Emily Nelms Perez
How did you get into debt?
Mine has not been an orthodox path in becoming an artist. My debts came from studying--I began studying art at California State University Hayward (now East Bay), where I got a B.A. in Art History; and then got an MFA in Drawing and Painting from CCA (California College of the Arts, formerly CCAC). I studied Political Science and a History minor at the University of Liberia, up to the 4th year level, and was already doing a proposal for my final thesis, when civil unrest began on the campus of the University of Liberia, where I was studying. Eventually the whole nation fell into political turbulence--ending any hope of following my father footsteps, by entering the Foreign Service. So I decided to pursue my first passion, art, to my father's dismay. Before he passed away, he asked me if I had never heard of the proverbial starving artist?
How does your economic reality effect your art?
Currently I am in a season where I am protected from immediate pressing financial stress since I am partaking in a five month residency. The perks of this residency has allowed me to pursue my practice full-time and grow significantly. Previously I was working full-time as an artist assistant in East Williamsburg, which allowed me little time to make my own work, but at least placed me in an environment where I was making. I am planning to begin my MFA in the fall of 2017, which will give me an extended period to hibernate from the “working” world and become a student again. This does mean that I will be applying for student loans for the first time. This will be an interesting question to reflect on three months post-graduation.
Would your work look different if you weren't in debt?: