Emma McCaul has been an active member of Calgary’s art scene since 2008 when she opened ART SPOT, a gallery in the main floor of her house. Her gallery gave emerging and alternative style artists a platform to showcase their work, and started the ART SPOT because she had been unsuccessful in finding somewhere to show her urban and provocative artwork. Little by little the community grew, until they outgrew the space and up until recently have relocated to Sunalta, where Motion Gallery will be moving to in September.
She currently curates ART SPOT’s annual art shows, like the Under $100 Art Show and the LOVE Show at large venues across the city. ART SPOT also curates solo shows and group shows for local artists at various venues, bringing art to local restaurants and businesses.
In 2014 ART SPOT teamed up with MarketYYC to facilitate large scale events that showcases local artists and makers. MarketSpot events feature local vendors, artists, food trucks, stages, family friendly programming, live music and more.
It’s hard to categorize Emma art style these days, since she’s done it all, but she identifies herself primarily as a painter and recently began focussing on illustration after a five year stretch where she incorporated mixed mediums into her works. Drawing is very near and dear to her heart as it is how she has chosen to express herself since she was a little girl. Her drawing style is normally feminine and detailed.
She tells us she never gives her art much thought, and will just do it. Also admitting that it is hard to find time to produce art but when she does she feels refreshed and accomplished, a feeling that reminding her that she needs to continue.
Recently finishing a solo exhibition that focused on illustration was a refreshing challenge that she’s happy with. The illustrated black and white collection set in ornate baroque style frames depicts highly detailed scenes of women, animals, and elements of nature.
Emma has also been working on a series of mandalas, which she hope to incorporate into this collection.
For a few years, working with Studio Cartel, she had the opportunity to work with an array of outside the box material, from woodworking, welding, plaster, found objects and textiles in making sculptures and installations. It was during this time that she grew a liking for three dimensional works and hopes to play around with sculptures in the future.
She is influenced by the pop art movement, and drawn to urban graffiti styles but appreciates the depiction of women in art from as far back as she can find.
Due to her circles and work with Art Spot and MarketSpot she also finds great inspiration from artists all around her, and tells us that having opportunity to showcase their works reminds her of the love and dedication that is art, and this reminder pushes her to continue with her own practice.
As a child Emma always excelled in the arts, whether it was visual art or drama. She would spend hours upon hours drawing detailed little scenes, always depicting people, she also loved playing with her my dollhouse – which explains her enamoured fascination with miniatures.
She took art classes at the Ottawa School of Art and also attended the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, where she competed professionally in theatre and received awards. In her mid twenties she enrolled in more courses at ACAD, but quickly remembered she could do better in a self directed environment, and credits much of her artistic skill set to mentors in the art community.
As much as she admits fame and fortune would be nice, these are not what drive her, however she would like to be able to exhibit her art in different countries, or work on collaborative projects with international artists. What’s important to Emma now is that she has the time to work on art, improve her skills, and explore new ideas.
Written by Sandra Montgomery
Edited by Renee Laferriere