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In the age of the Internet, there's an endless amount of artists out there trying to stand out and make a name for themselves. With so much competition, it's hard to stand out, but "Teenage Hotdog" (AKA Emily Carpenter) is doing just that. When I came across her Instagram, I was immediately pulled more than just her cute username. Her feed was filled with perfectly curated illustrations in pretty muted colors with crisp lines. The illustrations feature cool looking girls, current trends, and cartoon text. 
We wanted to know more about the girl behind the illustrations, so we chatted with Emily to learn about her style, influences, and what made her the artist she is now.
SOCIAL DECAY: Where are you from?
EMILY CARPENTER: I grew up in a really small town in Connecticut. I currently live in Brooklyn, working as a Multimedia Designer in Manhattan.

SD: What's the meaning behind teenage hotdog?
EC: Hahah, I wish I had a more meaningful answer - this actually began as an inside joke between friends, but sometimes I like to think of it as a spin on Wheatus' transcendent 2000's hit "Teenage Dirtbag".

SD: What medium do you use to create your illustrations? Is it all digital?
EC: I've dabbled in a few different mediums like painting, printmaking, and pen and ink drawing, but lately it's been mostly digital. Working digitally has totally escalated my process. I can work faster and I can work smarter. Digital illustration allows me to think, analyze, and edit super quickly. Although it lacks the slow paced therapeutic process that comes with more analog mediums, working quickly permits me to make a larger breadth of work, which I find expedites the process of finding out what works and what doesn't.

SD: Did your distinct personal illustrative style come naturally to you, or did it take a lot of developing?
EC: It took a while to find my visual voice. I've been expressing myself creatively for years, but only recently have I found myself abusing art as a form of self expression. Making art can be a provocatively self-indulgent but very public practice. I clumsily stumbled upon my personal illustrative style by reflecting on some private struggles. The motivation behind a lot of my art is to visualize my perpetual internal dialogue with self-love, self-hate and everything in between. I think my personal style really emerged when I began embracing my body and sexuality.  I also found out what styles I identified with by emulating artists I admire. I'm super into this remix culture we're living in, where you mimic things and people you admire until your voice inevitably bleeds into your work, creating something new while retaining the roots of your original inspiration.

SD:  Do you make any other sorts of art?
EC: Yeah! I make my living as a graphic designer, so it's really nice to flip the switch on the perfectionism and logical thinking of design to the free-form, no rules world of illustration. Outside of my day job, I've been trying to refine my motion graphics and animation skills - it's a really challenging and exciting process learning how to think in motion, but so satisfying to see static imagery brought to life.
SD: Do you have an all time favorite piece you've made?
EC: It's so hard to say. My style and taste are constantly evolving. What I think is my favorite now could very possibly be an embarrassment in a few years. Right now, I'm into the shading technique that I've been applying to my self portraits, as well as the negative space in my figure drawings. 

SD: Who are some artists who influence and inspire you?
EC:  Egon Schiele will forever be an all time favorite of mine. His figure drawings are an incredible example of leading with emotion rather than perfectionism. Lately, I'm obsessed with Frances Cannon. She makes these adorable, minimal, empowering line drawings all about self love and questioning femininity. 
SD: What are your hopes and dreams for your art?
EC: I want to work in as many different mediums as possible. I would love to put my animation skills to good use. I want to support and embrace my community of local artists. I want to work with ridiculously passionate people, and learn from them. I never want to stop working or evolving. I don't think I could name one finite goal, but I know that don't want to restrict myself. I want to be a well-rounded artist, rather than only a graphic designer or illustrator.
Follow @teenagehotdog on Instagram and see even more of Emily's work here:
All images courtesy of Emily's Instagram @teenagehotdog


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