Emma Kalff working on Summer Birthday, 32.25 x 48 in., oil on panel, 2024

How do you find inspiration?
Emma Kalff: My subject matter comes from my life experiences and the people around me. I’m always taking pictures of my friends hanging out, having a smoke or a drink, or an intimate conversation. I love the small moments of daily life; there is so much to be learned from them.

In my paintings I layer these everyday scenes over one another to create a subtle displacement. The atmosphere of my work becomes a sort of dream-like instability.

What is the most interesting thing you have painted/sculpted and why?
Emma Kalff: Back when I was studying at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, one of our assignments was to make an all-white still life painting. We had several months to paint our white objects from observation using a full color palette of roughly 12 colors. The key was to figure out just how much you had to tone down every color in order to correctly depict these white objects.

The interesting part about the painting was that it had been created using so many colors, and yet it was so tonal and muted because all the objects were white. The piece is called “David In Time”, and can be viewed on my website under Sold Works.

To see more of Emma’s work, visit:


oil painting of person in front, looking at viewer, with house and a person unloading a car in the background
Summer Birthday, Emma Kalff, oil on panel, 32.25 x 48 in., 2024; Available through Abend Gallery
oil painting person looking away from viewer, dark background with pattern
There Were Bells, Emma Kalff, oil on panel, 15.75 x 49 in., 2024; Available through Abend Gallery


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here