Originally from Hampshire in the UK, Emily Victoria is a British artist on the move. She has spent the last few years living in Barcelona and Sydney, drawn to the natural beauty, outdoor culture and relaxed pace of life by the sea - the main inspiration behind her paintings.
Today we sit down with Emily to learn more about her creative journey and her new artistic endeavors.
Hi Emily, to get started can you please tell us a bit about where you come from and how you came to Barcelona?
Hello! I was born in London but grew up in the rolling hills of the Hampshire countryside, about an hour south west of the capital. I studied Modern Languages at university and after graduating I moved to London for a job in Marketing. After almost three years in the city, not using my languages at all, I decided I needed a change and to escape the rat race. I thought Barcelona looked like a great place to live and improve my Spanish at the same time. Summer was coming and I knew it had a beach and the beautiful Costa Brava just north, so it seemed ideal. I literally picked it out of a hat, I knew no one! I spent a year here before going to Sydney for two more fantastic years of living on the beach, but now I’m back in Barcelona – and to stay!
How have the places you have lived inspired your creativity?
I have always been drawn to the water. It gives me a great sense of escapism and calmness. Growing up, I was lucky enough to spend summers in Menorca with my family, learning to windsurf in the bay of Fornells and staying up late eating tapas. I think that’s where my love affair with the sea and the Spanish way of life began! I guess that’s why I got frustrated with living in London and moved to Barcelona and Sydney to live a more outdoor lifestyle by the water. I love warm weather, being active and making the most of being in nature. The world’s natural beauty is what really opens my eyes and inspires my painting.
When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?
Well to tell you the truth, I really just fell into it by a twist of fate! I have always been creative and enjoyed art. My mum is a mosaicist and my grandfather was a photographer so my creative eye comes from them – creativity has always run in my veins. I studied art until the age of 18 but when I went to university and later got a full-time office job, I barely had time for it. Having an art studio in my family home meant I was able to dabble easily when I could find time, but I was probably only picking up my pencils or paintbrushes a couple of times a year.
It wasn’t until I returned from Sydney at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic that I properly got back to painting and being creative again. Without a full-time job, I suddenly had so much time on my hands and all my pent-up creativity came pouring out! I spent the lockdown with my family in Hampshire and for me it was like art camp. I started uploading pictures of my paintings and illustrations to my Instagram and when people asked to buy them I couldn’t believe it. It gave me such a good feeling. Not just to be creating again but to be producing things that people liked enough to buy and to even give me commissions. It felt really fulfilling.
I produced something every day and haven’t stopped since! It doesn’t feel like work—I just hope I can keep on doing it and the dream doesn’t end. Of course, making it as a professional artist isn’t easy, but I’m trying not to panic about the future and just concentrate on each day as it comes. I believe that if you enjoy what you do, then you’ll do it well. Everything has a way of working out.
What feelings and sensations do you want to transmit through your art?
I try to convey the feeling I get from being beside the sea and surrounded by nature. I transmit my enjoyment as well as a sense of relaxation. I like to think my paintings transport the viewer to a calming place, under the warm rays of the sun, listening to the sea and watching it’s sparkling ripples. My paintings are a way of bringing that place to you, even when you’re sitting in your office with grey drizzly skies outside.
What is it that draws you to aerial views in your paintings?
For me, it’s a perspective that gives a secret view of the scene. The viewer is suspended above, invited to catch a private glimpse of a moment that no one else is looking at. I think it adds to the sense of tranquility and escapism.
Do you have any newly learned wisdom or advice for artists who are hoping to branch out and start sharing their work with the world?
Don’t lose hope when it’s not going well. Not every piece is going to be a masterpiece. You’ll produce things you aren’t happy with and even hate, but don’t lose faith when this happens. Art is a huge learning curve, both emotionally and in technical ability. I’m still at the very beginning of my journey in both senses, but have come a long way in the last few months. When I do something I don’t like, I try not to let negative thoughts take hold and remind myself what my mum tells me when this happens: ‘you’ve produced something good before, you’ll do it again’.
Also…use Instagram! As much as I think we need to be careful about how much time we spend on social media, it’s an amazing tool to reach out to people and get your art noticed.
Do you have any big projects coming up?
At the moment I’m getting my teeth stuck into painting in oil. Before this year I’d stuck to acrylic or watercolour so it’s a new medium for me and I’m absolutely loving it! I think it really suits the way I like to paint as it’s so versatile. I have a really exciting idea for a large triptych that I’m going to make a start on soon – so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Where are the best places for people to see your work online and get in touch with you?
You can check out my Instagram page @emilyvictoriaart or visit my website www.emilyvictoriaart.com where you can see my work and purchase original paintings or buy art prints. You can email me at email@example.com or DM me on Instagram.