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Ema 'Bry0' has been on Phangan for 9 months now after leaving the UK in November 2014. It is in her blood to be an Artist, its something she has just always done from a young age. So after studying at school, college and University she spent her time creating as much Art work as possible. Although as with many other Artist's has had to do all those 'normal' jobs as well. She has always had a Studio though, whether it be the shed or out buildings at the family home to proper rented spaces in the city of Bristol UK where she mostly lived. Here she was surrounded with creative like minded Artist's and Musicians and wound up in the Graffiti, Street art scene.
"I just want to create pictures that make people happy when they look at them and sometimes to spread a message, mostly about looking after Mother Nature"
What is your Koh Phangan story?
Well to be perfectly honest I missed my Best Friend! Christopher Thomas (you will hear me call him 'Stoffy') and I have been friends for just over 10 years now since meeting at University in Bristol UK where we were both on the same Art course. We used to spend a lot of time together in the studio just Jammin with some paint and canvas's and music, he was the person, along with my hometown bro 3Dom that really taught me how to use spray paint and get into the Graffiti scene. We bounce off each other nicely as artist's so it was hard when he left haha! He said I should come and knows me well enough that I would love the place and so here i am now!
Plus I really wanted to leave the UK, not to travel and bum around but to further my Art career and learn more. What a better place to do it than on a tropical island where I am surrounded by beautiful jungle, inspiring like minded people and nature, which is what gives me my inspiration.
What do you feel you can bring to the Phangan scene?
A bit of Love and happiness! A lot of my work from recent years has been in the Graffiti scene back in the UK, there is nothing better than getting some paint, finding a wall (legal of course) and painting a piece. Preferably with the sun shining and a few cold cans of cider. Although in my studio i would always be working on smaller scale canvas's and drawings. I have always carried a sketchbook with me where ever i go! its just something that was drummed into me from an early age so hence why my bag is always full of books, pens, paintbrushes etc rather than make-up and a hair brush. I really believe in respecting the culture i am living in so i haven't come to start painting obscene stuff on big walls but rather working with the community and other artist's alike to just develop and educate myself more. But saying that, people seem to like my more urban style which is the best feeling for me.
What murals have you painted here on Phangan?
When I first arrived i was working for Chris's company Star Lab Industries. It was a bit of a training / learning curve for me as he uses some technology now which i was not familiar with but as i said i am here to learn! He is also a good teacher. I helped with murals at Blue Dream Hostel, Shenanigans Hostel, Ku Club, The Challenge Phangan and Slip N Fly (where we did live Graffiti) and probably a few more which i cant remember off the top of my head. In December I was left to my own devices as Chris went to visit family in the UK but through these Jobs with Star Lab i was not left bored. Jeremy from Blue dream gave me the job of painting over 4 of thier dorm rooms, all free hand :-) and also other painting around the hostel. Plus I was introduced to my now wonderful friends at The Magic Wave where I painted my first real solo project, a lovely orange sunset on a huge wall, they are very loyal to me so I feel extremely blessed. I have recently been back to do more work for The Magic Wave which I love. I also painted a small wall for Pae Pae's bar in Thong Sala and other small jobs which were passed on to me from friends on the island (Thank you!). When Chris arrived back at the beginning of January he was kind enough to trust me to do some of the projects all by myself, in particular a few of the themed rooms. But of course we love painting together so try to as much as possible. I also had the pleasure of painting Pizzeria Ale who is also my neighbour which was hard work to say the least but I have great respect for the man i now call my friend.
What projects are you currently involved with / What are your next projects?
I have been being a bit more independent recently, the low season hit everybody quite hard so i spent a lot of time on personal canvas's and drawings. These gained interest so I have been doing commissioned canvas's. I have also just finished doing some more work for The Magic Wave, Painting thier new logo in a couple of places but the most exciting part was turning the ugly air conditioning units into Decks! Not these CDJ things (no offense Dj friends) but proper old school Technics 1210's or MK2'S as otherwise known. Its was a great project as it means something to me but also means a lot to Florian and Alice who own it. I am also doing a very important Mural for a good friend of mine in his house. It is a very personal piece so it is important for me to work closely with the client to make sure it is exactly right for him but also giving me some artistic freedom. And just Paint, paint, paint!!
How do you spend your free time on the island?
When I have time, Mostly relaxing, which for me means working on my smaller pieces at home whether that be in my sketchbook or painting and experimenting with different things. I hate waste so i have been collecting beer bottle caps and ring pulls to use for my frames and bits of jewelery. Also food! I love cooking and of course eating it! I often cook dinner for the Star Lab Team which means we can also all chat about different ideas etc. I try to swim a lot, I was lucky enough to swim at night with the florescent plankton on the North of the island with my oldest friend from the uk who is visiting, his girlfriend and Chris. Its an experience i will never forget.
How did you get to where you are today?
Haha, by being a bit of a maverick i suppose and never giving up on my dream no matter what the universe decided to throw at me. I was born an artist and know it is my destiny to spread a positive message through my art. Of course my family and friends have helped a huge deal with thier support, I cannot even start to thank them enough!!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don't know where I will be, i don't plan that far ahead. Hopefully retired on Koh Phangan lol. The plan for now is to carry on making a bit more of a living from my art. Of course i would love to give it all away for free but we all need to survive yeah?! I never want to stop learning, just to be surrounded by other talented artist's whether that be in Asia, Europe, Africa, who knows? I am not going to lie and say it has been easy but at the moment it all seems to be coming together, steadily. So maybe all of the hard work has been worth it!
What is your life philosophy?
To make people Happy. Through Art and good energy. Having someone see one of my pieces and cracking a smile is true happiness for me. I also want to make my family proud of course. Love is the Drug, Love Love Love!