Almost a year ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing painter Emerald Rose Whipple, who shared more about her collaboration with World of McIntosh, the power of New York’s undeniable energy, and how intimacy and capturing private moments play such a large role in her artistic corpse and identity. When I first saw Emerald’s work in-person at WoM (John Swiatek & Hanne Gaby Odiele, Poland Springs, 2013 is one my favorites), I was blown away by her innate ability to recreate the fun, laughter, and quick fleeting moments between her friends captured in a polaroid on canvas. I’d be remiss not to mention that nostalgia is at an all-time high as we adapting to new ways of connecting with one another, our interests and hobbies, and experiencing art. What has not changed is Emerald’s kinetic energy and ability to capture human connection, a very welcome reminder of what we need and might be missing at this moment.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Emerald who is using this time to further practice a sense of universal responsibility, to work not only for her own wellbeing but also for the benefit of the greater good. Right now, she is working on two major projects that further her passion for philanthropy and the causes she cares about; Emerald is launching two prints in collaboration with the charities Orange Babies and UNICEF with 100% of the proceeds directed towards each organization. These initiatives help provide health care, immunizations, clean water, education, and emergency relief to aid the world’s most vulnerable children: orphans who struggle every day to survive. Having been adopted as an infant, Emerald’s work serves as a reminder to the many disenfranchised children out there who don’t have the resources to fulfill their basic human needs: “I am focusing on orphaned and abandoned children as I was fortunate enough to be adopted at a young age. I want to help children who have not had the same fortune and give them an opportunity to dream of a better life and reach their goals,” says Emerald.
The pandemic has put a lot into perspective and while it’s been hard to put a pause on normalcy, it’s important to remember that you can either squander time or use it well. In Emerald’s case, this time during lockdown allowed her to further her interest in philanthropy and find creative solutions to causes that are important to her: “I truly believe that we are all connected and that if we can learn to help one another the world would be a better place for all of us. I try to visualize the kind of world I want to live in and let my actions be an example of that. I think we all wish that we could do more. I try to stay centered amidst everything. It can be frustrating and extremely emotional to open oneself up to the suffering that happens across the world. There is a lot I wish I had the means to support but I am very grateful that I can use my art as a vehicle to bring positive change.”
I mentioned this in my last article, but what I love most about Emerald’s work as a whole is her emphasis on human connection, interaction, and quick fleeting moments. In a world that right now feels topsy turvy, Emerald has remained centered and connected to her work. While talking about her recent projects, Emerald explains “most of my time was spent researching and developing these initiatives. I did several meditation retreats in addition to child rights summits and webinars to better understand the field of work I am entering. Human Connection and human interaction are deeply important to my work, but I like to think that it goes beyond that, especially the works about nature. They are really about honoring life, which is such a fragile and precious gift.”
The Emerald Rose Whipple | EXHALE Print is an initiative to support, celebrate, and raise awareness of Orange Babies. The artist created the print in lieu of an activation to be held in Zambia that was postponed due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerald Rose Whipple X UNICEF is aimed to support UNICEF USA in its mission to provide aid to vulnerable children around the world who are existentially threatened by this COVID-19 global crisis. To dive deeper into the individual partnerships, Emerald is offering three open prints: two in collaboration with Orange Babies (launched November 1st) and one in collaboration with UNICEF launching World Children’s Day (November 20th). The EXHALE prints are two stylistic representations pulled from a diptych entitled ‘Venus, Aether Sunset’ from the artist Phædo series.
Her upcoming work with Orange Babies and UNICEF are both very research-heavy, rooted in philosophy, as well as different religious and spiritual works. Plato’s work has always been a grounding force for the artist and has played a significant role in the reimagining of these prints for Orange Babies. Emerald explains, “the title Phædo came as a tribute to Socrates as quoted by Plato in a dialogue centered on the transmigration of the soul and the infinite interconnectedness of life. Phædo is curated to exemplify reincarnation, as the portraits flow into the landscapes. The juxtaposition of the human form and the natural landscape acts as a bridge between the material realm and the infinite unknown. This duality is expressed by linking portraiture and nature. The portraiture marks our human experience, which makes pure communion with the immortal soul through nature. The natural landscape acts as a bridge between the material realm and divinity. It depicts the interconnected nature of all life.”
While the original work belongs to a private collector, the use of the images are a courtesy of both the artist and the collector to support mothers and children who are at the most risk from the global Covid-19 pandemic. The diptych will be separated into 2 prints ‘Venus’ and ‘Aether Sunset’ which will be listed at $250 unsigned and $500 signed with 100% of the revenue directed towards Orange Babies.
Lastly, we dove into what it’s been like for the art world during this pandemic and how to handle missing seeing art in person. “In regards to the art world, witnessing art is such an important part of my process that was missing. I love looking at art and really feeling it. Under normal conditions I like to spend hours at the museums, sitting with a few paintings or gallery hopping. I had a harder time with physical space from art then the social isolation, as it informs so much of my life. I feel art the way most people feel music, it just hits me like a wave. I looked at art in books and some of the online shows but as a painter I really need to experience a painting in person, to see the brushwork and the textural interaction of light and shadow on an art piece. Since things have opened in September I have spent almost everyday visiting galleries and museums. I definitely feel more restored and nourished from the experience,” says Emerald.
The Emerald Rose Whipple | EXHALE Prints are currently available here and the UNICEF print will be available on the artist’s website from November 20th, 2020.
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Writer, Cultbytes PR specialist. Alexandra Israel graduated from Bates College in 2010. A museum aficionado since her introduction to Jean Dominque Ingres' portraits as a small child, she enjoys spending her free time at museums and finding off-the-beaten-track gallery shows. Israel has been working in PR for over seven years, primarily within book publishing and in the art world. She has held positions at Penguin Book Group, Aperture Foundation, and Third Eye among others. l igram l