Inside the Studio

Emma Lawrenson’s prints are explorations of shape, color, and balance.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

My work stems from observations made in my surrounding landscape; observations of shapes, spaces, textures and colours.

These are initially recorded as photographs, small sketches or collages and undergo a series of fine-tuning once back in the studio before being translated into prints. The finished prints are a result of paring down through a process of subtracting elements and cropping, or the opposite; re-building and inventing new compositions from found elements. The emphasis of the work becomes wholly about shape, colour, proportion, scale and balance.

Drawing goes hand in hand with the screen printing process. Combining the two enables me to produce smooth, crisp images in which I can explore shape and form. I particularly love the combination of geometry and the drawn mark.

My work has evolved over the past few years, as I have become increasingly drawn to the textures of the rural landscape which is part of my everyday life. I am very much inspired by surface; its patterns, textures, layers and colours. Recent works are weighted mainly towards a hand drawn element; scraping, scratching and combining different textural surfaces within each print.

I strive to create something beautiful and understated in my work, and I have always been drawn to work that feels calm.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

It’s not really advice as an artist, but as an art student.

When I was living in London studying for my B.A in fine art and living with a group of artists and musicians, one of my house mates was doing printed textiles at the Royal College of Art. His advice was to continue with an M.A in printmaking if I could get a place at the Royal College of Art too. After taking a trip to look around with him I was totally in awe and shocked at how amazing the work was. From that moment, I knew I had to go there. It was the best experience of my life, such a fantastic opportunity and a privilege. It’s something that has shaped my life ever since. Without the advice of my friend I never would have applied.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I like to work in silence when I’m printing, it helps me to concentrate. When I’m preparing work or doing general bits and pieces around my studio I love to listen to indie folk; I love ‘Passenger’ at the moment. I also like to listen to classical music, Mendelssohn or Ravel by the Escher String Quartet, fabulous.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

That’s tough. I’d love something by Ellsworth Kelly but I’d probably choose a white relief by Ben Nicholson.

Who are your favorite writers?

I love Joanne Harris; her books are a combination of great story telling with a bit of folklore mixed in. She even went to the same school my daughter is attending now, and still lives nearby.

About the Author

Katherine Henning is Senior Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service here.