Getting to Know Hoosier Artist Emma Overman

Some art causes you to stop and stare from a distance. You analyze and try to figure out if you like what is taking place on the canvas in front of you. Indianapolis artist Emma Overman’s work elicits a much different reaction. Do not be mistaken, it will surely make you stop and stare. The difference comes in the instant you first lock your eyes on her work. Each piece has its own gravitational pull that invites you in, closer and closer. Soon you find yourself almost nose to nose with it, wanting to be a part of the scene. first saw Emma’s work at this year’s Broad Ripple Art Fair held on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple, Indiana. When we spotted her again, over at the Indianapolis Museum of Art during the Penrod Arts Fair, we had to get to know more about Emma and her work. Not only was Ms. Overman gracious enough to talk with us, but she invited us to her permanent studio located at the Harrison Center for the arts in Indianapolis; it is a must see for all Circle City art lovers.

Emma was always the class artist growing up, yet she had a different plan for her life back then. “I’ve always drawn, when I was a little girl I would draw and paint all day long on the kitchen table, but up until high school I wanted to be a veterinarian.” Lassie’s loss has been the Indianapolis art community‘s gain. After attending Hanover College in southern Indiana, Overman added to her arts education with  post-graduate work in Baltimore, Maryland. After which, Emma returned to the Hoosier state to pursue a career as a illustrator for children’s books.

While her work has been featured in four different books, she is best known for her paintings. Using acrylic paints on mostly wood, Emma has created an indefinable style that is ever changing. Each painting in her studio is like a scene from a much larger story. They pull you in so at once you feel as though you are part of the happenings. Another unique feature of her work is the frames that Emma selects to house the art.

She has restored and repainted vintage frames, used bubble glass frames and even has several pieces in shadow boxes with layered glass inside, which gives a three dimensional look. They can no longer be considered  just frames for the art, but rather become part of the work itself. Each piece is so distinctively creative and original it is tough to pick a favorite.

When asked what her favorite aspect of being an artist is, a huge smile came across her face as she said ‘ I get to wake up each morning and create whatever I want, I get to do something different every day.” Not content with keeping her passion to herself, Emma regularly visits school kids of all ages to share her love and creativity. She wants the kids to know that this is something they can experience themselves.

Emma Overman’s artwork is so diverse and complex that it would look just as good hanging in a child’s room as it would above the fireplace. There is a true evolution in her artistic style inside her studio, one that is best appreciated in person.

When asked where a good place for Indy residents to go and view art, Emma responded that they would have to go no further than the Harrison Center in which her studio resides. With over 20 permanent studios, as well as being the home of VSA Arts of Indiana and the en ROUTE Gallery, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. The Harrison Center has four open studio nights a year, and many of their artists participate in the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association IDADA‘s First Friday art walks.

To view more of Emma Overman’s artwork and book illustrations visit her website here.