Artist Emma Salman finds community in art


WHERE WERE YOU?: Emma Salman’s piece with contrasting sides.

Sarah Woods, A&E Editor

Senior artist Emma Salman’s work has received awards ranging from 2nd place in a Chicagoland 4×5 exhibition to a Scholastic National Gold Medal. However, she wasn’t always sure of what to do with her creativity.

Salman loved writing in her youth, though knew she wanted to try out something else as she started high school. Over her sophomore year she took a drawing class, but still didn’t feel satisfied. Finally, Salman entered a Jewelry and Metalworking 1 class her junior year and instantly knew she had found what she had been searching for over the years. When she reflects back on her time spent in that class, she credits it as being the reason she started getting serious about her art career. 

“When I took Jewelry 1, I immediately fell in love with it. I think both the passion I have for it as well as the people I have been able to learn from are what most influenced Jewelry being my chosen medium,” Salman said. 

While Salman stresses the importance of allowing viewers to create their own meaning from her work, she tends to focus on themes of relationships, addiction, and loss as she creates. 

Salman integrates the message she wants to convey by focusing on what she calls “crucial elements” of each piece. In her relief “Where were you?”, a work about there being two sides to each story, the two crucial elements were a crack in the middle and different patterns on each side of said crack. The left side’s pattern, a dark and jagged motif, heavily contrasts with the right side’s simple floral design. 

“I never intended for anyone to know the true story behind the piece although there is one, I wanted other people to be able to develop their own idea of what it means through their own eyes,” Salman said. 

 Salmon believes having a few themes that she sticks to in her work has been crucial in avoiding art block. Knowing that there is a message she’s trying to relay helps make the process of creating exciting for her. 

She also finds excitement in the community that comes along with sharing her jewelry. Just hearing the passionate way other artists talk about their own process has helped Salman find inspiration for her projects. As her work reached more people, she was surprised to find people who weren’t artists also related to what she had to say.  

“All I truly wanted to achieve with my work was creating something that had a message behind it and that I was proud of. Being recognized for my work feels both amazing and fascinating because I honestly didn’t know if other people were going to be able to resonate with what I’ve made or see the meaning within it through their own eyes,” she said.