Emma Tay

Emma is a jolly 7-year-old (Singapore) who enjoys using a myraid of colours in her painting. She has a head full of stories and that is why her pieces are often narratives with named subjects. A very articulate girl, she recounts her tales effortlessly while she immerses herself in art.  She also likes to do crafts—cutting being her favourite thing to do during the creative process.

Emma the Astronaut 
Acrylic paint on paper. Before Emma’s space expedition, she designed her own spacesuit which is predominantly white with colourful accents.

First artwork: Self-Portrait
Paper collage. For this piece, Emma chose the unicorn as an animal to represent herself. She loves this mystical creature and used rainbow colours for her mane and tail. Before she drew the unicorn, she pasted magazine paper on the drawing board to create a textured background. Then she gave it a wash of pink and golden yellow acrylic paint, making sure that the paint wasn’t too thick so that the texture of the background could show through. Next, she cut out adjectives (that described how she was) from magazines/newspapers and incorporated them into this collage. 

Second artwork: Artist Study: Karin Zeller / Fish
Acrylic paint and markers on paper. Emma studied Australian artist Karin Zeller’s series of abstract fish before she attempted her own version. She painted the background and fish with solid colours. Next step was to add patterns on the colour blocks using markers. In this composition, Emma said that the big fish was the Mama fish, and that she was teaching the baby fish how to swim.

First artwork: Artist Study: Pete Cromer / Ella the Singing Peacock
Paper collage. Emma studied Australia collage artist Pete Cromer’s work, focusing on his parrot collage. For the subject, she preferred to draw a peacock instead. She started the collage with painting the background first, adding bold white swipes of paint as a framework for the peacock’s grand tail. Next, she drew and painted the feathers on a separate piece of paper, cut them out and pasted them on the background. She also created the peacock’s head and body and included them in the collage. Emma named this peacock Ella, made her a purple name tag and pasted it on the neck. She also made two speech bubbles containing the lyrics of Ella’s song, because this peacock loved to sing! 

Second artwork: Sophia the Hungry Dinosaur
Mixed media on paper. Emma learned all about Automatism before she attempted this piece. In art, automatism refers to creating art without conscious thought, accessing material from the unconscious mind as part of the creative process. To start, Emma drew random lines on the paper with her eyes shut. Then she had to interpret her own abstract drawing and she decided that the lines formed the shape of a dinosaur. Next, she added bright colours to this creature, and incorporated colourful gemstones because Sophia the dinosaur liked jewels. She was a very hungry dinosaur who gobbled up veggies, meat, blueberries and even diamonds! On the left foot of Sophia, there is a name tag showing her nickname, which is Sofa. According to Emma, Sophia’s friends called her Sofa because they couldn’t pronounce her actual name properly.

Third artwork: Overlapping Hedgehogs
Acrylic paint on paper. In this piece, Emma learned how to draw overlapping objects and her choice of subject was hedgehogs, as she was inspired by Hedgy, her hedgehog nightlight. Emma drew and painted overlapping hedgehogs to fill up the entire piece of paper. She also gave them names. On a separate piece of paper, she created accessories such as hair bands, tiaras, hats, bow ties and pretty outfits for each of them, and pasted them on the painting. Each hedgehog was different and wore a different accessory. They were trying to outdress one another. Who is the fairest of them all? And oh, can you spot Hedgy?

First artwork: Ice-cream-topus
Acrylic paint and markers on paper. The idea for this painting is Foodtopus, which is an octopus with a head that is a food item. Emma likes ice cream and decided that three scoops of ice cream (blueberry, cranberry and green apple) on a dish would be the octopus’ head. This sea creature is a sugar junkie who thrives on brightly-coloured lollipops and PEZ candies! 

Second artwork: Deep Sea Turtle
Mixed media. This is an exercise for blending colours. Emma created a deep sea background by blending white, light blue, medium blue, dark blue and black. On a separate piece of paper, she drew and painted corals and a fish. Then she cut them out and pasted them onto the background. After which, she used superdough to make a turtle. She also used clay modelling tools to create texture on the turtle. Once the clay was dry, she painted the turtle with colours. The turtle was then affixed onto the background by glue. 

First artwork: Fish
Colour pencils on paper. This was a colour pencil exercise using a various techniques like shading, cross-hatching, stippling and scumbling.

Second artwork: Prints
Acrylic prints on paper. Using cardboard as a stamp, Emma created patterns and this was her first attempt at printing. 

Third artwork: Unicorn Puppet
Papercraft. Emma sketched her unicorn puppet on her sketchbook before she proceeded to drawing shapes that made up the body parts. Then she used acrylic paint to add colours to each piece. The pieces were then held together by twist ties in a way that did not restrict the movement of each part. This unicorn (named Rainbow) is articulated and is also one of the characters in a lot of Emma’s stories!

Since Emma has such an imaginative mind, we wanted to find out more about the stories she created through her work: 

1. What was the first thing Rainbow the Unicorn Puppet do on the day she was created?
The first thing Rainbow did was to run in the air.

2. If Sophia the Hungry Dinosaur meets Ice-cream-topus one day, what would she ask him?
“Can I eat you?” Sophia likes to eat ice cream, and her favourite flavours are blueberry, cranberry and green apple. 

3. Why does Ella the Singing Peacock like to sing?
She likes to sing because she writes nonsensical songs. 

4. What do the overlapping hedgehogs like to do when they gather in a big group?
They like to put on make-up and style their spikes.