I am so excited to introduce my readers to dear, sweet Emily. To be honest, I haven’t officially met Emily in person yet. We’ve exchanged emails numerous times, we are facebook friends and I keep an intriguing eye on the artistic movements of she and her sister Mercy but we have yet to meet.
Perhaps, I should give some background. Almost a year ago, I first saw Emily. We were both waiting for the train and she stood there as if she owned the world. First I noticed her big afro and a very large flower in her hair. She had on many layers and textures, patterns and colors, jewelry and bangles, boots and tights and her smile. Her smile lit the train station up. My impulse was to approach her and ask if I could take her picture but I’m shy about that so I just watched her.
Luckily, I saw her quite a bit around New York. I believe our circles almost touch. Yes, she’s ten years younger than me but I think with her work in the art world and theater and fashion and considering the people I associate with, we must have mutual friends. Or we just travel the same route. One day, many months ago, while purusing blogs and tumblrs, I saw her again. This time she was on Le Coil. After some research I found out her name, found her on facebook and sent her the geekest email ever. Imagine me, a 26 year old women feeling shy and star struck by a 16 year old gorgeous artist who walks the streets of NY like they were made for her.
Emily was gracious and kind and sweet. She told me to not be shy when I saw her on the train again… but I must admit, I’ve seen her perhaps 10 more times since then and I still can’t muster up the courage to officially introduce myself. Am I a geek or what? Even still, Emily was more than happy to participate in the Shiva’s Muse interview. She’s our youngest artist featured yet but age is nothing but a number. This powerful woman is someone you should know.
Everyone meet Emily Carpenter
SLY: What kind of artist are you?
EC: I am a poet, a singer, and an actress. I love fashion and I’m teaching myself and getting help wherever I can to play the piano.
SLY: How old are you?
EC: I’m sixteen years old. But I will be seventeen in September!
SLY: How have you learned what you know? Education? Experience?
EC: Well I’ve always wanted to be an actress. Ever since I can remember talking and thinking I wanted to perform. When I was four I used to walk around the house and make up my own opera songs. When I moved to New York I joined a Theater Company, then I went to a performing arts school. Since then I’ve taken an AMAZING acting class called Committed Impulse with Josh Pais. I was the only teen but his class helped me really be in the moment.
With poetry my mom started writing first and then she introduced me to people like Suheir Hammad. They both really inspired me and I started writing and doing poetry in Urban Word.
SLY: Why do you think art is important?
EC: I think art is important because it gives a space to really express yourself. Also I think it’s one of the ways people bond and I think that’s the most important part. It is a way to relate. No matter the difference in appearance or beliefs something every culture has in common is art. I think art is one of the most powerful ways to achieve peace.
SLY: You have a DOPE sense of style. Every time I’ve seen you, you are always rocking what ever you are wearing. What influences your style choices?
EC: Why, thank-you!! Many things influence me. My mom has influenced my style. She is a painter and I’ve got the way I put colors together from her. I’m also influenced by the funky combinations and colors from style from Japan. Just walking around New York City, from posters, to sculptures, to people are all inspiration. Also I realized how much I love the 70’s, so that has been an influence as well.
SLY: You also rock natural hair! How long have you been natural? What’s your favorite style?
EC: I’ve been natural my whole life! I actually relaxed my hair once when I was going on auditions; they said my hair was too wild. But then it weakened my hair and I got locks. I cut my locks about 2 years ago.
EC: I love writing poetry. I’ve performed two times in the Urban Word finals at the Apollo, the Knicks Slam, and I’ve done various other features. I think my favorite experience as a poet is when someone comes up to you and is like “That really connected with me”, or “You just spoke my story”…there’s something about that, that adds to life, it strengthens the connection of humanity, I think.
SLY: What and Who Inspires?
EC: My life experiences. Images from the street. Documentaries. Movies. Music. Everything really.
SLY: What is your favorite medium to use in creating art?
EC: Hmmm….I’m not sure. If speaking is a medium I guess that’s my favorite. I love talking and relating to people.
SLY: What are you currently working on?
EC: I’m currently working for the Jazz Foundation of America, an organization that helps elders of the jazz community. One man I’m trying to work with is Jimmy Norman. He’s an amazing artist who has worked with Jimmi Hendrix, Bob Marley, and the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately he hasn’t got all the credit he deserves. If I can plug here for a second def check his new album: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-way-i-see-it/id43069673. Also, I’m currently starting to help organize jam sessions to help bridge the gap between young music artists and older artists.
Also me and my friend are creating a ‘zine, which is like a homemade magazine. I’ll give you more details as it develops! I’m really excited about this project.
SLY: What has been the highlight of your artistic career, so far?
EC: I think I have yet to have a highlight. I’ve done a lot that I’m proud from stand up comedy at the Gotham Comedy Theater to poetry at the Apollo, but I have a long, fun way to go!
SLY: What, if any, artistic mistakes have you made?
EC: Quitting when it gets hard. I quit comedy when it felt too much like work. I stopped Dj-ing when it got hard. And I ‘quit’ poetry plenty of times. I’m going to start Dj-ing again, but I think if I REALLY liek something I need to really commit.
SLY: What is your favorite quote?
SLY: Do you have any encouraging words for those who want to be more creative?
EC: Take time for yourself. Listen to what YOU really want to do. And if you judge yourself, that’s ok, acknowledge it and move on.
SLY: What legacy do you want to leave?
EC: This sounds really corny, and I haven’t told many because a lot of people roll their eyes when I say it. But I want to have a world without war. I think war stems from hatred and hatred from fear of the unknown and ignorance. I think there are people who want world peace but they all don’t think it can happen. I have a lot more learning to do but I think that through art and with everyone’s help, we can live without killing each other. I want to work towards understanding through art.
SLY: Where can we find you?
Facebook and I have a tumblr and twitter coming soon for my ‘zine, that I’ll send to ya! 😀
Emily!!!!!!! You are so delightful and adorable and talented and wonderful to know. Considering how busy you are, I am so grateful you took the time to participate. It’s wonderful to get to know you more and I must say I LOVE your favorite quote. I’m going to have to write that in my journal. I look forward to hearing about ALL your future projects and one day you and I must sit at a cafe and just talk for hours. Actually, you’d probably get along more with my 17 year old sister but I’d hang with both of you too! Thank you sweetheart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wondering what other creative artist I like? Check out some of my resources. Artistic Resources and Intriguing Resources. Please note these pages are constantly being updated with all the fabulous things I discover and happen upon.
All the photos came from Emily’s facebook page to which she gave me permission to use.