Feature Friday: Emily Taylor Rogers


I met Emily Taylor Rogers at a pop-up art show last year. The show wasn't anything to write home about sales-wise, for me anyway, but being friends with her has been a real treasure. 

Like me, she's a transplant who's made Philly her home and found an arts community here. We've bonded over our interest in uplifting other artists and creating spaces for growing artists to share advices and resources as a way of developing our own practices.

In her own words:
Emily Taylor Rogers is a rising artist currently living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Michigan native, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Gwen Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University. Her recent artworks combine her education in traditional processes with her love for experimentation and contemporary design, resulting in multimedia works that project her vision. Portraiture plays a large part in her work, and often incorporate surreal elements. Concepts of femininity, spirituality, nature and symbolism continuously inspire and influence her creative process.

 Keep reading to see some of her lovely artwork and hear her thoughts on her practice.

Yona Yurwit: How long have you been a practicing artist?

Emily Taylor Rogers: I have been practicing art for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been pursuing a career as a professional artist for about the last year.

I moved from Michigan to Philly in fall of 2015. I also have worked as a floral designer, photo editor at a photography production company, and as an assistant to other local professional artists doing creative direction and brand management.

YY: What mediums do you use?

ETR: Oil and acrylic paint, colored pencil, gold and silver leaf. Sometimes I incorporate other mediums or embellishments. It just depends on what that particular piece of artwork calls for.



YY: What inspires your work?

ETR: Concepts of femininity, spirituality, nature and symbolism continuously inspire and influence my creative process. I’m also inspired by other artists, current issues, other cultures and fashion.

YY: Can you say more about the influence of spiritualism and the feminine on your work? What aspects of it are you most excited to explore lately?

ETR: I'd say I am a pretty spiritual person, and I'm definitely a feminist who identifies as feminine - so those subject tend to surface in my life as well as my artwork. I tend to gravitate and identify with them, so those subjects resonate with me and then get transformed into my art.


Recently I have decided to explore even further with mixed media, and refine my palette a bit while continuing to use gold and silver leaf - and I'm really excited about it. I'm continuing to work with those concepts, but trying to dive deeper into them while I transition my personal aesthetic. 





YY: Are you more of an intuitive creator or do you like to plan?

ETR: I usually have an idea or concept for a piece hit me before I start creating it, and I'll add it to a list of a bunch of ideas that I have jotted down. I'd say 80% of the time my work is preplanned and I have a concept and vision fully developed before I start creating, but as I go through the creative process I sometimes change the plan based on my intuition. The other 20% of the time, when inspiration strikes hard, I'll just start creating and go with the creative flow. I always try to take advantage of the times when I'm feeling super creative, because that doesn't happen every single day - there are days when I just really can't or don't want to create, even though that's really rare. On days I'm feeling super artistic always let my creativity lead me.


YY: What are you working on now?

ETR: I’m currently working on building up an inventory with my new style and direction. I’ve decided to refine my style and color palette, and now am working to build up a ton of pieces to sell at the Manayunk Art Festival and on my website.

YY: What choices have had the biggest positive outcome on your art career so far?

ETR: The choice to leave my full time job, which was exhausting and extremely anxiety-inducing, really helped me to make huge strides towards running my own art business. I never could have made the progress I have if I had stayed at that job. Additionally, the daily mentality to keep pushing through even when I don't want to or even if I'm exhausted really makes a huge difference in the speed at which I and my business grow.




YY: How do you divide your time between making new work and the business side of things?


ETR: I try to break things up evenly most of the time, I'll do one or a couple business things and spend time creating every day possible. Some days I'll have to focus on one or the other if something is pressing on a deadline, but usually I try to stay pretty balanced and organized so nothing falls behind. It makes things easier on me long term.

YY: Name another artist who’s been especially inspiring to you lately.

ETR: I’d suggest checking out my friend Sam Carell (@carellartcollection.) She makes gorgeous abstract pour art.


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The two things I admire most about Emily's practice are her willingness to share with the community and her branding and social media management.

Starting at the beginning of 2018, we've been hosting monthly artist hangouts (alternating between our respective houses) and an online community where we share tips and talk through what we've been working on. This kind of space is valuable because there often isn't time to go into much detail when you meet other artists at events and openings -- too loud to hear each other, too much other stimuli. Being able to relax on a couch with champagne and snacks removes the pressure to perform and creates space to be vulnerable enough to ask each other questions about each other's business practices without being self conscious. I've also enjoyed meeting new people at these events and connecting some of my friends to hers.

Some of the coolest things I've learned from her at one of our monthly hangs are her social media strategies. I'm in awe of her branding. I haven't even come close to implementing half of the ideas she shared with me, but I hope that with a little time my Instagram feed will look as good as hers.

My biggest takeaway from our conversations lately is focus. I trust myself to find mine in good time, and until then Emily's poise is one of my inspirations and motivations.

You can find Emily on Instagram, and you can also check out her interviews with Inside the Underground and Living Creative (episode 13.)

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I feature an artist who inspires or influences my practice every month. You can see all previous Feature Friday posts here.

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