Artist Feature: Emma Mayfield

Emma Mayfield’s journey as an artist began as early as sixth grade, when she participated in a small private school theater production. She has been involved in theater ever since and is now a junior at William Jewell College with over 15 productions and many theater classes under her belt.

“My practice hasn’t changed too much besides gaining more knowledge on how to improve at my craft; I love theater and have worked hard to get where I am,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield has held many leading roles in her time with Jewell Theatre Company including Hero in “Much Ado About Nothing, Grace Fryer in “Radium Girls” and Bunny in “House of Blue Leaves.” She is also taking on the female lead, Julia, in Jewell Theater Company’s latest production, “1984,” which has been adapted to film due to the current pandemic. 

Emma Mayfield as Hero in Jewell Theatre Company’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”

“I enjoy dramatic, challenging roles within the theater; I also really enjoy cross-dressing and getting to explore gender. I like to challenge myself as an artist because that’s the only way I’m going to get better – it teaches me patience, perseverance, and confidence,” said Mayfield. 

Recently, she has branched out into some other types of art as well. This has given her a chance to create simply for the fun of it, or as gifts for those she loves, and to just relax with less pressure to be perfect.

“About a year ago, I received a water color set as a gift, got a couple canvases and sketch books, gathered all my acrylic paint supplies, and I took up painting. Quarantine also inspired me to fill my time creating things, so I took up tie-dying any white cloth I could find – including my bed cover!” Mayfield said. 

Social media has also helped Mayfield to explore what types of art she wants to create. She enjoys painting and using others’ art as inspiration, mostly doing it for recreational purposes. 

“I find a lot of inspiration on social media, so these women are both Tiktok famous artists that I follow: Savannah Saturn and Jackie Harder,” Mayfield said. “Saturn works with canvas art, jewelry and has her own paint pen line. Harder works with sculpture and airbrushing.”

Her favorite artists inspire her to be weird, be herself and always use more color. In her visual art, Mayfield loves watercolors, abstract/out of the ordinary influences and vast amounts of color. 

“I love acrylic paint on canvas; it allows me to pencil in anything I can’t do freehand, then I move on to painting over it with my colors. I love painting eyes, plants, words, and famous characters,” said Mayfield. “I’m currently working on a ‘Family Guy’ piece actually. I also love to tie-dye and bleach dye clothing items. I like looking as colorful as my canvases.”

Photo courtesy of Emma Mayfield

Mayfield makes most of her art for her significant other, family and friends.

“I show people I care by creating for them something that is uniquely from me. I would say my inspiration stems from that thought process – what will they like, what are their interests, how can I capture both them and myself in this artwork?” said Mayfield.

On days when she is not working on a present for someone else, Mayfield’s inspiration really draws from her mood and where she is at mentally. 

“Sometimes my mental state affects my work; I don’t always want to make art. Sometimes I feel too exhausted, or sometimes I’m worried anything I make will turn out poorly. When those roadblocks come, I try to make something anyway; I think pushing through it makes me into a better artist and a more patient person. I find creating, practicing and rehearsing my art to be therapeutic, and I strive to be better every day,” said Mayfield.

Music is also a great influence in Mayfield’s work and she feels that it is truly another art medium that can help move an artist or influence a piece in a significant way. 

“I listen to music while I create, I use music to inspire what I might paint, and I sometimes paint music lyrics onto a canvas,” said Mayfield. “I recently created a painting with images representing Harry Styles’ new album Fine Line.”

Photo courtesy of Emma Mayfield

Hilltop asked Mayfield if she had any advice for other artists – her biggest tip is to just be yourself.

“Life is too short to paint what others want to see or to perform safe, neutral shows. I say let’s push boundaries, break the status quo, and work together with your fellow artists to make art a priority again,” Mayfield said. “You don’t have to be an artist to create either; explore what you like, try something new or simply write and see what comes to mind.”

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