We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Diffley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma, what inspires you?
I’m inspired by tennis balls, drive-thrus, hot cheeto bags, and bright yellow cafeteria trays.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My artwork revolves around imagination and DIY. I like to make art that’s core value is joy and having fun. I make functional objects – accessories, outerwear, and furniture – out of weird things, like caution tape, plastic bags, VHS tapes, and computer keyboards. I like to look at the world and think of the possibilities that lie within materials. It makes life extremely exciting and new when mundane objects transform into alternative futures. It’s so much fun to look at the world with brand-new eyes. I had a brief meeting with a professor once, who told me, based off my work, “You look for the opportunity in everything.” From my entrepreneurial endeavors to my art, this statement has brought me so much clarity and definition. Over quarantine, I started a TikTok (@diffelini) that developed substantial following and I’m currently developing a YouTube channel (DiffeliniTV) to pair with it. These videos revolve around how to make these unique objects, which I sell on my Etsy shop. The most popular items have been a plastic bag bucket hat, a vinyl record backpack, and a bag made out of computer keyboards. I’m developing craft kits and sewing patterns to go with these creations, so people can participate in these DIY explorations with me. (Let’s escape into an alternative, creative universe.) (Think: An IKEA for crafts.) I have no idea if these craft kits will take off, but it’s an exciting project I’m making a website for called diffelini.com. Thinking about sending out monthly snail mail with promotional stickers, posters, and postcards surrounding this project. I work and think about this project constantly. (Stay tuned.) I’m proud of growing. I feel like a new person, all the time. And I like who I am right now. It definitely hasn’t been easy, but I think that’s the point. It’s good that things aren’t easy. And it’s good that I’m always changing. Lessons I’ve learned and am still trying to learn: It’s okay to not know what to do. Because I don’t know what to do right now. But I know I will figure it out. The mantra: Keep going.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I will take you driving. I hope you like windows-down, because I always drive that way. We’ll start from my house and drive up Reseda Blvd, over the 118, to Sesnon. We’ll drive up the hill. I like to drive on this street for no reason. I drive on it every day. It’s right by the park that E.T. was filmed, when they crashed a car onto the playground. There’s always a man sitting under the same tree, smoking a cigar with his headset on, sitting in a lawn chair, staring at the same hill. Then we’ll make a U-Turn and go straight back down. There’s huge pine trees on either side of the street. We’ll cruise. Feel the air. If we make a left-turn on Rinaldi, I might drive you to Balboa, make another left, and take you all the way to the Old Road, past the Water Pump that always symbolized Home. The Old Road has nothing on it. More hills. During the spring, there are butterflies. If we don’t make it that far, we might stop at Sesnon Park, and sit on the grass and walk past orange and lemon trees. But if we make a right turn, I might take you to Megan’s house. We’ll sit on her couch, watch 90 day Fiance or Hannah Montana, and paint rocks. We might get in her car, listen to music, and talk about bands and boys. If we get back in my car, we’ll drive to Zelzah, past my old high school. I might take you to the Salvation Army on Balboa, Hope of the Valley on Chatsworth, or Goodwill on Reseda. We may stop at Arco to get gas. We might drive to Tampa, past my old job at the bookstore. When we’re tired, we’ll go home. We’ll go on a walk when the air is cool, during the Golden Hour. We’ll walk up my street, all the way to Etiwanda to admire the house that reminds me of cowboys, and walk down to the corner where the man with a truck built a new fence that smells like fresh Pine.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Everyone, everything, everywhere. Zoom calls with professors, shifts at Chick-fil-A, friends in the studio, the love from my family. Everyone and everything has influenced me in some way and I’m thankful for every single person in my life. (Thank you.)
Erick Cortes, Xepher Wolf, Emma Diffley