes, an amazing illustrator currently living in Austin, Texas. Read below to learn about her passion for art that led to the website theBERRY, her favorite story about her childhood, and more!
BBP: Describe your art in 5 words or less!
Emily: Whimsical, effervescent, colorful, nostalgic, and detailed
BBP: Name an artist or person that inspires your art and why!
Emily: My son, Ryland, is a huge reason I created a nursery line of art. I made most of the paintings in his room while I was pregnant with him.
BBP: Did you go to school for art or are you primarily self-taught?
Emily: I went to Indiana University and studied Elementary Education with a concentration in Studio Art. I practically lived at the art building. LOVED it there!
BBP: When did you start designing/creating? Was there a particular event that inspired you to pursue it further?
Emily: Art has always been a huge passion of mine. It started in high school and heightened in college. I moved to Chicago after University and painted during the winters to cure cabin fever. During my stint in the Windy City, I started a website called theBERRY, the sister site to theCHIVE. Over the years I would feature artists on the site and each of their images motivated me to keep creating my own.
BBP: How has your style changed since you started?
Emily: A lot of the pieces I created early on were for school projects. Now that I have the flexibility to paint what I want, I am constantly trying new techniques. I am always evolving, practicing and getting better.
BBP: Where is the coolest place you’ve visited?
Emily: Prague, Czech Republic. It’s magical there.
BBP: Do you have a particular spot or place where you create most of your art?
Emily: My husband got me the coolest antique drafting table. It’s where I complete a lot of my work.
BBP: Do you have any children? If so, what are their names and ages?
Emily: We have a son named Ryland. He turns two in February.
BBP: How is his room decorated?
Emily: Above his crib there are four of my original acrylic paintings of animals with two patterned paintings in between. There is simple white wainscoting around the bottom half of the room and gray paint fills in the rest.
BBP: What is he into these days? A specific toy? A hobby?
Emily: He loves being outside! He stays entertained by collecting rocks and sticks. He’s such a little dude.
BBP: Growing up, were your parents into or involved in art?
Emily: I taught my mom how to paint when she was in her 50s. She had no idea that she had a random talent locked up for so long. She’s an amazing artist!
BBP: What were your favorite hobbies as a kid?
Emily: I loved putting on ridiculously long plays with my neighbor. We had wardrobe changes and everything.
BBP: What’s your favorite story to tell about your childhood?
Emily: My older brother, Leo, got his wisdom teeth out years ago and my dad got out the old VHS camcorder. Leo said some funny things but my sister and I weren’t too far behind on that goofball train. We were doting on him and helping him out in our cute geeky way. It’s just the funniest video ever!
BBP: What did your room look like growing up?
Emily: Pink wallpaper everywhere! When I got to High School, I made one entire wall a picture collage. It was like a giant scrapbook. I saved everything.
BBP: Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Emily: My husband, Brian!
BBP: What is one thing that you’ve never tried, but would like to?
Emily: Take a photography class.
BBP: Do you prefer milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
Emily: Milk chocolate (with hazelnuts!)
BBP: Sunglasses or hats?
Emily: I live in Texas, so both.
BBP: Sweet or savory?
Make sure to check out her shop!