As part of our new blog post theme, that of ‘Meet the art teacher/tutor/artist’ each month we will highlight either an art teacher/tutor or artist and ask a handful of questions, nothing too serious but something that could encourage some interaction between art teachers, artists also college tutors.
Welcome Emma Roberts, art history lecturer – if you would like to take part or know someone who would then download the questions here and fire them back to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Who are you and where do you work?
I’m Emma Roberts and I am Course Leader of BA (Hons) History of Art at Liverpool John Moores University. Read the course blog page.
2. When did you decide you wanted to be an art teacher/tutor/artist?
I rather fell into this career. I knew that I wanted to study in the arts but didn’t realise that I would teach. Then, when I was doing my Ph.D., I kept being asked to do a few hours of teaching here and there, and this just kept snowballing. As it happens, all career surveys and psychometric tests that I’ve done since confirm that this is what I should do anyway!
3. Where and what did you study?
I did at BA (Hons) in History of Art & English literature at the University of Liverpool and then I followed this up with a Ph.D. on the subject of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. This was also at the University of Liverpool.
4. What is the best thing about being an art teacher/tutor/artist?
The best thing is the variety in every day. No two days are the same and each individual day contains many diverse parts. I could not cope with a monotonous, predictable day!
5. How would you describe your style (clothes, art, home….whichever you choose)
I’m into glamorous, feminine, not grungy vintage in all areas of style. With clothes I prefer 1950s-style vintage and I often wear vintage to work. I might add a contemporary jacket so it might not seem to others like vintage. I do ballroom and Latin dancing so I often buy 1950s glamorous evening wear and then wear it to balls and events. At home, I like Art Deco furniture which I’ve often bought quite cheaply on ebay.
6. Do you listen to music while you're working? If so, what?
This is where I’m a bit more unusual – so no. I’m more of a visual person than someone who is motivated by the aural. If I were pressed, I would say that I prefer 1950s ‘crooners’ like Nat King Cole or Matt Monro, but I never listen to music while I work.
7. Which artist or designer inspires you most and why?
There are many, but I think that I would put Norman Rockwell on top. The comforting nostalgia evoked by Rockwell’s heart-warming images always make me feel nice. I wish that our world was really made up of the community environments that can be seen in Rockwell’s paintings.
8. If you could give one bit of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?
Get to know yourself a bit better. It’s really important to know what ‘makes you tick’ and to work with that rather than trying to be someone that you would like to be but who fundamentally you are not. It took me years to understand myself. I now know that I can’t really change my flaws and that I just have to work with them.
9. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become an artist or designer?
To perfect excellent time-management and organisational skills and to be pro-active. It’s necessary in this arts field to be a good networker, and to be organised, as much work is gained by who you know and not just what you know.
10. What’s your greatest achievement?
I think it was when my idolised cat, Poppy, felt enough trust in me to come and sit and then fall asleep in my lap. Before I adopted her from the Cats Protection, she had suffered terrible traumas and was very nervous of people and was defensive. After she and I got to know one another we then had a mystical bond which will never be repeated. I was always my real, true self with her and she brought me immense happiness. I’ve had many cats since but I will never have that synergy again.
11. What three things would you still like to do before you die?
I would love to stay at the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, to stay at the Plaza Hotel in New York and to have a long-haul first-class flight on a plane. I have never done those things.
12. What’s your favourite food?
I’m afraid to say that it’s pizza! I do love proper fine dining too, as I’m passionate about food in general, but a good pizza cannot be beaten!
13. Where was the last place you went on holiday?
It was my honeymoon for which I travelled to New England, USA. I visited Boston, Burlington in Vermont, Mystic in Connecticut and Provincetown in Cape Cod. It was fantastic and the hotels were all unique and amazing!
14. What was the last book you read?
I’m a real ‘Americanophile’ so the last book was ‘Northwest Corner’ by John Burnham Schwartz. It’s set in Connecticut (and partly in California) and is about a contemporary dysfunctional family.
15. What is your biggest distraction?
Actually I would say that it’s food. I’m always thinking about my next meal and planning it. My day is punctuated by the next eating opportunity! I always eat while I work too, rather than listen to music.
16. If you ruled the world, what single act would you carry out.
I would prevent any abuse of animals as they are too innocent to warrant any abuse and are almost always unable to help themselves.
17. Do you have any regrets?
Many, many regrets. I regret my A Level choices quite a lot, but one of my biggest regrets is not doing the ‘Camp America’ scheme, or other travel opportunity, when I was having summer holidays when at university.
18. In no more than five words, write your own epitaph. (Optional!)
I really hope that it would say: “She was nice to everyone.”