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Emily Kohlert

Emily M. Kohlert, is a Jill-of-all-trades when it comes to art and design. The interconnectedness of what she does allows for some serious cross-pollination in regards to her approach and what she can help a client with. Balancing her own work, and the work of others (particularly for the SK music scene), she is a multi-diverse artist that has tackled artistic projects across the board with no signs of slowing down.

What do you want to say about your artistic endeavours so far?

I have a background in photography, and now I like to work mostly in graphic design, film photography, and screen print. It all kind of bleeds together, though. I’ve done a ton of different projects over the years, including fine art/documentary/portrait photography, printmaking, album artwork and poster design, video work, set design, publications, digital projects, etc. You name it, I can do it (or figure it out).

I love shooting film (candid lately especially), experimenting with unconventional stocks/cameras, and working in the darkroom. It’s important to me to document what’s going on in our art and music communities, so I always try to take photos and video at shows and connect/collaborate with peers. I really like sharing what I’m into, whether art or music, because I want to share that wave of passion that I feel with everyone. 

I've also hosted a radio show on CFCR for 5 years, called Learn to Sing. I love music and working with bands. There is a certain freedom to it that is refreshing and stimulating. I wish there was more financial support for musicians in general, because I would love to exclusively work with them.

What kind of person do you have to be to pursue an artistic driven profession?

In my opinion, you need to be a extremely self-motivated, determined, and the more skills you have, the better. With both music and art, it unfortunately has to remain a secondary career next to your day-job until you have enough stability to do it full-time, and that's where the self-motivation comes in. I probably have 5 project ideas on the go at all times, and it can be overwhelming, but mostly it’s motivating. If you want to take your career to the next level, you always have to be working. Always, always working.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

There are two.

Trust yourself, trust your skills.

My friend Jared said this to me once, and it's become my mantra. It's the reminder to trust your preparation and what you know. Always trust yourself and your taste.

Comparison kills creativity.

It's better to learn from and be inspired by your peers than be jealous of success. When you realize that your peers are also just trying to be better than their last work, things feel a bit more grounded.

Take me through one of your most creative days.

My most creative days begin with waking midday. I like to have myself a "morning", even if it begins at noon. It's important for me to establish my own version of a morning though: some coffee, eggs and hashbrowns for breakfast, and a little reading of something like Klosterman or Bukowski, or I’ll browse Pinterest for design inspiration (Modernism, especially Bauhaus are my jam). I have a decent workspace, but I like to go out to Museo or Collective for coffee, or The Yard for beers and work there. Usually while I'm out, I'll start a new piece on my old Macbook Pro. I'll relocate back to my home office at some point, and continue working on my sweet baby angel iMac 27” until I feel I’ve done enough for the day. I love listening to music while I work, bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Andy Shauf, Kishi Bashi, The Fiery Furnaces, or whatever I'm currently into. When it gets late, I put on The Signal with Laurie Brown on CBC and let her playlist drive my workflow. If I ever get stuck on something, I find sleeping on it and coming back the next day makes all the difference. At the end of the night, I like to unwind by watching a little artistic cinema. Lately, I’ve been really inspired by filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. He’s the man.

Does your “landscape” shape who you are?

The landscape definitely shapes who I am, as I’ve lived in the prairies my entire life. It can sometimes feel empty and lonely, but this has only influenced my art and music-making for the better. I love the sense of community I feel here, and the inspiring talent of my peers. The arts community is well-connected and supportive, which allows room for collaboration and experimentation. It feels, in a way, like a blank slate for us, with tons of room for new projects and ideas. We have many brilliant artists and minds in Saskatoon, and it feels like we are all working together to put Saskatoon on the map. 

To see more of her work and what she offers, check out her website

Follow her on @instaemily and @emilyxdandylion

To see more of her prints search #dandylionprints