Emma Bates (b.1995) is a London based artist who works across multiple disciplines including printmaking, bookbinding, collage, drawing and photography. She graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first BA (Hons) in Illustration in 2017. Emma has exhibited internationally at Bothy Gallery, Southwark Park Gallery, and is a previous winner of the "ones to watch" Strong Island Arts award in 2018.
My current practice explores the notion of inherited memories and the mnemonic significance of family heirlooms. I have been investigating the passing of loved ones and the transient existence of everyday, family life. Using second-hand experiences culled from my grandparents’ photographs and oral histories, my recent work explores life stories that were never mine, but that I have heard time and time again. I manipulate quotidian family photos to archive and construct new narratives, using mediums such as photo transfer, monoprinting and drawing to collage together and create new realities. The static family photographs capture a snippet of time in one frame, allowing me to use my imagination to reconstruct a memory and express a moment from the past merging our lives together.
"Helping Grandad out in the garden tomorrow because spring is on its way and there is lots to do. We wear matching blue overalls while we work and always whistle a tune . The roses have grown tall and blossomed with an abundance of flowers, to show there thanks for my Grandads devotion" - From my journal 2021
“Grandads in the Greenhouse” is a series of monoprints that capture my grandad tending to his garden. The prints are a quick automatic response with hand-drawn elements that record my grandad’s daily rituals. I have photographed the prints back in their original environment that they were inspired by.
Medium:MonoPrint and wax crayon on Somerset paper, Edition of 5.
Size:720mm x 510mm
Grandma’s Words is an artist book that uses my grandparent’s family photographs paired with my grandmother’s oral philosophy and views on the world. This book gathers thoughts and memories, and pairs them with drawings, photo-transfer prints and monoprints. My grandmother has often shared many interesting and humorous sayings that seep into my everyday outlook, such as: “worst things happen at sea” & “the kitchen table is a place to eat your greens and argue”. I have become interested in how we take and receive qualities from each other’s lives—in the same way we inherit belongings, sayings, and habits from our grandparents.
Medium:Artist book, Satin paper , Monoprint, Collage , Photo transfer
Size:12cm x 18cm
“Wish you were here” is inspired by my Grandmother’s memories of when my Grandad was sent to war soon after their wedding day. I wanted to create an imagined pocket treasure that my Grandad could have taken with him while they were apart. Collaging his newly wed photographs with drawing, the imagery captures their time spent on the Southend seafront, with the title inspired by sea-side postcards.