If some artists consider their work to be a mirror of society, the artwork of Emilie Fantuz can be considered a magnifying glass held against the world around her. Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Emilie began her work in the picturesque setting of Hawaii, where exquisite views to inspire never lack. Her work has evolved over time as her surroundings have, highlighting the beauty in everyday scenes..
It was in Hawaii that Emilie learned the technique that would become her signature method — the use of palette knives. Her adoption of these tools would later spark the introduction between her husband Mike Fantuz, an artist who also utilizes palette knives. Today Emilie’s unique style is a seamless marriage between American realism and the Ashcan School, displaying cityscapes and urban views through a romantic framing that makes even the glow of a streetlamp tread the line between reality and dream.
Her time spent living in different cities, from Kauai to Detroit, honed Emilie’s keen perception of beauty within even the most inconspicuous of details. It’s this observance of subtle scenes that creates the unmistakable imagery in Emilie’s work. She also finds inspiration from a variety of sources, from lighting, contrast, and emotions, to the quaint sight of a busy sidewalk.
Her artwork has been exhibited in both the United States and Canada, including the popular annual exhibition, Bugs, Blooms, Beasts, held at the Scarab Club in Detroit. Her work has been awarded several times, from A l’Heure de Paris in Detroit, Michigan, and from the City of Howell Public Art Project in Howell, Michigan, and belongs in collections within the Netherlands, China, Caymen Islands, and France. She enjoys reenergizing herself while hiking in the Canadian mountains near her home in Vancouver.
Emilie Fantuz’s cityscapes combine thick, bold application with a striking sense of optimism. She builds undulating forms from bright, high contrast palettes to create new perspectives on familiar streets and buildings.
Our urban environments are built from dense materials of concrete, asphalt and steel. Fantuz rebuilds them on each of her canvases using palette knives to create layers of heavily applied impasto. She emphasizes nocturnal scenes where the bright, reflective, and colourful lights at street level stand out against the natural night sky. The figures in these scenes deepen the juxtaposition between the natural and the constructed. Their bodies, postures, and positioning in the composition tell of intimate moments of warmth within known surroundings. Fantuz softens the angles and forms of the streets and buildings, while emphasizing strong hues and tonal dynamics, drawing the viewer into a cityscape that resonates with the inner experience of her paintings’ figures. Accustomed to familiarizing herself with urban locales that can at first seem alienating, Fantuz defamiliarizes these noir, evening spaces in order to reveal their true nurturing potential.
Fantuz illuminates the essential character of buildings and locations in historical and contemporary urban settings. She also reflects the figures’ uniqueness within a dense population, observing their connection and the stories that are all around us. These are bathed in light bouncing from the sheened street surface as much as from the buildings’ windows.
Fantuz’ pieces share attention to the beauty of everyday moments suspended in time. Her meditations on taking pause - both in life and in front of her canvases - are an invitation to the viewer to do the same.
Where Lights Meet (Two-Person Exhibition), Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Summer Group Exhibition, Ian Tan Gallery, Vancouver, BC
artsPacific, Aldergrove Kinsmen Community Center, Langley
Two Concepts of Realization, Newton Cultural Center, Surrey, BC
Arts 2018, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BC
Artist Talk: Palette Knife Adventures, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey, BC
Magnitude of Color, Beaudry Gallery, Dallas, TX
Diversiform, Beaudry Gallery, Dallas, TX
In a New Light, Hatch Gallery, Hamtramck, MI
Seven, River's Edge Gallery, Wyandotte, MI
A l'Heure de Paris (First Place Award), Detroit, MI
Haute Domain: Detroit Art & Design, Galerie Camille, Detroit, MI
Blooms, Bugs, Beasts, Scarab Club, Detroit, MI
Future Interrupted, Beaudry Gallery, Dallas, TX
Hatchback 11, Hatch Gallery, Hamtramck, MI
HOME, Mike Kelley's Mobile Homestead, MOCAD, Detroit, MI
Holiday Show, Galerie Camille, Detroit, MI
Detroit Society of Women Painters and Sculptors Fall Exhibit, The Loft Fine Art, Mount Clemens, MI
Detroit Biennale, Museum of New Art, Armada, MI
2016 Fine Art Competition, Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson, MI
Michigan Fine Arts Competition, BBAC, Birmingham, MI
Pop Up Art: Special Edition, Lansing Art Gallery, Lansing, MI
Pathways and Places, solo-exhibition at Beverly Shores Gallery, Beverly Shores, IN
Art for Charlie, Michigan State College of Law, East Lansing, MI
The Next Big Thing, Museum of New Art, Troy, MI
A Rose is a Rose... Except When It's Not, River's Edge Gallery, Wyandotte, MI
Let's Pretend, River's Edge Gallery, Wyandotte, MI
Odeon Theatre Mural, Commissioned by the Ambleside Dundarave BIA, West Vancouver, BC
Salem-South Lyon District Library, South Lyon, MI
City of Howell Public Art Project 2015 - 2017, Howell, MI
Art Explored 2016 & 2017, Royal Oak, MI
Detroit Little Libraries - Detroit, MI
Pop Up Art: Special Edition, Lansing, MI
Romulus Public Library, Romulus, MI
Novi Public Library, Novi, MI
City Hall Public Art Installation, Michigan City, IN
Royal Oak 11 Mile East Public Art Project, Royal Oak, MI
American Realism by Emilie Fantuz, Magzoid International Art Magazine
This Palette Painter's Vancouver Works Will Leave You Speechless, Vancouver is Awesome
Artists Shares Optimissm for Pandemic Painters, CityNews Vancouver
Emilie’s story... Real People Real Stories - Creating Connection during Social Distancing, The Compassion Project
Beautiful Paintings of the Natural & Urban Landscapes with Palette Knives, Trendy Art Ideas
Emilie Fantuz: The Artist's Voice Podcast
Where are they now? Detroit Performs, Detroit Public Television
Detroit Performs, Detroit Public Television
Interview: Emilie Fantuz, Romulus Community Television
Henry Ford Hospital
Bank of Ann Arbor
Burris Law Firm
US Renal Care
Iron Fish Distillery
Private Collections in Canada, United States, France, Chinga, Caymen Islands, and the Netherlands
Emilie and Mike Fantuz work and reside in Vancouver BC, Canada with their their Apricot Poodle, Victoria.
While the two artists have tremendous experience searching for inspiration in many places, they didn’t expect to find each other while doing so. Who knew that their favourite hashtag inspiration on Instagram #paletteknifepainter would also be the reason they met.
After many conversations and finally meeting, Emilie made the move from Michigan USA to the Great White North. Today Emilie and Mike work from the same studio, both using the niche technique that brought them together.
Emilie’s art creates a sense of curiosity. It makes the viewer want to know what’s around the next corner, and at the same time creates a sense of familiarity. With her perspective eye, she is able to turn an everyday observation into a form of art that captures a moment you are happy you didn’t miss.
With his bold style and expressive nature, Mike’s pieces compliment Emilie’s close up perspective. By taking a regular view and simply looking up, Mike’s art creates a new perspective on how we see things. A typical Manhattan skyline or Vancouver’s picturesque mountains, his art gives viewers a new way to view things they thought they already knew.
The Fantuzes’ art is both capturing and captivating. While they work as individual artists, their art paired together creates a new kind of experience that allows the viewer to see the full picture in everything around us.