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I Can Heal And Give You Art
Emily Catherine

Launch Party 24 August 2024

Register for the launch party HERE

Open: 25 to 31 August 2024

Richmond House, 3 Canal Street, Nottingham, NG1 7EG

Reflecting on a decade of artistic creation, I Can Heal and Give You Art is a celebration of Emily Catherine’s multidisciplinary practice that is deeply influenced by Hip Hop culture and her humanistic values. Although primarily known for her illustrations and album covers, this exhibition also sets out to honour a side of Emily’s practice that is perhaps lesser known, by unveiling a more personal, conceptual dimension of her works. Employing a range of techniques, from acrylics and spray paints to charcoals, inks, and collage, the exhibition charts Emily's artistic journey and evolution as an illustrator and visual artist, whose work continue to defy and blend genres. A highly versatile artist emblematic of her generation, Emily’s practice marries strong personal values with a deep concern for social justice. These principles, which guide her when working on both commissioned and independent creative projects, allow her to maintain her signature, authentic artistic style throughout.

The Art of Album Covers

Since launching her professional career in 2015, Emily Catherine has gained a reputation for her album covers, which are instantly recognisable for their surreal, quirky and often filmic quality. Highly detailed and process-driven, Emily hand draws, plans and paints each of her cover artworks. Her illustrations often feature real, or imagined characters, depict stories, or frantic scenes teeming with visual allegories drawn from the world of Hip Hop, street culture, or even classical art. She says: “When I am commissioned to create an artwork for a musician, my work is that of a visual translator, turning music into visual themes and cues.” 

This idea of ‘sampling’ is a trademark of Emily’s illustrations: by blending and remixing classical visual tropes with elements from popular and Hip Hop culture, she disrupts the canon and its inherent hierarchies. Her covers for Juga-Naut’s album Time and Place borrow from the imagery of Dutch Masters, while her design for CLBRKS and Vagrant Real Estate’s 2023 album, The Iceberg Theory, nods to Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights. For Emily, this form of appropriation which fuses mainstream culture with ‘high-art’, is about democratisation: it is a way of levelling the balance in an art world whose normative codes she wishes to challenge.

Bleach Series

Conceived in 2023, the Bleach Series pays homage to the songs, artists and rappers that marked that year for Emily, and inspired her the most at that time. Combining pencil, pen, ink, paint, and bleach on paper, the works feel like quick, impetuous sketches. They capture the immediacy of the emotional response provoked by music. Turning to portraiture and getting close to her subjects, Emily, instead of apprehending them as celebrities, looks at the quirks and human essence of these artists, treating them as individuals we can relate to.

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