Meet One Savvy (And Stylish!) S.F. Artist

Have you ever tried to paint with watercolors? We will let you in on a secret — it’s no easy task. Yet, local artist extraordinaire Emily Proud makes it look incredibly effortless, while of course being decked out, head-to-toe, in some awe-inspiring styles. We know…let the girl-crush ensue!
Making art a full-time career at the ripe age of only 27, this paintbrush-wielding S.F. native has made her city proud (pun not only intended, but obligatory!) with her playful, must-own pieces of flora and fauna. We visited Emily's colorful studio in the Mission to see how she does it. Now excuse us while we go commission a watercolor. Or five.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Tell us about what you do.
"I make watercolor paintings and illustrations of mostly plants and food, but sometimes kitchen wares, clothing, or other everyday things, too."

Emily hangs out in her studio dressed in an Ace & Jig dress, Kurt Geiger boots, Tuareg ring and bracelet, and Minoux bracelet.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
How did you get into art and why did you gravitate towards watercolor?
"I have been making art since I was little, but I first got into watercolor when I took a class in third grade. In school, I painted with other media, too, but I always came back to watercolor. I love its luminescent quality and how easy it is to take with me wherever I go."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Looking colorful and cute in her adorable workspace.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
You also work at Yellow Owl Workshop. Tell us about that.
"I work a couple days a week at Yellow Owl Workshop with Christine Schmidt — the owner — and a few other talented creatives. We have a strict afternoon tea policy and listen to a lot of podcasts."

Do you listen to music while you work?
"Not always, but when I do, my go-to albums are Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, and The National's Trouble Will Find Me, and anything in French."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
How did growing up in San Francisco affect your style, both in art and in fashion?
"San Francisco’s colorful murals and houses have definitely influenced my taste."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Your Ace & Jig dress is to die for. Where did you get it and why did you choose it?
"It’s from Mira Mira, which is dangerously close to my apartment. The colors and texture stood out to me and it’s so comfortable. Plus, it has pockets."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What is your favorite thing in your studio and why?
"The rug, which is actually an outdoor one. It’s nice for sitting on the floor to work sometimes, but I think it’s subconsciously influencing my watercolors."

What style and design sites do you have bookmarked?
"They’re always evolving, but SF Girl by Bay and Design*Sponge are staples."

Emily basks in her work, donning a vintage Ralph Lauren sweater, J. Crew shirt, Madewell jeans, and Vans sneakers.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
You employ a pretty colorful palette in your art. Is this reflected in your wardrobe?
"My art palette is a little more colorful than my wardrobe, but I definitely approach painting and getting dressed in the same way: by mixing solids and texture."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Who are some fellow local artists who inspire you?
"I am inspired by the work of Lisa Congdon, especially her mixed media work. I have one of her collaged Sami women. Kelly Waters' beautiful watercolors of food, and Evah Fan’s work for its sense of humor."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What is your philosophy on accessorizing?
"I prefer to draw attention to one piece. Like, if I wear a big necklace, I’ll wear just jeans and a T-shirt."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
How would you describe your personal style?
"Pared down and classic with a little bit of funk."

Emily has gone baroque in her Madewell shirt and jeans, and Acne boots.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Who are your style icons?
"There really isn’t a specific person I look to for inspiration, but when I was a kid, it was Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All. I don’t dress as wacky, but her style made me see that fashion was another way of expressing myself creatively."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What are your favorite San Francisco shops?
"Mira Mira, Gravel & Gold, Little Paper Planes, and Shoe Biz are some of my favorite Mission spots. Growing up in the Inner Richmond, I was so excited when Parklife opened and I will always love Green Apple Books."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Emily knows how to master florals from fashion to art.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What are your favorite subjects to paint and why?
"My mom is a talented gardener, so my botanical subjects are nostalgic to me in that way. And, the other subjects, like kitchen wares or clothing, are pulled from my everyday life, which I paint to show their personality. I was once told that my paintings reminded someone of Luxo Jr., the jumping Pixar lamp, and I loved that."

What is your interior-design philosophy?
"Get what you like! My studio is a place I want myself to want to work in, so decorating it with plants, gifts from loved ones, and other trinkets that make me smile or that I can use as material for my paintings makes it a more enjoyable and efficient workspace for me."

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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Your studio is so bright and cheerful! What are your favorite shops or sites for decorating?
"My desk is from Ikea, but I found it on Craigslist, and then I have some other Ikea items, like my blue cart and my flat files. The rest is thrifted from Community Thrift and Stuff S.F. on Valencia Street. I also enjoy going to the Alameda Flea."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Your studio is located in such an exiting new area of San Francisco. What are your favorite neighborhood spots?
"Sometimes, on my way to my studio, I go to the Blue Bottle inside Heath Ceramics, which is a beautiful light-filled space. I also like the outdoor seating at Coffee Bar, and some days I check Twitter to see which food trucks are at Mission Dispatch."

Emily strolls the streets in an Everlane T-shirt, Nameless Apparel shorts, Kurt Geiger boots, and Baggu bag.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What was your biggest wardrobe splurge?
"My Acne boots."

What are a few go-to pieces in your closet that you can't live without?
"Ankle boots, Everlane T's, and a big tote for schlepping groceries and art supplies."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Where can we find you when you're not painting at your studio?
"The farmers market on Bartlett Street, the climbing gym, walking around the Mission, or just watching a movie or reading a book at home."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
What's next for you?
"I have open studios on Friday, September 13, from 7 to 11 p.m. at 2425 17th Street, and am also participating in the city-wide open studios the weekend of Saturday, October 26 to Sunday, October 27. Later this fall, I'm having a solo show at Gravel & Gold! You can find info on that one on Facebook."
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