EP 03: The Mystery Of Nature With Artist Emily Johnston
Emily Johnston is an artist and photographer whose work takes her around the world exploring the intimate landscapes of our relationships to each other and to our environments. In this episode of the Our Nature Podcast, Emily shares how the mystery of the natural world has been a source of consistent exploration for her art and for her life. From growing up in Paris to living in New York City and finally finding a home in upstate NY, Emily’s journey is one of curiosity, creativity and a perpetual dialogue with nature. Her Ash Drawing series wherein she scattered ash from communal fires out onto the snow explores the significance of ritual, impermanence, memory, and presence. This episode is inspiring for anyone who has looked to nature for inspiration and collaboration. We’re all artists and creators engaging in some sort of conversation with the natural world. This is Emily’s story. I hope you enjoy it!
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COMPLETE SHOW NOTES
- What it was like for Emily to grow up in Europe and her relationship to nature as a child
- Sources of early inspiration for Emily when she lived in the city and how she began to develop a dialogue with the natural world
- How the work of Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Sally Mann influenced her photography
- How growing up in a religious community shaped how Emily began to view the world
- On moving to New York and creating collages using photographs, National Geographic magazines and gold foil wrappers from Mast Brothers chocolates
- How spending three months in the Catskills turned into a permanent move Upstate
- How being in upstate NY helped her reconnect with her inner voice and inspired her Ash Drawing series
- How rituals inspired the Ash Drawing series and how it became an ongoing auto-biographical series
- Reactions to the Ash Drawing series and what people see in her work
- How her work has shaped her experience of the natural world
- What is means to record the intimate landscapes of our relationships to each other and to our environments
- Her latest project, a portrait of the island of Iona
- The inevitability of grief in our relationship with nature and how we must confront the reality of what we’ve done to our environment
- The last five questions with Emily Johnston
THE LAST 5 QUESTIONS:
- What is your favorite place in nature?
- What is the animal, mineral or plant that resonates with you the most?
- What is one thing we can do right now to connect with the natural world and bring more harmony into our lives?
I think stop and slow down and breathe the air we’re breathing consciously.
- What’s the greatest lesson nature has taught you?
That I’m a being that’s a part of something and not separate from what’s around me.
- Nature brings me…