A Studio Visit with Emmett Moore
Photographs by Jesus Brazon
Emmett Moore is a Miami artist who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Furniture Design. Moore creates furniture, art objects, and light installations with specific attention to how an object can change its environment. His work has exhibited at The Miami Art Museum, The Bass Museum of Art, Locust Projects, Primary Projects, and Gallery Diet—where he is represented. Most recently, he produced concrete sun-breaker chaise lounges and couches for the De la Cruz collection. He spoke with us about his work and his impressions of Miami.
What aspects of Miami influence your aesthetic?
I’m influenced a lot by the local architectural vernacular but it’s not limited to just South Beach. There are quite a few cultures coexisting here and a lot of places to draw inspiration from, including the natural landscape. Miami has a reputation for being flashy but sometimes I wonder where all the flash is. The lifestyle I live and the environments I put myself in don’t necessarily fit that stereotype. Miami is such a relatively new city you don’t feel weighed down by convention. It feels like anything can happen here.
How did your education affect your work process?
In school we learned how to distill concepts down to their core idea. If you have one idea you make one piece. The most important thing I learned at RISD was how to think about making work.
Do you have a medium or a technique you prefer working with?
Part of my overall approach is to remove the idea of a medium and to create a philosophy that can be applied to any medium. My initial interests and training were in woodworking but I had to force myself to not keep going back to wood. In some ways it's a rejection of craft but it opens you up to all kinds of possibilities.
You’ve worked on some private commissions lately, what are some of your favorites?
I’ve been commissioned to do some architectural painting on the outside of Gallery Diet’s new building in Little River. I’ve also just finished a small project for the Cisneros family, a Keenen Riley designed residence, which was an honor in both regards.
Gallery Diet, who represents you, was the first Miami gallery ever to earn a space at Design Miami. That must have been an honor, what has been your favorite part of being shown in that fair?
It was definitely an honor but the coolest part for me was the experience of attending the first ever Design Miami in high school, without a clue that I would one day show there. And now this year I’ve been commissioned to work with Design Miami which has been an incredible experience.
You’ve seen Art Basel grow year after year, if you could change an aspect of the week, what would it be?
It all happens so fast! I wish time slowed down so I could take my out-of-town friends sailing or out to eat.
As a local do you have a secret spot you like to recommend?
That’s a tough one but I would say the [Isamu] Noguchi sculptures in Bayfront park. They’re hidden in plain sight, most people don’t know that he designed the park and placed his own work in it.
What do you think is the quintessential Miami souvenir?
Sand in your pockets, as a result of going straight from the beach to the airport.