Artist…Graphic Designer…Fashion Ambassador—EMILY ARMSTRONG
Emily Armstrong was recently featured along with her prototype poster in The Wall Street Journal’s article, “Big Marketers on Campus”, April 4, 2012. Emily, a college ambassador for Stylitics - a fashion social-networking site was asked by its co-founders to create a recruitment poster for their new High School Ambassador Program. She incorporated her knowledge of fine arts and fashion into the creation of that poster. Combining fine arts and fashion has been a theme that took on new meaning when she was directly involved in the process. “Actually a lot of the fine art I’ve done lately is on my blog. The sharpie drawings, a lot of them, were taken from real photographs that I took in the back of a fashion show. The models were right in front of me, so I had my source materials as a personal experience instead of a Google image. Some of my newer things are like collages of the whole thing,” said Emily.
Born in Texas, Emily and her family moved back to Jefferson City, MO when she was only 8 years old. Her interest in art started at a young age when her mother would offer a color marker as an incentive to get her to take her medicine. “One marker from a new marker pack, that was enough because I had a new color. So then, it was great because I ended up with the whole pack and I could be an artist with all colors,” said Emily. While attending Helias High School, Emily participated in Jefferson City’s annual Sketch Day where she usually placed either first, second, or third.
Emily is currently a junior BFA student in the MU Department of Art where she has a double emphasis in Graphic Design and Drawing. Although she is not getting credit, she is still taking the full workload for Drawing, so she gets to do both. “I enjoy both of them but I probably prefer the actual fine art, because I like to be “hands-on” and deal with the materials. It’s the romantic idea of an artist that I love. I don’t have that as much with Graphic Design, but I enjoy Graphic Design also, because I don’t feel like I’m neglecting that creative part of myself.”
When asked why she chose Art as her major, she replied, “I’ve always been the one who searches for what is deeper. I’m not afraid of a challenge at all and I thought Art was going to be that challenge. If I made it in Art, I knew I could make it anywhere. It’s like the New York City of all possible majors … if you can make it there… you can make it anywhere. Art is very challenging, and I wanted to prove it to myself and my family.”
And proving it is exactly what Emily Armstrong set out to do. With the encouragement of her instructors at MU, she started applying to all the major fashion companies in New York City. With no previous experience in fashion and one course in Fibers from MU, she secured an internship with Donna Karan, a New York fashion designer in her fabric department in 2011. During her internship with Karan, she saw first-hand how fine arts and fashion could be bridged or incorporated. She witnessed the work of a Haitian artist, who painted on fabric and inspired an entire collection. This bridging of fine art and fashion is really interesting to Emily. “I’m not sure if I would want to paint on fabric necessarily, but I would like to try to find a way to get into that world.”
While in New York City, Emily had an opportunity to attend the Fashion Campus New York, a program developed by Parsons School of Design, the City of New York, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). This program brought together all the fashion interns in the city. While networking there, she met the co-founders of Stylitics and, through an exchange of emails, she was asked to become one of their student ambassadors. “So it was a lot about being in New York and meeting people,” said Emily.
Emily is now working on getting an internship in a graphic design fashion company. “I’m trying to bridge fashion and graphic design so I can deal with clothes, but also use my skills to talk about it. I wish I can find out how to incorporate fine arts into that even doing art on the side and trying to network and get into that industry.” A skill she feels she must develop in order to become a marketable employee to graphic design firms is in web design.
There are several artists and designers who have influenced Emily and her style of work. For example, recently while doing prints in Printmaking with Assistant Professor Chris Daniggelis, he commented on the similarity between her work and that of a 1900’s artist named John Sloan. After doing research on Sloan, Emily found that his prints, which dealt with the social lower class of New York City in the 1900s, were indeed similar to her style. “I guess I am also commenting on a social class like the middle-class America. So in both the technical and conceptual terms, we’re like friends, trying to connect.” Artists have always research other artists, but for Emily it has been a passion since she was little. She has this archive of information from year to year, so she personally draws a lot of inspiration from the minimalist fashion designers like Jil Sanders and Marc Jacobs. A good example of incorporating fine arts and fashion was done by Jil Sanders, who last season actually did a sweater from a Picasso painting and turn it into knitwear.
Bridging the world of fine arts and fashion is a goal for Emily Armstrong. She has the confidence, ambition, and most importantly the talent to achieve this goal. Look out, New York City, because Emily is preparing to come and conquer whether it is in the art world or in the fashion world, she’ll definitely make it there.
For more information about Emily Armstrong, visit her blog website at http://www.emilykarmstrong.wordpress.com
View the Wall Street Journal’s article, “Big Marketers on Campus”
View Stylitic’s High School Ambassador recruitment poster created by Emily Armstrong
By Brenda Warren