Alumni Questionnaire: Emily Jalinsky

Emily and I had a wonderful conversation live on Instagram today. If you missed it, the video is up on our IGTV page (on Instagram) so please pop over and give it a watch! Several of the questions I asked her in the interview are listed here in this blog, along with some we didn’t get to. Enjoy!

  1. What is your artist name? The Bad Girl of the Art World. Jk, that’s my husband’s joke.(It’s funny because I’m clearly a sweetheart.) Emily Jalinsky is the name! 
  2. Which city are you currently working from? Iowa City! And we just purchased our first home so we’re excitedly putting down roots here! 
  3. What is your education, professional experience, awards, etc. I have a BFA in printmaking with an emphasis in expanded media from the University of Kansas. I have a few disabilities so I went part-time, spending eight years obtaining my degree. So, by the time I graduated I really felt like I had slowly, meticulously cultivated my visual language and themes. I believe everyone has their own path (you don’t need to go to art school) but for me, it was vital to my work and journey. 
  4. What is your personal creative background? (When did you start, what did you do? Where did it go from there?) Everyone in my immediate family is an artist. My parents had graphic design, pottery, and private art lesson businesses. So I’m essentially a copy of them- doing my personal fine art, illustration, and teaching through the IC Press Co-op. I also have an Etsy shop called Sleepy Press (named after my sleep disorder) and eventually want to invest more in my mindfulness and creativity group sessions, which I’ll call SleepyPress Mindfulness. 
  5. Who are your main influences? My work looks really delicate but the way in which I approach art values and experimentation is process-based and largely influenced by Dada art, Joseph Boyce, Rauchenberg, and last but definitely not least Kiki Smith. For me, these influences speak to absurdity, material experimentation, playful persona, and a fascination where ritual/mythology/religion meets art and society. Also, I had many great mentors at KU but Carol Ann Carter was my biggest influence in how I work with materials and relate to their embedded history. Along with approaching art making as a practice of serious play. 
  6. What type of artist would you call yourself primarily? A process-based printmaking mixed-media artist. I make works on paper, assemblage, and installation art. Along with performative and community engagement art through Public Space One and other collaborations.
  7. What other types of art do you enjoy? For fun, I love to sew and do embroidery. Hand sewing makes its way into my work but sewing garments, etc. is a process I keep just for myself as a hobby. But mainly, I dable in so many processes and also like to approach life as its own art form. Art as living. Life as creative play. 
  8. When you joined Art Office, what did your creative practice look like? (What were you working on, how often, how well?) I believe my first goal in Art Office was to not have too many goals! Self-motivation is never really a problem. I’ll go through dry periods but that usually has more to do with bad health spells. Being able to prioritize the many parts of my business has always been a challenge. So when I joined I was feeling simultaneously tapped out and wanting to do everything all the time.
  9. What are some challenges and strengths that you had at that time? I had just quit my part-time position at the IC Press Co-op due to mothering during pandemic times. It was a hard call to make but necessary. But I also knew I needed to keep bringing in income as well as find a balance with motherhood. So I was introducing more illustration and Etsy projects while allowing fine art goals to have longer timespans (like workinggradually without a set exhibition). I think all the work I’ve done since switching to this has benefited from it and will continue to strengthen because of this. 
  10. How did Art Office play a role in addressing those challenges and strengths? Through logging hours, I found more realistic expectations of how many hours a week I can feasibly do without getting burnt out. I also realized I can only focus on one-two of my art businesses at a time. So it’s best to let them ebb and flow as much as possible around each other. I’ve also been embracing that I thrive on this setup- instead of just thinking I need to do less (which is guilt-based thinking) I can focus on prioritizing and switching between, which keeps things interesting and energizing for me. This also allows me to be mindful while focusing on one main thing at a time.
  11. What was one thing that stood out in your time in the program, that helped you in some way or showed you a new way of thinking about something? The calisthenics! I seriously find it life-changing. I put on essential oils and stretch before studio sessions now, along with an outdoor patio session every day. It does wonders for both my body and mental health! 
  12. What was your final project/presentation? I was in a couple of sessions and focused on having an open studio. So, I had a variety of pieces and projects to show in all the different areas of my art business. My main focus in the last session was launching my new Art Offerings fine art series and having them listed for sale on my website (making a distinction between Emily Jalinsky Art and my printed goods line on the Sleepy Press Etsy shop). 
  13. What tools has Art Office given you to apply to your daily practice outside the program? Logging times, prioritizing projects/disciplines, sharing my progress with others, stretching, and having confidence in myself and my life calling! I’ve always had confidence in my work but I haven’t always had confidence in myself. It’s hard to explain. However, Art Office (and oddly becoming a mother and having to prioritize studio time) has helped me have confidence in myself and my abilities.
  14. Name one thing you would change about Art Office? Hey, I’m not the boss! 
  15. What are you working on now? I just completed a scientific illustration commission that was made up of five different figures including a phylogenetic tree and multiple original illustrations throughout. After taking a day of rest I’ll switch gears, finishing works for an Etsy shop update with new print/mixed media necklaces and handmade envelopes with stamped notecards! I’m also slowly settling into a new, larger basement studio. So, that will be the thing I’ll work on slowly and gradually as I have time.
  16. What are your professional/creative goals?  For fine art, I’ll be prioritizing grant writing in the coming year and my long-term goal is pursuing gallery representation locally, in KC, and Chicago. For illustration, I want to get a tablet and look into certification for scientific illustration. For Sleepy Press, I want to prioritize regularly scheduled Etsy launches and introduce Sleepy Press Mindfulness weekend sessions (take-away art projects and mindfulness meditation gatherings).
  17. What is your dream project? An open gallery for a solo exhibition with assemblage pieces, large-scale prints, and a site-specific installation. 
  18. Any plugs? Social media, events, collaborations? I’m also in an artist duo with Sayuri Sasaki Hemann. We currently have a site-specific piece in the window of Prompt Press on Iowa Ave! You can also follow along with all my creative life/endeavors at @emilyjalinsky on IG and FB, along with Sleepy Press offerings and launches at @sleepypress
  19. Where can people find you online? and SleepyPress on Etsy
  20. Where might people find you on a Sunday afternoon? Probably napping or sneaking in an HBO show while my daughter naps. Other than that, on a walk in nature with my family. That’s our preferred weekend thing, especially if we have friends and other kids to join us. 

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