Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Emilie McGowan and I make art in Tucson, Arizona. I tend to draw mostly pen and ink, but enjoy branching out and playing with oil paints and sculpture as well.
How did you get your start?
I feel like I’ve always been drawing. I remember spending entirely too much time doodling on notes in school and obsessively studying all the art books I could get my hands on in 5th grade. Challenging myself with different textures and figures was a lot of fun for me and that interest never went away. In my teens I started going to a lot of metal shows and, years later, was asked to draw up a few things for local bands, which really boosted that interest in art even further when I felt like it might be fading. I’m not much of a musician, but love the music, so getting those opportunities was pretty neat since I got to combine two of my favorite things.
What inspires you?
When I was a kid I got sucked into a lot of fantasy books and video games. Pretty much all I did was draw and play as an elf somewhere. I adored movies like Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, artists like Frank Frazetta, Brian Froud and Tony DiTerlizzi really inspired me to make my own strange creatures and fantasy realms. Then, with my preteens, came all the heavy metal and horror films so I think all those interests brought me to making the creepy stuff I draw today.
What do you like about AZ?
The desert is an incredible place. The heat is harsh but you can’t beat the scenery or these skies. Monsoon season here in Tucson is one of my all time favorite things and I just love that I can be in a 110 degree cactus paradise then drive up a mountain for an hour to see a lush forest. I love the people, the art, the food, there’s so much to explore and learn.
Where can we see you(r) work?
The easiest way to see my work is to check out my online pages. I mostly post newer pieces and works in progress on Instagram – @dronewitch – and try to do shows and various fairs throughout the year.
What would you like to accomplish before you die?
Ideally I’d like to reach a point in my life where I am stable and at peace. I’d like to slow down. I want to know I did the most that I could for my loved ones. The dream is to hide out somewhere with my cats and create whatever comes to mind and surround myself with it. Maybe get a goat or three. Mostly, I would just like peace.
What is your mantra?
I struggle with my own mental health issues often but try to convince myself on especially bad days that I won’t have to relive that particular day again. If it’s worse when I wake up, then that’s a tomorrow problem. So I guess a fair share of distractions and “fakin’ it til I make it” keep me going. Also making more of an effort to take it easy and allow some down time to do absolutely nothing, and expecting myself to do just that. It helps maintain that energy for creating the stuff I’d like to later.