Creativity takes courage

Emma Burke: I am an Irish born abstract artist based in Dubai, creating work with mixed mediums, one of the main mediums being alcohol ink. The goal of the work is to create a sense of calm, balance and contrast as well as emotional expression. Art is a form of mediation and this can be felt in what I create. Studio work is colourful, emotive and transforms in natural light. I believe art can alter how we feel in a space while allowing us to become present, reflect and let go.

I studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. My degree was in craft design, specializing in ceramics, having always had a passion for clay and pottery. After leaving college I was a bit lost as to what to do. I did teacher training with the hope of becoming an art teacher, however I felt I needed to travel and see the world and that’s how I ended up in Dubai.

I travelled the world for eight years as cabin crew and it was an amazing experience. I was able to attend many exhibitions and galleries around the world getting an opportunity to see work up close that I had always loved. It opened my eyes to new cultures, new ways of thinking and new ways of art. Seeing what people use and experiment with to create amazing pieces.

I have to say that the pandemic actually helped me in a way, it gave me so much free time to concentrate on what I loved, this is when I found a new passion for alcohol inks. I became addicted to their surprising behavior and beautiful organic movement. I rarely use a paintbrush instead pushing and guiding inks, to let them pool, bloom and dry in layers.

At the moment as it isn’t my full-time job, my studio is my apartment. It can be hard sometimes finding the space, especially for my larger pieces but I have seemed to manage. You can create art anywhere it doesn’t have to be in a studio. Maybe start smaller, find your style and you will create the space if it matters to you. Set aside some time each week and start experimenting until you find that thing – your thing, that makes you happy then continue to make the time.

I have to give some credit to social media for reaching an audience I may have never found. Instagram is a great platform for artists and emerging artist. It gives you a place to show your work, sell your work, connect to buyers and reach out to other artists for advice. It costs nothing and can be a great way to see a response to your work, make good connections and reach people all over the world. I would say to any aspiring artists, don’t let fear hold you back just put some images up and see what happens. Art is for everyone, what one person might not respond to, a hundred may adore. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t be afraid to reach out to galleries. Get a portfolio together so when they ask, you are ready. Get good images of your pieces and be ready to send these out. Join competitions, try get your work out there and seen. There are always competitions and exhibitions going on, now there are some great online ones that can show your work together with artists from all over the world. Creativity takes courage but can bring so many rewards.


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