We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily M. Wolfson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily M., why did you pursue a creative career?
I have been an artist all my life, like most artists have! But I started my career in architecture, not feeling that I could make ‘art’ a real career. I created artwork on the side, at night, and kept my day job. Slowly I found ways to develop my art into a marketable product. Originally when I started hand painting baseballs, I made fanciful designs and artistic expressions on baseballs. But during a craft show I was approached by some one who wrote an article in the newspaper about my baseballs. See at that time all baseballs were white, and it was a crazy sight to see me using them as a canvas. Someone saw that article, contacted me and told me they could help me print my designs on baseballs so I could sell the prints. My business was born, and I feel I have the best of both worlds, painting and designing new sports memorabilia for my artistic expression, as well as the sales and running a business aspect that only an entrepreneur can experience.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a baseball artist I was not always a knowledgeable baseball fan. I grew up in North Jersey where I watched football, we have no professional baseball team. But I have learned so much about the game of baseball, and I love the romance of the game. I have learned it from my customers, and from watching baseball movies. I have learned it from suggestions of what people request. My brand is not about baseball specifically, but about holding the memory in your hand, turning the ball to see different views of that memory. When I make World Series baseballs I try to take the essence of that series, not the logos, but the songs and themes of that season. Iconic images and sayings, all of which really set my artwork apart from other sports art. I am trying to get to the heart of the memory of the team, movie, or event. Those memories are what sell my baseball designs apart. It has sometimes been a struggle as an artist in the business world, but I think both the art and the business grew together and that is what has helped my company really grow.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live right outside of Philadelphia. It is a big sports town, so we would need to attend a Phillies game, or if winter an Eagles game. There are the well known sights of Philly like the liberty bell, but I would probably go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art b/c it is a great one! Also walking around down town on South Street is great people watching, good food and fun stores.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my customers. Not because they purchase my products, but because they help me create them! I have a ‘proofreaders’ group who help me check my artwork for spelling mistakes and fact check me. I have people who email me ideas for new designs as well as photos of their home collections. I have club members that give me great ideas and will spend time on the phone talking to me about ways to structure limited edtiions. Without this wonderful group of people I truly could not run my business.