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🎵 IT203: Moodswings & Playthings
✏️ Emily Kate Henshall
🗓 21.05.23

Emily is an illustrator and artist based in Cornwall, UK.

Hey Emily. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Illustrated Tapes gives a fascinating insight into visual artists and their inspirative tracks. As I browse through the catalogue there is often an unexpected variety of sounds behind the artists I follow and it reminds me of some comments I receive on Reels that my music choice doesn’t fit with my artwork.

My mixtape explores the relationship, and perceived lack thereof, between tracks and final artworks. Sometimes there may be parts of ourselves hidden within our art that aren’t always recognised. Playful and bright childrens illustrations might actually be expressed from a darker place of emotional turbulence and trauma.

Recently I have been working on my own mental health and I believe that my creative practice, as well as many other people’s, is undeniably a coping mechanism as well as an inseparable part of my being, and I have been trying to bring more of my authentic self to my work. Music has been one of the key ways of exploring this as a creative outlet distanced from my own visual creative practice.

I wanted a mixtape that was an exploration of my own favourite tracks which don’t always align to the perception of my final artworks in the hope that others might also relate, discover something new, or just enjoy the playlist.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

Since my initial sketch I wanted to create an illustration that conveyed the ups and downs of my playlist which I also wanted to loosely animate, as I felt it would make a fitting combo.

I have been currently attempting animation using Risograph print, so it felt apt to use this project as a way to further explore this. I created the initial drawings in black and white using ink, paint, pencil and collage.

I then layered these different images and tested out what order to arrange the Risograph inks that I had selected. I then created a final set of drawings for the tears which I animated and printed onto each of the four frames with the help of Risotto Studio.

I love the additional texture and accidental quality of the mark making on risograph prints and love how it influences the final animation.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I absolutely love a huge array of music videos and the prolific use of animation in them. Like many people my age, I spent a lot of time watching the music channels on tv growing up and it has always been a big influence of mine. The Gorillaz music videos were always a favourite growing up, and most recently Thom Yorke’s Anima film and album.

And most recently the film, and album, Anima by Thom Yorke.

Anima – Thom Yorke
2019, XL Recordings
Artwork: Tchocky, Stanley Donwood

What did you listen to growing up?

Growing up I listened to a pretty wide array of different genres and songs, quite a few of my favourites are already on this mixtape. However what I didn’t include, and perhaps some of my biggest loves growing up were Tool, A Perfect Circle, Megadeth and Nine Inch Nails.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

Currently 90s hip hop weighs in heaviest on my rotation.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

As mentioned in my opening, a lot of personal growth and changes in my life has been leading me to trying to bring more of my authentic self to my artwork. I have lots of really exciting new work on the way including animations, more laser-cut sculptures and I’ve also been diving into the world of ceramics which I absolutely love. As always (and like many others, I imagine) I am reluctant to post things on Instagram until they meet my impossibly high standards, but I hope to share a lot of these new works with everyone soon.

Where can we find you?


Thanks Emily 👋🏽

Duel of the Iron Mic – RZA / GET UP – YOUNG FATHERS / Ugliest – $uicideboy$ /  Mother I Sober – Kendrick Lamar / Only You – Portishead / T.O.J. – El-P / Non-Zero Possibility – At the Drive-In / Hell Is Round The Corner – Tricky / Five Man Army – Massive Attack / Big Calm – Morcheeba ︎