“The Audience Is Smiling,” an acrylic by artist Emmeline Basulto, is shown in “The Audience” exhibit that is on display at the Ocala Recreation and Parks Department office at Tuscawilla Park on Thursday, April 1, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.
Abstract artist finds real opportunity in Ocala
When artist Emmeline Basulto arrived in Ocala last summer, the New York City native was immediately impressed at the breadth of Ocala’s art scene.
Now, she’s part of that scene with several of her works on display in “The Audience” exhibit at the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Administration Building and the Eighth Avenue Adult Activity Center.
Her painting “There’s Hope Inside,” which draws the viewer into the eye-like center, was selected for the “Spectrum of Creativity” student and emerging artist competition which opened April 21 at Ocala City Hall.
“This is the year for me in Ocala,” she said with a smile, adding that she was amazed by the number of opportunities for artists in the community.
Basulto, who relocated here to be near family, believes that art can help us make human connections in a world where advances in technology have led to isolation. That’s why she combined her first name with robot to come up with her artist’s name: Embot.
“Phones started taking over,” she said. “I felt like everybody was becoming robotic. It was like ‘leave me alone, don’t talk to me.’ Nobody really opens themselves up to each other. You can’t really connect with people like that.”
It’s a different world than a decade ago when she was a teenager sketching on the train, she said.
“I would doodle, and people would walk up to me and say, ‘That looks really good,’ or give me some feedback,” she remembered.
It was the encouragement of a stranger who prompted Basulto to become an artist at 17.
“I was doodling on a piece of paper, and he was like, ‘Wow, that looks really good. You should keep going.’ And literally, because he said that, I kept going. Eventually, one of my coworkers said, ‘You should add color,’ I did my first painting in acrylic,” she said. “I was able to express myself. It just poured out of me, and I was able to feel free. Once I started painting, I understood that there was this hidden talent inside of me that was just waiting to escape.”
All of Basulto’s abstract paintings represent something from deep within herself.
“If there’s a specific message that my soul wants to get at, it just flows out,” she said. “One of the things that helped me evolve as an artist was listening to myself and believing in myself.”
And often, people who see her art connect with her on a deeper level.
“People I have never met will look and see something of them in my painting,” she said. “I would hope that they could relate and find something in themselves in my art – something that brings them closer to their own truth, their own empowerment. We are really just human beings trying to get to know ourselves, and the best part is when we do it together. That, to me, is real unity.”