Through her watercolors, Emily provides insight into the lives of fruit, flowers, trees and animals that most of us cannot imagine. Through Emily’s artwork we find a way to let a vegetable cheer us up (“Beet”ing the Blues); see the wonder of a piece of fruit (Magnificent Mango) and enjoy the simple beauty that surrounds us. All these things Emily sees, feels and puts into her art for us to enjoy.
Emily’s artwork is more remarkable still given that she produces it despite a severe neurological impairment. At the age of 11, when, for most of us, the future holds nothing but promise and the days hold only leisure and an absence of worry, Emily began to show signs of the illness that would eventually lead to a life confined to a wheelchair.
Unable to speak, and with little control over the right side of her body, Emily has, for more than two decades, faced challenges that would overwhelm the best of us. Not content to survive, Emily sought out her passion and early on found that she had a talent (at the prodding of an insightful art teacher); a talent that manifested itself when she picked up a brush.
For more than 20 years now (about as long as she has been living on her own), Emily has been painting. Her work has hung in coffee houses, in galleries and at exhibits. She founded Emily Enterprises (which she operates with the assistance of her mother, Diane Malin) in 1998. Emily Enterprises produces, markets and sells her artwork in the form of Iris prints and note cards.
The most remarkable thing about Emily, however, is Emily herself. While she spends her days as a watercolor artist, she also is something of a weaver. In her presence, you are drawn into laughter, challenge and joy; the laughter is usually at your own expense, the challenge in trying to keep up with her wit and flashing fingers (as she signs her words), and the joy is what we feel when we allow ourselves to succumb to the rich tapestry of the life of Emily Malin.