Small is Beautiful
Writer Grace Hill
You won’t find Emily Randolph photographing the panoramic views of the Grand Canyon or the expansive Arizona desert landscape. You won’t see her stepping back during a photoshoot. And you won’t come across her taking the big picture. That’s not Emily’s style. Not, at least, when it comes to her art.d
You will, however, see her zooming in as far as her camera will allow. She sees what many do not. She sees the beauty in some of the smallest details that this world has to offer.
This desire to centralize her artwork on details stems from her love of textures, shapes and colors — a love that she observed in her grandmother and mother. Both women had an enthusiasm for fabrics, furnishings, antiques, interior design and art. Through their mentorship, Emily was able to develop a sharp eye for what makes an art piece worthy of admiration. While art is beautiful as a whole, Emily learned to appreciate all the small details that work together to bring about the finished product.
And so Emily has taken that respect for detail and has figured out a way to take the small, almost insignificant detail, and turn it into the star of the show.
“I’ll take a photograph of something very small, of something quick, random — a piece of vintage glass, a very small part of it — and I’ll blow it up so that it becomes a larger-than-life piece,” she explains.
While she might take a photograph of a piece of glass, metal, stone or any other minuscule object that inspires her, the viewer will be stumped by the identity of the photo’s original subject matter. You don’t get a piece of glass or metal. Instead, you get an image that looks like waves of the ocean or sand on the beach, even though it is not.
That theme of water is what you will find in the majority of her artwork. Emily’s deep love of water can be traced back to her time growing up by the ocean. Since she is now landlocked here in the desert, she has a longing to be surrounded by it again. She understands what water does to her soul. The element uplifts her, a feeling she wants to translate through her art.
“Hopefully what I’m communicating through my art is happiness and uplifting color, texture and imagery,” says Emily. “I do think blues, greens, water colors are very uplifting. Lifting up your spirits. I don’t tend to do a lot of somber colors.”
Although Emily may focus solely on uplifting water themes, she experiments with various processes and techniques. Because of that, she has created a different technique for finishing her photographs. This new hand-finished collection is titled, “Mixed Media: One-of-a-Kind.”
“The new collection that I’ve developed, that’s a brand new process,” she says. “It captures to me what would be a small beautiful moment in time. I have the image printed on very lustrous metal, which is a very unusual metal. It comes from Artisan Colour, a local print shop. Then I add certain elements — varying depending on the image — of stone, tile, mica and glass, and then cover with a high-gloss resin.”
What is created with this new process is quite breathtaking. The metal, elements and resin all work together, and as the light hits various parts, the photograph sparkles — just as Emily sparkles now that she has given herself to her art full-time, which was not always the case.
Although she spent her life doing things she loved such as traveling; writing; playing with her dogs Lucy, Lady and Happy; and marrying her long-time friend Dan, she knew something was missing.
“I heard somewhere that your art isn’t finished until you share it,” Emily says, “and I said well, I’m not finished. I have to start showing. So that’s what I did.”
Thankfully, she did start showing the world. Because we all need the reminder that small is, in fact, quite beautiful.
You can see Emily’s artwork in person at the 27th annual Celebration of Fine Art Show in Scottsdale, held January 14 through March 26, 2017.