Emma Waligory

Artist Statement

I am drawn to colors and textures. Throughout my work I study real life instances of vibrancy and create my own layered and tactile pieces. I work in a fast manner that lends to the hands-on and palpable effect of my work. Working mostly in all types of paint and other mixed media materials, my inspiration is drawn from the world of New England in the United States. In this corner of the world, I use my own personal relationships with people and the natural world as a starting point for my work.  Additionally, I touch upon the environmental issues in my immediate surroundings, as well as world wide, hoping to start a discussion on the topic.

Final Project: Il puzzle della mia mente 

The collage displays my understanding and furthermore my large lack of understanding for the city of Siena.  Despite living here for four months and telling myself I know everything about the city, changing my perspective on Siena opened my eyes to how much I don’t actually know, and probably never will.  The places within the city I feel the greatest connection and have spent the largest portions of my time are the most built up sections of the collage, with the labor of details as a labor of love.  For the places I pass through but have no personal connection with, these are represented with vague shapes of the cityscape.  The small gaps in the piece represent my lack of understanding that I will never get to change as a forever outsider in this city. These built up layers highlight both the material and mental build up of the cityscape- the culture, the stone, the history and the social structure.


Mid-Term Project

For my midterm project I was loosely inspired by a few cubism pieces I had seen while visiting the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. From there, I chose to piece together different scenes and images I always think of when I think of Siena. To me, these will be the images that flash forward in my mind in a jumble of memories when I am back in Massachusetts and reflecting on my time here in Siena. Originally I wanted to do the piece in watercolor and gouache but then moved to oil paint to get a more tactile piece. I am happy with my medium choice because I think it created a collage effect. 

Luoghi di Fuga booket project:

When I thought about my places of escape in Siena, I thought about the places around the city where I always find myself sitting and spending long periods of time. And as I thought about these places, I noticed that they all seem to have some sort of water source. This was the initial source of inspiration for the cut outs in my book. However, as the book came together, the cut outs started to not only invoke the water sources, but the idea of ripples in general. To me, these ripples symbolize the laughter, traditions, thoughts, and memories bouncing off of each other in these public places. On the cover of my book I wrote a selection of these ideas in a similar ripple pattern. I chose: echoes, tradition, memories, ripples, you & me, and drip drop.

Reading response:  Rebecca Solnit, The Blue of Distance:

Of the two readings I was really drawn to “The Blue of Distance”, for both the art imagery it discussed and the emotions the ideas also invoke.  To me, blue holds so many different meanings and emotions that both coincide with and go against those that Solnit cites. To me, blue reminds me of my mother, the room where I keep all of the art supplies at home, the pure sky, the ocean I grew up by, tears, coldness, safety, my young insecure years, mountains and college. None of these thoughts seem to match up and each would have their own paragraph of explanation, yet they all are what I think of if I stop and think about the color blue. One of the quotes that Solint uses in her writing is “‘Longing,’ says the poet Robert Hass, ‘because desire is full of endless distances'”, greatly spoke to me both on a personal and artistic level. I thought about when blue tends to be uses in classic paintings and also where I seem to use the color in my own work.  Blue, like Solnit discusses, is always the color of something far away. It’s the color of the sky. And the richest blues are the deepest oceans. Up close in the natural world, blue seems to be missing. Blue is the color of things we always want but will never reach. Because of this, blue is the color that represents all we could ever want in life, yet everything will never have.  This concept is one I think I have always been aware of, but never really acknowledged. I also liked the idea that Solnit discussed where she said that when memories are written down, they almost seem to die. I think this is such an interesting thought, and completely against what the normal thought would be that words make something eternal.

Intro Unit Project: Tempo Zulu

For my Temple Zulu Walk assignment, I was drawn to the broken cracks in the bricks and the walls of Siena.  My initial thought was the make a mosaic that would represent something about the history or culture of the city.

However, I wanted to think more about what these cracks mean to the past and future of the city of Siena, and as I thought more about them I thought about what might be revealed in Siena itself were to crack open.   This thought drew my mind back to the fact that thousands of years ago, the land now known as Tuscany was underwater.  Since there has been recent discoveries of different fossils in areas near Siena, I used this as inspiration. For my Temple Zulu Walk installation concept I chose to create a fossil of Mediterranean Sea life within these broken walls. I drew two different ideas, one that would look like a classic, earth toned fossil…


…and another that was more of a mosaic type fossil made of painted ceramic pieces.


Intro Unit Project: Walk of Destiny

“Gioco del cucù”

My walk led me down past a large old fountain next to a tall stone wall built into a hillside, with a brick church perched on top.  As I walked by this wall, I noticed a few different things that made this old, simple wall stand out to me.  The bricks were of varying materials and sizes, highlighting the many lives the wall has stood through.  Out of a few openings in the bricks, green plants with tendril vines had grown and were cascading over the bricks.  This intrusion of nature on a structure that has been repeatedly mended through the years struck a thought inside of me that despite human beings best efforts, nature will always find a way back.  With this thought in mind, I ended my walk at a little park with a smaller fountain and a few benches.  Since my home in the United States is in the woods, as I walk around Siena I find myself instantly drawn to the snippets of green in the city.  Another place on the walk that I noticed was the many balconies where people keep their plants and home gardens.  For my project I chose to create a layered paper “sketch” for a graphic approach to these old and timeless everyday fragments.



Emma Waligory, USA
Bio statement:
My name is Emma and I am from Boxborough, Massachusetts. I am a junior at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts where I am a English and Studio Art double major.  I working mainly with paint and always with a lot of color.  I find much of my inspiration from the natural environment around me, and the animals that reside within them.  I love to make art that is representational while still allowing for a sense of fluidity in the work through my color choices and brush work.  I hope to find inspiration this semester by exploring the landscape of Tuscany around Siena.