I'm a self taught artist, living on the south coast of England in a little market town.
I was born with a pencil in my hand, and spent a lot of my childhood scribbling away furiously, my notebook came everywhere with me. My early teens was lived in the 80's, and I was hugely influenced by all the exotic women you started to see in pop videos like Duran Duran's. I loved Nagel's artwork like the Rio cover, and I also loved all the airbrushed Syd Brak women that were everywhere at that time. I used to draw all sorts, but started gravitating towards sketching from photos of fascinating women I saw in mum's fashion mags or my teen music mags.
My icons at the time were strong glamorous women like Debbie Harry and Kate Bush (and glam men of course like Bowie and Adam Ant). At the same time my fascination with the 'dark side' of life started to show itself as I discovered and grew up on Hammer Horror, the Addams Family, the Munsters, and started to build a collection of ghost/horror books that would also influence my sketches.
I think my burlesque / tattooed lady oil portraits combine inspiration both from the influences of my youth, and from my many years working as a designer for a major cosmetics company in London. I have had a lifelong love of fashion, glamour, kitsch, pin-ups as well as all things ghoulish. Having worked as a designer I am very much caught up in the excitement of creation, and I love the endless creative possibilities that come from painting, and making a canvas come to life. I try to paint subjects who are a little provocative, or challenging, or cheeky or unconventional. I like the painting to have some 'life' or attitude about it. Its great to look to the burlesque world and challenge the conventional idea of what is beautiful, as a woman I'm bored of body image and ideas of beauty fed to us in the media. I like that these girls have an interesting mix of nostalgia (in their costumes), as well as being totally modern women, they are not afraid to be who they want, a fantasy even. I like to make a tribute to them in some way, immortalise them in that moment, celebrating who they are and what they love to do - by doing what I love to do.
And the same goes for my series of film icons, its total nostalgia on my part, and again, a need to make some kind of tribute to those who have influenced me. Emma Mount