In conversation with local artist Emily Grace


Emily Grace

“Magnolia Sunshine” a mural by Emily Grace outside of Bravo on Main Street.

AURELIA HARRISON, Features and Opinion Editor

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Emily Grace, an artist from Gloucester who has been working locally, with dreams to base her career in her hometown. She is a GHS alum and attended MassArt before transferring to Salem State this past year. She was recently commissioned to paint a mural outside Bravo, a pizza place downtown. 

Grace working on her mural.









Q: First things first, what was the process like painting your mural for Bravo? How did you get recruited to do it, and how long did it take you to complete?

A: So, last summer I sold my work at the Magnolia Farmers Market. [The owner of Bravo] lives in Magnolia, so she came to the market one day and was shopping around. She saw my work, and told me she’d been wanting someone to do a mural. She asked me right there if I could do it. She asked “Are you interested in doing murals?”, and I told her that sounded amazing. It was pretty immediate, she wanted to get started right away and started asking for sketches. So that’s the reason the mural is Magnolia-themed, because that’s where everything started. It took about 2 months to finish. It was very spread out because the weather kept getting colder and colder, but I had to be done by a certain date. 

Q: How were you compensated for it? How do you go about putting a price on your art?

A: I think it’s hard to be doing things as a young artist, and asking for money is a hard thing to learn how to do. I basically asked all of my professors and all of my family and anyone I could think of for advice, “how do you ask for money? How do you tell people how much money you want to make for a specific job, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before?” It’s a hard thing, but it’s a great lesson to learn, which I did. When you’re a student artist, getting paid for anything is crazy.

Q: It’s great to have professors to go to for that kind of thing, that’s awesome. Would you tell me a little bit about your work and experiences as an artist in Gloucester?

A: I definitely want to be more involved in the community. I’ve always wanted to be a part of Local Colors, that store downtown. I love being on Main Street, and I’ve dreamed of having a studio there. I want to stay in Gloucester. I used to go to MassArt, so I lived in Boston for a little while, but there’s just something about Gloucester that just makes me want to stay here forever. I love the community and I love that being an artist is something that is common. It feels like the place to be an artist. I feel like I’ve come to appreciate that in the past 2 or 3 years. Gloucester is a really cool place, especially if you’re an artist, or you like art, or you want to work in art. 

Q: How did you get interested in art in the first place? Did you have any major influences or things that fostered your interest?

A: I think it all started at Gloucester High School, actually, because of Ms. Cerrutti’s classes. I must have taken every single one of her classes, and I wanted to take them all all over again. That’s something I want to do in the future, in the back of my mind I’m always wanting to teach people the way that she taught me. I feel really lucky to have had so many opportunities to take all kinds of classes like those, because a lot of other people our age going to college and high school just have art class, and not all the more specific stuff like Drawing, or Painting. I’ve met so many people who ask me all kinds of questions all the time about how I do certain things, or how I use certain tools. There are so many people that haven’t been able to create things because they weren’t shown how, weren’t taught how to. So, I feel really fortunate to have been shown how, throughout my school career. I took all of Ms. C’s classes, and it was kind of the only thing that I ever wanted to do. Nothing else ever really interested me. So I went to MassArt, which is specifically an art school, and then I transferred this year to Salem State, and now I’m in their art program and it’s amazing. 

Q: So what are you studying right now? Do you have a specific medium or focus you’re majoring in, or is it more general than that?

A: My concentration is in painting. At MassArt, my concentration was called SIM, or Studio for Integrated Media, which is basically where if you do a bunch of different mediums, you can combine them. So I took that, and it kind of made me feel a little frazzled, so now I’m in painting and I’m in love with it. I feel like 2 years ago, I wanted to be obsessed with painting, but I just couldn’t be, and now I feel like I can be. All I think about is painting, and it’s great. 

Q: Do you have anything interesting that you’re working on right now? Any fun upcoming projects?

A: I’m doing a lot of assignments right now. I’m learning how to do printmaking, which is new. I’m in a class called Screen Printing, and I’m excited to do it on clothing and fabrics. That’s a really good way to make and sell things, because it’s definitely harder to sell a painting than a shirt. 

To support Emily Grace, and to keep updated on her works and projects, follow her Instagram, For those interested in purchasing her art, visit her at ArtbyEmilyG on Etsy.