Let us introduce you to Emma, a painter, drawer and lover of mixed media, who lives with her beautiful little family on the Mornington Peninsula in Rye, Melbourne. With an imagination inspired by her children, Emma Labattaglia brings to the world of “all things kid” an extremely unique, simple & lovable contribution, which we couldn’t be more grateful for.
HAVING A CHAT WITH EMMA LABATTAGLIA….
Could you start by introducing us to you and your family?
My name is Emma Labattaglia, I’ve been with my husband for about 15 years now! I met him when I was 18. We have two little boys, Pax is 3 and Hart is 3 months.
Where were you born and where are you living right now?
I was born in Melbourne but as my husband has a strong love for surfing we started our lives on the Mornington Peninsula in Rye.
What would you say is your strongest artistic influence?
I must say it is constantly changing, and has definitely changed since becoming a mum. I love Miranda Skoczecs‘ work and how she sees things. I think a child’s mind is amazing, if we could only keep the imagination we had as a child! So I would say ‘trying’ to see things through their eyes is an influence. It’s almost like you have to ‘unteach’ everything you’ve been taught as an artist in some ways.
Tell us all about the place or space where you do most of your creating?
Where ever I can get it done! Painting is hard as you need a large space where you don’t need to worry about mess. We are in the process of building a house so I am actually getting a studio which will cater to that-very exciting! And drawing I absolutely love, all I need is my work table (which is quite large). I guess I just put things up around me that make me smile, that mean something to me or that’s visually pleasing.
Artistically, what is the medium that you tend to lean towards and why?
I am always torn between drawing and painting. So recently I’ve combined the two. I’ve always loved mixed media and collage. Drawing is the one thing though that’s always been there since I was young.
What was it that led you to your chosen style, was it one thing or a number of things that helped you develop the style that you’re now able to call your own?
I think it’s a very hard thing to find your style. I look back at when I was at art school, I studied Fine Arts Painting, and I definitely had no idea! I think I’ve figured out the less you try to think about it the more you discover it. The more art you do, without thinking about it, it then develops.
What sorts of things have you got in the mix for the future (or what have we got to look forward to?!)?
I’m so excited for the future! I’m just in the discussion stage of selling prints through some very cool kid’s websites. Yay! I’ve just done a series of drawings for the kids brand Bandit Kids. I’m so excited about this. Such a lovely Mumma starting this brand and she’s done an amazing job! Also I’m super excited I’ve done a few drawings for Mini and Maximus! I’ve always had enormous respect for this brand and where they come from, so I was so, so excited when I got to draw for them.
What helps you decide the sorts of things that will appeal to children OR parents of children?
Since having my own children it made me realise there’s a lot of stuff out there that doesn’t appeal to me. I think my aim is to create images that appeal to parents just as much as it does to kids. As we all know, us Mamma’s love surrounding ourselves with things that we find visually pleasing! So I like that they can be for all ages.
If you were to hold a workshop on “art & designing for children” what sorts of things would you teach?
Play, play, play! I’ve taught kiddies before and I think it’s just so important to get them to think outside the square and use their imagination, not worrying about what it’s going to look like in the end. This comes naturally to some children but a lot can be very focused on it looking ‘perfect’. Mixed media is great to get their focus away from this, so playing with line, colour, and collage to create a picture of some sort.
What would you say is ‘the job that got you on the road to success’?
I think it’s yet to be released..!
When you sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, what’s the first thing you usually doodle?
I am hopeless, it must be the little girl in me, if I’m just sitting there with paper and a pen I always end up drawing hearts.
Who is your favourite child related artist?
The first artist/author that came into my mind was Anthony Browne. There’s something about his children’s books, they really appeal to adults too.
How do your kids respond to the work you create?
It’s actually such a nice thing to see my little boy Pax responding to my work. He will come and look at it and say, ‘Mummy I like that one, but not that one!’, and ‘I think I’ll have that one on my wall’. It’s the cutest thing to see. He always has a huge smile on his face when first setting his eyes on a drawing too, I love that I can give him that in his life.
Has Pax ever offered you inspiration for your art?
Yes he has, I think the first things I drew were animals Pax liked, and it just evolved from there.
How can we see or purchase more of your amazing work?
I am just in the process of stocking a few online stores which I’m so excited about. If you are following my Instagram account ‘paxandhart’ I’ll keep you updated on where they can be found!
EMMA LABATTAGLIA | ‘paxandhart‘ on Instagram
INTERVIEW | Sophie Gidoomal