My ART | Artist: Emily Hartley-Skudder

Artist: Emily Hartley-Skudder

Artist: Emily Hartley-Skudder

What do you do?

I hoard things and play with them. My studio and storage unit are filled with bathroom basins, bathtubs, carpet, vintage hair dryers, and many, many plastic receptacles. Also miniatures. Sylvanian families are a particular favourite. I spend a lot of time photographing these things and then pushing paint around on linen. Sometimes I play home decorator in the gallery.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

It’s pretty hard imagining what else I’d do, as I’m quite far down the rabbit hole of being an artist… I’m a bit fucked really. When I was eight I wanted to be an actor and then a director, then I wanted to work on films in the art department or as a stills photographer. Otherwise, I’d like to do something that involves cats. Professional cat cuddler? Cat Instagrammer? Or someone who owns a junk shop but refuses to sell anything.

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

Source photographs for my last body of work Vanity Factory, mock-ups of assemblages I’m yet to make, old exhibition invite postcards, research pics of 70’s conversation pits and spa pools, and of the glorious textile sculptures of interiors by Do Ho Suh.

Who is your ideal studio buddy?

I work in shared studios on Courtenay Place in Pōneke and I have some awesome studiomates, which includes my partner, Hamish Coleman <3 But I do wish my cat Bernadette could be here too.

An artist (living or dead) you would like to meet?

They say don’t meet your heroes…

What is art for?

All the hard questions today!

What are you reading?

Recent books I’ve really enjoyed are The Swimmers by Chloe Lane (looking forward to her new book coming out this August!) and Things I Learned at Art School by Megan Dunn.

What’s next?

I’m forming up a couple of larger projects but they’re still in their initial development stages. I’m also making a new work in response to a museum mount that Sophia Smolenski has made. She is doing a large project exploring object making and object support in Aotearoa, called Offering it Up. An artist, printmaker, welder and museum technician by trade, Sophia has invited a group of artists to each respond to steel mounts she has made for undisclosed objects. Stay tuned for when this exhibition all comes together!

Emily Hartley-Skudder is represented by Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch.Image: Self portrait in the studio, June 2022