Arts4All Blog

CSMA Alumni Feature - Emily Small

Posted September 7th, 2017  |  By A4A.admin

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This fall, we’re highlighting CSMA alumni whose experiences here have inspired them to pursue their artistic education further and even work professionally as musicians and artists. First up, we have Emily Small, a former CSMA art student (and Los Altos High School grad) who is a senior at the Rhode Island School of Design! Learn more about Emily’s experience at CSMA, what she’s doing now, and her advice for aspiring artists!

Emily Small, RISD Student

How did you get started in the arts?

I have always been interested in art; I get a lot of it from my grandmother who was also an artist and has always brought a lot of creativity into my life. Growing up I feel like it was constantly in the background, and something I really loved. When I went into high school and was presented with the option to be in the arts world professionally, I began taking more serious art and design classes that jump started my education and career path.

What was your favorite class you took at CSMA?

I took a ceramic wheel throwing class with Jonathan Huang. It was something I hadn’t done before and I loved working with clay. I think the whole class was really enjoyable and taught me so much, I still do ceramics in college when I can and try to keep up the practice in combination with my degree.

What are you up to now?

This summer I worked at Free People (part of the Urban Outfitters group) with the print design team making fabrics for the summer, and this fall, I entered my senior year at the Rhode Island School of Design in their textile design department.

How did CSMA help you prepare for your arts endeavors?

It gave me a lot of confidence in myself as an artist. I started taking technical classes in high school which is late in the game in comparison to some of my peers at RISD, so I took a still life drawing class at CSMA during my senior year. There were people of all ages in the course but everyone grew together in skill. Age didn’t matter, you could always grow as an artist.

What advice do you have for young, aspiring artists?

Remember that this is something you love to do and keep doing it no matter what. There will always be a painting that doesn’t come together or a bad critique from a professor, but you can’t experience the pride of creating really good art without also failing sometimes.

Also, take classes in things you wouldn’t expect yourself to enjoy or be good at! I always thought I was an illustrator until I stepped out of my comfort zone and took ceramics and knitting. I ended up loving both so much I’m now in a field I would have never expected to be in and I love it!

Tags: art-school