Teija Women - Emma Digerud-White
Teija Women is a new regular feature, bringing you interviews with the creative women and female founders who inspire us. We look at how they wear their favourite Teija pieces and how they weave style into their creative practice.
This month we meet artist Emma Digerud-White whose work has featured on Grayson Perry’s Art Club and the RA Summer Exhibition.
Can you tell us about your journey as an artist; when, how and why did you start creating art?
I can date first wanting to be an artist back to when I was about 9/10 sitting on a prickly green velvet sofa in my grandparents house in Norway where my uncle gave me a drawing he’d done. I thought ‘I want to be an artist, like him, when I’m grown up’. For various reasons it took another 31 years to get to the point of dedicating myself fully to being an artist! I always loved art, visited shows, kept sketchbooks and when I was about 28 started taking short courses around other jobs, then in lockdown I decided to go for it and enrolled in a course with the Newlyn Art School called Defining Practice and I’m currently on their Mentoring Course.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a constant confusion and questioning of myself and the world around me. I have so many thoughts, I’m very glad I finally have a place to put them to be honest as it can be exhausting and very confusing at times. My home and my family are key influences on me, they’re where I come to feel safe and also where I dedicate myself to making them feel safe.
I read a lot about brains and human behaviour, neurobiology, neurodivergence, sociology etc and this often ends up informing my work in some way or another. I often don’t realise this until I’ve finished a painting, it’s like it reads something back to me when it’s done.
Your work combines paint, digital drawing and photography. What drew you to these mediums?
I absolutely love paint, particularly acrylic, so much so that I want to eat it! Which I think is a form of synesthesia! Don’t worry, I don’t actually eat it. There is some kind of magic that happens between your hand, the brush and the surface with painting and I hope I never fully understand it! Digital drawing feels like it uses another part of my brain but I still love it. The way you can just pick up a stylus and make marks on the screen of your tablet just p-wins up this whole world of possibilities, it’s so fun and very freeing. And then photography has this ability to capture this nano second in time and reveal so much about a person or a place or a time, something that would otherwise be lost. It’s a powerful art.
Your work was selected for Grayson Perry’s Art Club. Can you tell us a bit about how this came about?
Oh my gosh this was such an exciting moment, I had just put my children to sleep when my Mum messaged me to say ‘OMG Grayson just showed your artwork!’ so I raced to the tv and caught it on catch-up. Grayson’s Art Club was running alongside me deciding to go for it as an artist so I was following the theme each week and making art, then sending it in, and then it got selected in his top 3 for the theme of ‘Love’. I had a to send in a two minute video explaining the piece which took me ages to pluck up the courage to do but I’m so glad I pushed through! The I entered another piece for the theme of ‘Inside my head’ and I was selected again, I couldn’t believe it! I got to meet Grayson and Philippa and they were both awesome, as you’d expect.
Your piece Need You More is exhibited in the 2023 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. What inspired this work and how do you feel about your work being selected?
I was absolutely thrilled, as you can see in my celebration video on Instagram! I have long admired the Royal Academy and the shows it has put on. I have a poster in my home from the time I travelled on the coach from Leicester with my friend Jake to see Apocalypse over 20 years ago (!) so to have my work on the wall there feels incredibly special.
How would you describe your fashion/style?
Hmmmm my style, I need clothes that I can dance in and move about in freely, made of natural breathable materials with a little flare of detail here and there.
I like mixing things together, something super smart with something super casual. Like Teija’s beautiful dress with my painting trousers and boots! Perfect.
What’s your favourite piece from Teija’s Hendra collection and why?
I love Teija’s designs, you can tell she is a true creative and that she’s making art when she designs her pieces. The Hendra collection is classic with a modern romanticism to it, effortless style.