Lowcountry Originals 2022 - Emily Sewell


July 2022 Issue
photography (top) by Evan Elizabeth Page

Saundra ReneeSmith0722
Emily Sewell

Current Residence: Bluffton

Hometown: Bluffton

Freelance Artist & Entrepreneur—Founder of River+Wilds

Acrylic on Canvas, Digital Design, Fabric Pattern Designer and Clothing Line Designer

Just me! But most of my family lives in the Bluffton and HHI area

How did you discover your art and talent:
My mom has always said that from the moment I could pick up a pencil I was drawing. She took me in for my 5-year-old check up, and when the doctor asked me to draw a person, it came out with more details than most stick people. He looked at my mom and said, “I think you have an artist.” I took after-school art with Hilton Head Prep’s Freddie Carson to hone my skills through high school and went on to study fine arts at the College of Charleston.

Acrylic is my go to medium.
I love the range of texture and flexibility it offers, as well as the faster drying time. And over the course of the past two years, I’ve learned to work digitally in order to create patterns and prints for my Lowcountry lifestyle brand, River+Wilds.

What makes you a Lowcountry Original?
I was born and raised right here in the Lowcountry! But I didn’t realize how rare that was until I moved home from Hawaii in 2016. I am lucky to get to incorporate the Lowcountry into almost all the work I do, whether it’s a commissioned painting of oysters or the river, or a new design for River+Wilds.

What do you hope people get out of your art?
I hope people feel a sense of peace and joy through my art, whether it be from gazing at a marsh scene on a canvas or one of my locally inspired prints they’re wearing around for the day!

What's the best encouragement you’ve ever received in pursuing your artistic talents?
“Create before you consume.”—Hugette Montesinos Rodriguez. I love this encouragement because in such a media driven world, where creative consumption is right at our fingertips, it reminds and challenges me not to get sucked in.

People always think creative people are messy and chaotic. What works for you?
I like to think I fall somewhere in between neat and messy! Things can only get so chaotic before I have to get them back in order so I can focus and get work done!

What do you love most about your creativity?
The freedom and flexibility it offers and the joy it brings to others.

What's something unique in your studio that more than likely no one else has?
I have an extensive collection of sharks teeth, shells, bird feathers and a few fishing rods.

If you had to take a semester of classes what class would be a the top of your list?
Graphic design

Do you think you’re weird? If so, what do you love about your weirdness?
Yes! I have a quote on a board in my room that says, “I admit that my level of weirdness is above the national average, but I’m comfortable with that.” I have another that says, “I tried being normal once. Worst 2 minutes of my life.” I’ve always felt a bit weird or different, but I love that because it makes people laugh, and I think it makes it easier to relate to anyone and everyone that comes across your path.

In your artistic pursuits, what is your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment has been launching River+Wilds out into the world and watching it be received with open arms.

What is River+Wilds?
It is a Lowcountry-inspired clothing line I launched at the end of 2020. I love to fish, hunt, boat and be in the great outdoors. I set out to design my own clothing line with original and fresh patterns and prints because I was frustrated by the limited options in women’s outdoor apparel. The brand offers an assortment of leggings, athletic shorts, yoga shorts, swim tops and more and features camo-esque patterns I create utilizing my version of Lowcountry icons like oyster shells, spot tails, fiddler crabs, shrimp and more. You can shop online or find my brand at a handful of local retailers, which are listed on my website: www.riverandwilds.com.

Describe what success looks like for you:
To me, success is getting to do what I love everyday!