Esme Perkins: This Week’s Featured MCA Artist Has an Eye for Image & Story

A showcase series of MCA student artists and their work in the final year of Memphis College of Art

StoryBoard: How long have you been practicing your (art)work?

Esme Perkins: I’ve been drawing ever since I was a little kid. It’s just something that has always been a part of my life.

In which medium did you start?

I started with crayons and construction paper. However, I got interested in digital media around pretty early on and I’ve been kinda obsessed with it ever since. 

How young were you when you started becoming passionate about your work?

I started working with a drawing tablet when I was about ten years old and I was totally amazed by the technology. At that time I also got exposed to the online world of art and what other people were out there making. Having this new tool to utilize and seeing the possibilities of it drove me to learn as much as I could.

Describe how your artwork, in your youth, made you feel?

I’m definitely very introverted, so art provided me a way to communicate my personality and humor to other people. In general, it’s always felt really fulfilling to create things.

How would you describe your “eye” when you work? Are you intuitive in your work, or do you have a specific technique in mind?

My artistic process is mostly just the struggle in trying to get what is in my head onto paper. My “eye” is always stepping back and evaluating my work to see what I can do to make the image stronger. As far as intuitiveness vs. technique: a little from column A, a little from column B. Animation is mostly process driven but sometimes you do have to come up with creative solutions to problems you encounter. 

How does your work speak to you?  What do you feel you are communicating with your work?

I’ve always been striving to create visuals and stories that I personally enjoy. My work is generally story driven, so I’m mostly trying to find little moments of relatability with my audience.

Do you think there is a Memphis “style?”  If so (or if not), how would you describe it?

I’m not sure if there’s an overall Memphis style or even an overall shared Memphis experience. I think a healthy artistic community is important in order for those unique experiences to be understood.

Where and how can your work be found, or purchased?  

My website is and my Instagram is @artbyesp. 

What advice do you have for aspiring artists or art students?

I think having enthusiasm for the things you create is important. Knowing that you have something good to give. That passion will drive you towards improving your craft and continuing on.  <>

In 2020, Memphis College of Art is in its final year serving the arts. StoryBoard plays a small part in honoring its legacy with the work of students and artists influenced by the college, a Memphis institution since 1936, and an iconic occupant of Overton Park’s Rust Hall since 1959.

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