em north/em16 (she/they) is an artist analyzing figurative depiction through large-scale immersive paintings and drawings on paper. In 2009, she learned to tattoo and began exploring the possibilities of drawing on human skin. Her artistic practice explores the multiplicities of identity as developed within internal and external representations of human form.
Examining gender, class, and queerness via narrative storytelling is a consistent goal of Em’s artwork. She has worked in performative, digital, and printed media. She has continued to adopt language and materials to each specific project, working both individually and collaboratively with other artists.
Born in 1978 in New Jersey, North has lived and worked in New York City since 1997. She attended Rutgers Mason Gross for her MFA in Studio Art, Parsons School of Design for her BFA in Fine Arts, and Eugene Lang College for her BA in Writing and Sociology. In 2003, she co-founded riffRAG, a queer, anti-racist, feminist art magazine, and curated related art exhibitions. Her work has been exhibited in film festivals and galleries, including SOHO20, Leslie Lohman, Fountain Art Fair, Artists Space, Longwood Gallery, SF Arts Commission, Queens Museum of Art, New Fest, and Brooklyn Borough Hall. After retiring from working as a graphic designer for 15 years, she now makes work in her Brooklyn studio, teaches courses at Parsons, and tattoos from Scarlet Letter which she opened in 2016.