Cardiff Character: Emily Cameron

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan caused controversy last week when she implied that studying the arts diminished career options. Alt.Cardiff spoke to artist Emily Cameron, who continues to pursue art despite the negativity surrounding the subject.

“I’ve been doing art for nearly 11 years,” she says, “since high school.” In fact, Emily has studied the subject at every level possible, having spent the past three years studying at a higher level. “I like drawing – it’s something I’ve always been good at.”

Emily moved to Cardiff to continue studying art

Emily moved to Cardiff to continue studying art

Emily, 21, moved to Cardiff from Hereford to continue studying fine art and has spent three years at Cardiff Metropolitan University. There are some misconceptions about studying art, however Emily maintains that it has always been hard work. “People think it’s easy – you just have to draw something and it’s done. It actually takes much more than that. You have to have a concept, and there’s a lot of pressure especially when you’re studying it. It’s very competitive and can be very opinionated.”

Although there seems to be a larger market for the abstract, Emily has always loved fine art and realism, taking inspiration from artists like Richard Long and Michael Angelo. “I like interesting, traditional art,” says Emily, ripping the label off a bottle of cranberry juice. “I went to an exhibition in London last year by Martin Creed, which was interesting and fun, but his work wasn’t that inspiring for me, because I prefer realism.”

When asked about Nicky Morgan’s comments, Emily believes that there are more opportunities out there for people who have studied art than people think. “It’s a bit narrow minded to think that, for example, people who have studied art can only be artists or teachers and there’s no money in it. I think the most important thing in a job isn’t money, anyway, it’s enjoying it.” 

Like most, Emily moved away from home in order to study, but believes that even had this not been the case she would have moved away. “Hereford’s art scene was very limited,” she tells, “nothing like Cardiff. There’s more opportunity to get your work out there here, which is a boost if you’re just starting out.”

Inspired by nature: Emily's work space

Inspired by nature: Emily’s work space

Although Emily is trying to start an art related career, she is vegetarian and passionate about animal welfare. In any spare time she has, she’d like to help animal related causes and volunteer as a wildlife conservationist.

With regards to the future, Emily wants to get a job in art therapy, helping disabled people through art and creativity. When she has the money to support herself, she’d like to go travelling. “I’m inspired by nature, my surroundings and journeys. I like to use art to document journeys I’ve been on, so travelling would be good for me.”

In the long term though, she can see herself settling down. “I’d like to have children some day, when I can support myself. Maybe move down to the coast and sell my own art from a cottage somewhere. Maybe I’ll get rich,” she laughs.