Artist | Comedian
In the hands of Long Beach California-based artist Emily Formentini, organic materials of wood, paper, cork and dried wheat weavings become fantastical window display wonderlands.
A native Arizonan with a solid foundational background in architecture, Emily’s artwork is technically sound in the fundamentals of form, function and beauty. That’s where traditionalism ends and Emily’s natural curiosity takes over into a journey of eclectic art forms, mediums and methods — coalescing into a mega mash-up art remix that’s her own unique and quirky style.
While exploring her craft, Emily came to discover a passion for improv comedy and performance, joining the Held2Gether improv troupe in 2013 and since performing in and writing for both improv and sketch comedy shows. “I have a true passion for making things, whether those things end up taking the form of artwork, furniture, a comedy sketch, or ginger beer,” Emily says.
You are a very gifted woman… stand up comic, architect and macramé artist, how do you find time for all of it and what inspires you?
That is a very good question!! I say my life is like a pendulum, my time swinging between my art/craft, comedy, and personal life (which pretty much encapsulates everything not related to the first two things). I find myself kind of rotating through which area gets my time and energy but, inevitably, they all overlap at some point... but that's what keeps life exciting.
Many things inspire me- materials, travel- but more recently I've been especially inspired by connecting with passionate people from various backgrounds and in many different fields that are following their passions. Whether other artists, comedians, or business entrepreneurs, I love seeing people doing what they love and doing it well.
When it comes to macramé, how did you learn and where do you start when working on a new piece?
I began to macrame a few years ago after getting into fibers art and making a few woven wall pieces. Much of what I do is really self taught. I love learning to work with new mediums and methods so I bought a few books on macrame and weaving and had at it.
I still have a lot to learn so I try to include a new knot or technique or material with every new piece. That's how many of them begin, actually. I'll get really inspired by a color palette or new texture and then look for new methods for bringing them together. With some pieces I have a clear vision while others I just let reveal themselves as I go.
When it comes to comedy, do you ever get stage fright? Tell us about the last time you experienced this or any rituals you have before going on stage.
You know, even after performing for over a year now I still get so nervous before a show. Sometimes for the week prior.. sometimes just the day of.. and sometimes it waits til the hour before to really kick in but it'll show up without fail. We warm up as a troupe before every show and what really helps me shake the nerves is a game called “Beastie Rap.”
It's basically a warm up rhyming game where we each add a line of a rap, rhyming the last word of every line with the previous line. If they can guess what the upcoming word is based on the setup, the rest of the group shouts the rhyming word as well... so it kinda sounds like a Beastie Boys song. I promise, it is so much fun! (And helps me shake some preshow nerves)
Three things you cannot live without…ready, go!
Humor. Music. My 72oz water jug.
What is your go to look for day? For night?
Day: denim shorts and an easy tank Night: Denim again- usually flares- with wedges and most likely another tank or basic top. I adhere to a pretty basic formula and have fun getting fancy with my hair and face (although I do like some sequins on some occasions).
What are you listening to now?
I'm just coming off a bit of an indie streak- Prinze George, “Victor” , Sylvan Esso “Coffee” , and Mapai “Don't Wait” have been on a pretty constant rotation.. most recently, though, I've been listening to T.I. and some old school Montell Jordan.
Who is your ultimate fashion muse?
I don't have one person in particular but rather I love street fashion. I have a pretty simple aesthetic so I really appreciate seeing examples of really bold and unique styles.
What does it mean to you to belong to Amuse Society?
I am, firstly, so honored to be part of this society! Amuse to me really represents a very strong, independent woman and I find the irreverence and rebelliousness of the Amuse girl to be especially inspiring. Is is an honor to be part of a group that is so empowering and that celebrates unique individuals that are sharing their passions. I've loved being able to share a bit of my craft and I greatly look forward to seeing this society grow and to being inspired by the work of other artisans. Thank you for this fabulous opportunity!