Talk Tuesday: John Moores 2016 artist, Emma Talbot

Emma Talbot was selected to exhibit in John Moores Painting Prize 2016 with her painting, ‘You come to me in a dream’. Talbot’s freehand paintings recount her own real life experiences and promote an eerie, supernatural thrill. We caught up with her to find out more about how she works.

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What made you enter the John Moores?

The John Moores is an interesting, eclectic exhibition and I like the fact that it's simultaneous with the Liverpool Biennial, so hopefully there's a big and diverse audience. It's great to have my work seen by lots of different people in this context.

How does it feel to be a selected artist for the John Moores?

You never know if you'll be selected when you apply, so it feels like an achievement to be included.

Tell us about your studio...

My studio is in Walthamstow, London, near to where I live. I've been in the same space for about 8 years now. It's a mid-sized studio, with three good big walls to work on. I've built good storage with a desk and shelves to keep all my books, materials and tools etc. So, it's quite well organised.  It's unusual in that it has no windows, which isn't as oppressive as it might sound! Sometimes I come out and I’m surprised to find it has gone dark, or the weather has changed without me knowing. It's a place I can really concentrate and be flexible - as I also make 3 dimensional work and painted hangings on silk etc. and need to work in different ways.

What inspires you?

A lot of non-western art; Indian Miniatures, Japanese Prints, Persian carpets and early paintings such as illuminated manuscripts and painters like Sassetta. I also look at textiles and printed fabric. Otherwise,I  get a lot out of reading Paul Ricoeur, Pablo Neruda, Helene Cixous and from song lyrics.

Why paint?

Good question. It feels like a very natural conduit for my ideas. A lot of what I paint is based on memories of real events, or images from dreams. I'm really aware that we can't photograph those mental images, so painting them and including text in the paintings seems a direct way of relating them.

What do you hope visitors will take away from your work in the John Moores? Do you hope for a certain reaction?

I really hope they find the painting interesting and can get involved with it. Obviously, this is just one example of my work, so it would be great if it led them to look up more of the things I'm doing. If it meant more to anyone and stayed with them in any way, I'd be very happy