Emily Moores is a visual artist making work that consists of hand-cut and ornately layered materials.

Working in large-scale installations, Emily's work investigates the playful engagement of the body as essential to understanding and experiencing spaces or objects.

The texture of Moores' work tells its story. "Texture displays an object's relationship (or lack of) to a body, reveals if it is well used or untouched, and can display its history or age," says Moores.  

"My work investigates the affective dimension of texture: the intimate interaction with an individual's feelings and body without physical touch. Movement is required to fully view my work. Individuals walking back and forth through a space have a new experience with their second or third viewing of my installations."

The bright, playful textures of Moores' work create a sensory experience for anyone who enters the space. The work encourages movement and exploration. 

"I am interested in the movement of a body as essential to understanding and experiencing spaces or objects," said Moores. "I am inspired by tactility, and its ability to immaterially communicate feeling."

Artwork Archive had the chance to ask Emily Moores a bit about her art practice and how she views the trajectory of her art career.

You can see more of her work on the Discovery Platform and read on to hear about how she creates her vibrant installations and makes her art career grow.


Has your work changed over time—do you find yourself understanding your art career through different periods of expression?

My artwork has definitely changed over time. When I graduated from graduate school, my artwork was entirely white. I had a lot of anxiety about using color. I felt like I was never going to be able to explain my choices in regard to a color palette. So I completely avoided it.

After I had my oldest child, I began to relax. I love watching my children explore the world. Everything seems to have a new excitement: rocks, leaves, and sticks. Little things that were once insignificant are now very special. I built a play area for my girls in my studio. They play alongside me as I create art. Their love of mark-making and colors has been inspirational. It has given me a new excitement for colors, and I feel especially grateful.

I enjoy the process of making more than I ever have before. I have embraced joy and playfulness in the content of my artwork, and it feels like a natural fit.


Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process?

My favorite part of my process is repetitive labor. I love spending time with the tiny details. I love cutting repetitive patterns on large sheets of paper using Xacto blades. 

Sometimes, I have to force myself to take a break and work on the overall layout.

I find that the tedious parts of my practice are meditative. They are relaxing, and I feel really connected to my materials. 

Ground Blossom by Emily Moores. Paint and paper, 12 x 11.5 x 1.5 in. 

What has your artistic education consisted of (formal or not)? If you did receive a formal education like an MFA, did you find it necessary for your artistic growth, or did you find that elsewhere?

I received a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art in painting in 2008. I received my MFA in studio art in 2014 from the University of Cincinnati.

Personally, I found higher education very helpful in my art career. It gave me the structure I needed to push and challenge myself. 

I took a four-year break after my BFA. This break gave me the chance to make sure that being an artist was what I really wanted to do with my life. I think sometimes taking time to bumble around isn’t as valued as it should be.

I really felt lost artistically during this time. I made the worst artwork I have ever made. It was a struggle, but this time also gave me the insight to make my time during my MFA meaningful.

When I returned to school, I had the maturity to make the most of my education. It made me purposeful in my coursework. Instead of signing up for classes because I had to, sometimes I used independent studies to create an opportunity to learn what I needed. I used an independent study to learn about tax codes. I also requested to take a leadership course for credit in another college at the university.

I feel that my time in graduate school was well spent. Part of the reason it was a good fit for me was taking time to fail and feel lost between undergrad and grad school.


What routines—art-making and administrative—are essential to success in your art career?

I don’t know that I have a routine in the traditional sense.

The first step in my process is to build a model of the gallery space. I then can begin to create the individual elements once I have a general idea of the layout. Many times, I will restart my process as I work with my materials. Starting from the beginning with my model helps me challenge myself in terms of what I want from the space, and it helps me push my vision.


Why did you decide to inventory and archive your artworks?

Before using Artwork Archive, I was completely disorganized with my artwork. I would rename and re-measure pieces every time I applied to an exhibition. I tried using spreadsheets, and it was still hard for me to manage.

Having an inventory that uses photos makes things a lot simpler. A big part of my problem was that all my information was saved in different spots on my computer. I had a hard time keeping track. Then I would try to create a spreadsheet, but I would forget about it. 

As I have created more artwork over the years and participated in more exhibitions, my need to organize my inventory of artwork has increased. I need to track where artworks are located or when they get shipped out/returned. This is a little too much for one spreadsheet.

Wild Whimsy by Emily Moores. Paper, wood and fabric, 180 x 360 x 120 in. "Whether a quick glance or an in-depth gaze, I aim to momentarily take individuals into a brief vacation. Tactile patterns become visible or are obscured as one walks through space. Movement is required to fully view my work. Individuals walking back and forth through a space have a new experience with their second or third viewing of my installations," says Moores.

What advice would you give an emerging artist during this time?

Someone once gave me the advice to have 16 different mentors/role models at any given time.

Sometimes using just one person as a mentor or role model for guidance can put us in the position of being unrealistic with our expectations. Things that work for one person don’t work for everyone.

Instead of trying to mimic another artist’s strategy or studio practice, looking to multiple artists can help determine what is best for our own practice.

There are things that I love about my practice that might make another artist miserable. I have privileges in my life that not everyone has and comparing yourself to me might hold you back from what you need. For example, I am raising children in a committed relationship. My time management in balancing art with child-rearing is completely different from an artist who is a single parent. For an artist who is a single parent, there are certain things that may be helpful to learn from me (like having a play area in your studio and working alongside your children), but there are things that will be completely different and not helpful at all. Having multiple role models can give us a better opportunity to define what we want success to look like. Not everyone is happy with the same lifestyle or studio practice.


Emily Moores found organization with Artwork Archive. 

You can save time measuring, looking through files, and digging up information just like Emily has. Take a look at Artwork Archive's free 30-day trial and ditch the spreadsheets. 

Art inventory should be visual. That's why Artwork Archive made a visual database for artists to track and manage their artworks, so they can spend less time using Excel and more time in the studio. 

Create a visual archive of your artworks with a free 30-day trial of Artwork Archive