Emma Sargeant
   
  
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      How did you come to do what you do?     I was originally groomed to be a professional dancer. I studied classical ballet and modern intensely in London and unfortunately injured my hamstring too many times and fell ill which limited my physical ability to perform at maximum capacity. It was very difficult to accept. Valuing the importance of creative expression, I started to paint. I was never formally trained at school, my teacher, who was a fiery welshman, either loved his students’ work or would throw a chair and advise the less successful student to reconsider their path. He liked my work, perhaps because it was a bit dark, and he gave me full access to the studio and allowed me to play with all materials available. When I moved to Seattle, I continued to paint, mostly portraits of old men and martyrs as I was exploring how life’s challenges shaped [by] facial expressions. I have always loved people and learning their history. Every experience changes how people grow and react and with painting, I have aimed at connecting the ingenuity of a person’s being with the viewer, especially as technology has rapidly developed and desensitizing the primal language of human nature.
   
  
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      Do you feel fulfilled by your work?     I am extremely fulfilled by what I do. I am confident that my work is a positive contribution to the world. My objective in my art has always been the urgency to have humans connect and not deny their hearts of feeling as I am afraid that we are pushed too far to survive and succeed without enjoying [the] simplicity of being alive. Some of my work focuses on social issues like sexual assault and bodies being taken for granted. Those pieces are more personal as I purge a lot of pain, but it also creates awareness of the effects of being violated. I have been lucky to sell my paintings at times of financial hardship as a way to survive. I don’t focus on making sellable work anymore as it compromises the integrity, I have also become picky in regards to where my work goes as I want its message to be valued. Often I give work away so fine art can be accessible to everyone, painting is falling weak with competition from digital film, photography, and more stimulating mediums.
   
  
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      Where else do you derive creative/emotional/intellectual fulfillment?     Almost everything! I love to read about history, philosophy and art. At the moment I am reading the ‘Tropic of Cancer’ which has inspired a set of recent paintings. ‘The World Before 1945’ has affected my take on war and the regret of the atomic bomb. I shouldn’t read the news, but I do. It’s important to be aware of the current events and the different perspectives to remember how fleeting life is. Music always influences my mood and inspires the way I look at my surroundings. I love people. I adore those who are aware of what they value, people who share their passions and embrace their strengths and weaknesses. The strongest people are those who are humble and can forgive. I have often spent time with people who’ve had qualities I admired and wanted to be like.    Being by the sea and in a field is my ultimate fulfillment.  I was raised in the countryside in England and the most beautiful and inspiring thing is to watch the seasons change, colors and smells, rotating crops in the fields. Sitting by the ocean feels like I have come home. The sea holds so much life, constantly washing life to shore and washing it back, eternally moving. Take me to the sea and I feel whole again!
   
  
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      What do you do for a living?     A “starving artist.” My passion to create visual messages with a variety of media like paint, oil pastel, collage, and whatever I have access to. To supplement my art, I get crafty with resourcing material and have been working at cafes and restaurants. I enjoy the flexibility and interactions with a variety of people, observing social habits, and working with my hands in high-volume settings. I used to be an optician which was a challenging job but the monotony of working with insurance companies and the 9-5 schedule was difficult to accommodate the time and energy to explore my art. I’d rather be a bit hungry and feel free to create.
   Name one instance that made you feel vulnerable, unprepared, and/or scared:     Losing everything and going somewhere unknown without a plan, money, or anyone I knew.     What helped you navigate that challenge?     Remembering what I live for. Remembering my values. Remembering I am lucky to be alive. I know myself and know what I am capable of. Take one day at a time because the past can never be changed and the future is unseen.
   Name one thing that inspires you:     The goodness in people.
   How do you maintain that feeling when that source of inspiration is not readily available to you?     I write letters to friends, look at old pictures of people I don’t know, watch ‘Barefoot in the Park’ with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. I seek for something to make my heart melt. Sweet old men eating lunch by themselves with their big, hungry eyes that make them look like little boys will always melt my heart.             
   
  
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      Who do you have a girl crush on? Why?     Jane Fonda. She’s smart, witty, talented, healthy, caring, and a fox.        Who are you intimidated by? Why?     Amazon Drones because they would be denying the virtue of patience and thus compromise human nature. Anti-social technology and instant-gratification enhances entitlement and the “redundancy” to interact with anyone.
   What’s a meaningful piece of advice you have been given, and who gave it to you?     The only person you can rely on is yourself. My ma told me that. She also said, “What happens to shy people? Nothing! You reap what you sow.”     At what age did you feel most vulnerable, and why?     I don’t think a particular age has been the most vulnerable, I’d consider myself as pretty strong but there have been unfortunate situations that have been unsafe or emotionally challenging and I didn’t have enough tools to cope with them or a good support network or I was too naive and trusting.     What advice would you share with that former self?     Nothing, my former self would benefit from the character building.
   
  
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      How do you see your life 30 years from now?     Living by the sea, painting, and tasting the salt in the air!     What steps are you taking currently to achieve that vision of your future?     Being the best person I can be, painting and drawing as much as I can, learning from as many books I can read and letting go of things and people and fears that hold me back.
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