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Emily Schnellbacher Bean (b. 1987, Littleton, CO) is a soft-sculpture and installation artist based in Oak Park, MI. Emily earned her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, PA, and a BFA in Painting with Minors in Art History and Psychology from Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. During her studies at PAFA, inspired by the wearable art and costumes she sewed as a hobby, she transitioned her practice from painting to soft sculpture. She has exhibited her work across the Midwest and East Coast in venues such as the Ann Arbor Art Center in MI, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Governors Island Art Fair in NY, and Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia. Emily also teaches workshops on occasion and works a day job in advertising.



My artistic practice begins with photographs and live studies, often focusing on the intricate details of plant life and occasionally branching out into other elements of the natural world. I analyze how to achieve likeness, capture the subjects' essence, and employ abstraction within the confines of sewn media. Then, I develop patterns that serve as my roadmap, guiding the transformation of flat planes into dynamic, three-dimensional forms through cutting, sewing, and stuffing. Where necessary, I embellish these creations further with appliqué and embroidery techniques. I continue this iterative process to construct expansive soft sculptures and modular installations. Drawing inspiration from the cheeky spirit of pop art and the allure of kitsch, I incorporate vibrant colors, playful shapes, and familiar textiles throughout. The work is designed to catalyze wonder and curiosity, resonating with audiences of all backgrounds and ages.

Emily in studio.jpg
Monstera Deliciosa.jpeg
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