Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Children's dreams and heart-filled row boats: Shreveport artist Emily Daye

"Sometimes I hate talking about my art," says Emily S. Daye. "After all, I made it for you! I made it for me too. Or rather I made it to tell you something and see if you felt that way too, maybe."

UnScene attendees have seen 2 of Daye's most impressive pieces in the sunshine of 2014. At the spring Makers Fair UnScene she was one of 3 artists given a steel shipping container in which they could do anything they wanted. Daye created a cloud-filled room filled with small student desks. Each desk offered pencils, paper and crayons for people who wanted to be students in a dream. It was called "Dream Dept."

"Dream Dept." was based on a dream I had about Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird working in a law office," she said. "I think I had this dream because I am a weirdo who works in a law office. All the desks were filled with odds and ends and doo-dads, just like Boo left in the tree for the kids."

At the Wayne White Puppet Parade UnScene she installed a bevy of white-hulled boats on the concrete beside Texas Ave. People rowing the boats had a large fabric heart hung from their neck. It was called "Racing hearts" and was a singularly mystifying sight.

"The vision for "Racing Hearts" came to me when my boyfriend asked me a simple question: "what makes your heart race?". I have always loved the water and boats, so giant hearts racing in rowboats naturally occurred to me."

She observed, "I continue to love drawing, painting and sculpting, but I find the installation method is more enveloping of the viewer. I am really grateful I got this chance through UnScene."

Of her "Racing hearts," writer Michael Sledge commented, "It was a novel and imaginative piece of street art. Looking at it satirically one could say it's a great example of many endeavors with a lot of action with no progress. And, thus, it serves its purpose because art is not measured by going somewhere or doing something but by its mere existence as a feeling and image evoking construction. I can look at this and think of a title "Exercise in Futility" and it reminds me, when I think satirically, of Dali's "The Persistence of Memory."

Daye, who participated on a team in the recent art competition called UnScene! Undisputed!, added that, "I feel all kinds of things at different times, but I think my favourite feeling to get across to anyone is the feeling of whimsy. Whimsy is everywhere, if we only see with the right eyes. Recognizing whimsy can make you feel that anything is possible and I like this, because it truly is."

Who likes her work? She said, "I think it was Picasso who once said, "All children are artists". If that's true, then I think I am in great company. I never make my art with children in mind, but they all really seem to like it-especially with the two last installations. The kids loved going through the desks in "Dream Dept." and making their own little creations. Kids swarmed the boats of "Racing Hearts" after the performance was done, and played make-believe games until it got dark. Let me stress again, I made this art for you, whether you are a kid, just young at heart, or even if you are very grumpy. I hope you feel something when you see my art, otherwise I have failed. I hope that something that you feel lets you know that the world can still be a pretty cool place."

Daye has been named one of the installation artists for the Dr. Blood's Library Macabre event at Artspace Shreveport on Sept 12. Her piece will be based on Poe's "The Mask of the Red Death."

"I learned if the vision is strong enough then the "hard" work-the heavy lifting, the bruises, the sleep loss, is all a breeze. Hard work becomes a joy and whether anyone likes it or not, I have said what i wanted to say and no, no they can't take that away from me, lalala."

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