GIRL’S CLUB – EMMETT {ARTIST TO WATCH/INTERVIEW/NSFW}

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Who is Emmett?

Im a 24-year-old artist and university student studying painting and sexuality,
and living in Montreal .

Tell me about your art practice?

I have been working from my own body for 2 years now because I think dealing with our own
identity first is important before attempting to represent the experiences of others. I try to
(re)produce the myths of romance, hyper sexualization, femininity and the obligation or
pressure to be a feminist artist all at once, embodying the paradox that is being a woman
artist. The way women we don’t know (in the media) are expected to always be sexy, but for
the women that surround us in our own lives to be taken seriously is unacceptable and
unprofessional.

Within my work I’ve been playing with the multiplicity and complexities of the roles one can
embody by attempting to lay claim to 3 identities at once: Subjecthood (being the subject of
my work, a fully formed complex subject), Objecthood (giving space to feeling sexy and
holding power as the objectified) and Authorship (where being the object gains its power, as
not many of the images we see of over sexualized women are produced by the women who
are being objectified). Authorship of the Feminine is important because the female form
becomes political not just to sell capitalist junk at women’s expense. When we Author our own
bodies our identities are whole, the gaze can attempt to simplify you but when you are the
author our omnipresent gaze screams back

Who is Jessica Simps?

“Jessica Simps” is a persona I have embodied that I loooove. She represents the
commercialized sense of the ‘perfect female’ she’s pretty, she’s blond, she’s sweet, not too
smart and doesn’t say too much, oh and is definitely always sexy. My embodiment of her is an
over the top parody of the expectations put on young women, while embracing all her fun,
sweet, flirty energy as strengths but always biting back. My J Simps says, “go ahead look at
me, but don’t for one second think I don’t know that you’re looking”  gotcha ~

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Why did you make the ‘Girl’s Club’ T-shirt?

I felt the need, newly landed in Montreal surrounded by talented boys whom I love, that there
was something missing… where are all girls at? Montreal has so many incredibly talented
women, but society has somehow managed to keep us solo working on being amazing by
ourselves instead of working together. I wanted to create a visual signifier of solidarity so
when Girl’s Club tees started floating around the city that girls could start to feel like more
space was being created for them. We printed the first round of tees with the encouragement
of my friend June after I was sexually assaulted, at first we printed them because we needed
to know we weren’t alone as artists in the city, but I also needed them as a process of healing
to know I wasn’t alone in my trauma. We can no longer afford to reproduce masculinity, its
errors and its violence, we have to do things our own way if we are going to build a space that
is safe for all people to express themselves. I believe we have to keep femininity or the spirit
of “girls” alive in all its power because the boys club isn’t workin.

Why Girl’s Club instead of Girls Club?

Because I can’t spell! But as one of the first members of Girl’s Club Charlotte Forbes said
best “if it can be a man’s world it can be a girl’s club. I was thinking about it and this
grammatical form basically opposes the myth of feminism as a unified movement. also,
grammar prescriptivism is boring.” So really… it’s better this way

Can men wear them ?

Of course! No vagina required, femininity is a force that can be wielded by any sex, gender or
orientation. I feel that if you want to be a part of the club, than you’re already in the club. You
were always in the club xo Girl’s Club is for anyone who’s tired of the boy’s club!

Tell me about your ‘vote for nudes’ project?

Votes4Nudes was a campaign I started on Instagram offering to send personalized nude pics
to anyone who DM’s us and proves they’ve voted. And the project blew up, we gained so
much press from Vice, Maxim, Buzzfeed, Dan Savage and we received over 8000 messages
with photos proving people were voting. I was overwhelmed by how it caught fire, voter
turnout was up by 80% I think this election… that’s unheard of. I’m proud to have been a part
of it and feel the oppression of the Stephen Harper reign lift off my shoulders overtime sweet
Justin Trudeau passes a new bill.

Why did you start this project?

Basically, I was willing to do anything to spark the vote and get some interest. I think that
we’re terrifying as women, and as young people. We called ourselves Sluts Against Harper
because in the sex-positive and queer community, “slut” is a really empowered word. It’s also
fun. I wanted to keep it equally light-hearted and flirty, and engage people in a way that is
engaging, while making “sluts” a powerful thing. If there’s anything that Stephen Harper didn’t
care about, it’s women and women’s bodies, and I don’t think there’s anything he would hate
more than to be overpowered by a bunch of sluts haha
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Photography and interview by: Nastia Cloutier-Ignatiev WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

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