Courtesy of Emily Lawson
St. Edward’s University student Emily Lawson has been selling her art since she was a freshman in high school. Known on Instagram by her more than 2,000 followers as @emsbrynart, she sells prints, stickers, tote bags and apparel on her website.
In her “About me” section of her website, she explains her upbringing that now shapes her art.
“Growing up as a Mexican, Queer, woman in a multigenerational Mexican-American household with undocumented family members, I was always drawn to learning more about the specific struggles of my communities and finding out in what ways I can best help and bring awareness to a cause I have personal ties to,” said Lawson.
Through this, she decided that Abolish ICE was the most important issue and has since used her artwork to raise money and awareness for the cause.
When she started her website selling art, she would make art that would sell well.
“Paintings that I would make for others that were really generic — commissioned dog portraits, watercolor paintings of Harry Styles’ silhouette…nothing groundbreaking,” said Lawson.
However, as she grew older, started college and as the pandemic drew on this past year, she shifted her focus to selling art that was more personal and expressed her views on political issues.
Though she was selling her art and apparel merchandise long before the pandemic, during quarantine she was able to be more dedicated to her craft.
“I focused heavily on making a lot of apparel with my stance about immigration rights, everything became political and purposeful, and I focused more on spreading intent with my designs and a bit less on my personal artwork.” said Lawson.
However, as the situation across the world worsened and her time in quarantine drew on, she became more interested in how she could donate money to organizations she found important.
“I got really involved in selling my work and donating proceeds and sometimes full profit to organizations I cared about.” said Lawson.
With classes at St. Edward’s currently being virtual, she is able to run her online store a bit easier than when in person classes are happening.
“It’s a lot easier for me to manage the two. I’m in a few courses that require my attention but not note taking, so I spend that time packing orders,” said Lawson.
Through her time at the St. Edward’s University Fine Arts Department, she has gotten inspiration from homework projects and assignments to add to her website for purchase. Noting that Professors Hollis Hammonds and Alexandra Robinson are her favorite at St. Edward’s.
“A lot of the prints I have for sale are directly caused from the homework and project assignments I’m given from my two favorite professors Alex and Hollis. The two of them have really helped me articulate what it is I want to create and how I want to manage creation and marketing,” said Lawson.
She expressed that she is dedicated to having artwork that centers around immigration activism and donating proceeds to different organizations.
“My business donates a percentage of every political-affiliated sale to an organization of my choice. Since a lot I make has to do with immigration rights and detainment centers, I mostly donate to organizations such as Rio Bravo Ministries, Kids in Need of Defense, Angry Tias and Abuelas, etceteraI always post proof of donation on my Instagram as well,” said Lawson.
Her artwork is available on her website for purchase and you can follow her on Instagram @emsbrynart.