Archibald finalist Emily Crockford continues to canvas her way to more artistic achievements

Emily Crockford alongside her work from the official launch of Studio A mural Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop, commissioned by The Art Gallery of NSW for Archie Plus, November 2021. Image by Diana Panuccio/AGNSW.

Emily Crockford alongside her work from the official launch of Studio A mural Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop, commissioned by The Art Gallery of NSW for Archie Plus, November 2021. Image by Diana Panuccio/AGNSW.

“Love colour, smash it out, and paint every day,” is Emily Crockford’s advice to emerging artists with disability, who are wanting to break into the industry.

There’s no stopping Emily Crockford. Not only is Emily Studio A’s first artist to be named a finalist in Australia’s most prestigious and oldest art prize – the Archibald Prize, she is one of Sydney’s most-in-demand artists for her creations of many large-scale murals and hoardings across the city, she is Hornsby’s Local Woman of the Year for 2021, and is a NSW Woman of the Year 2021 nominee. We spoke to Emily ahead of International Women’s Day to celebrate her recent achievements.

What does it mean to you to be selected as the Hornsby Local Women of the Year for 2021 and nominated for NSW Woman of the Year 2021?

It was a very good achievement. I was surprised! Matt Kean gave me a beautiful hug and gave me flowers. It made me feel very happy and shocked and so special. Everyone was cheering for me. It made me feel so good. I like the video of Matt Kean when he spoke in Parliament to support me.

One of your artworks that you were commissioned to make was selected to feature in last year’s Archibald Prize. Can you tell us about that?

It’s a Selfie portrait of Emily and Daddy and Emily as a little girl. I did a selfie of myself and I also used a photo of myself when I was a little girl sitting on Dad’s shoulders. It is a lovely good memory of me and Daddy, my best Dad ever. It stands for me and Daddy and how much I love him.

I love the planes. The planes were Daddy’s hobby. They are models that Daddy made and he used to go and fly them in the fields of Scone with the boys. I get to see the planes every day before I start my day (*An actual plane is flying overhead as I ask Emily this question). She said : “I can hear the planes flying overhead now, I just love the sound of planes because it reminds me of my Daddy and how much he always loved them”.

Last year you were also awarded the Australia Council National Arts and Disability Award for an Emerging Artist in recognition of your outstanding contribution to the artistic and cultural life of Australia. How does this kind of recognition impact your artistic practice?

That was my trophy. I learn the skills of an artist. It makes me feel like I want to keep going as an artist and do more. It inspires me in pushing me on to make art.

What advice would you give to emerging artists with disability wanting to break into the industry?

Love colour, smash it out and paint every day.

Studio A Comment

Emily Crockford’s talent, passion and hard-working drive have been a driving force behind the formation of Studio A.

It is energising for the entire Studio A community to see Emily recognised for her artistic achievements.

Emily’s success inspires and creates opportunities for other emerging artists with disability.

With the right support structures, artists with disability can make a serious, meaningful and dynamic contribution to NSW’s cultural life.

May Emily’s success pave the path toward a more diverse, inclusive and enriched cultural eco-system.


Image: Emily Crockford alongside her work from the official launch of Studio A mural Love owls and mermaids singing in the rainbow pop, commissioned by The Art Gallery of NSW for Archie Plus, November 2021. Image by Diana Panuccio/AGNSW.
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