Tormented Sugar

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A Manteca mother shares her love for digital art

By Lindsey Rodrian

“I decided if Frida can do it, I could give it a try,” Emily Whitaker says when asked what sparked her passion for art nearly seven years ago, referring of course to the movie that tells the true story of acclaimed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her larger-than-life husband Diego Rivera.

Today, Emily has traded her paintbrush for a mouse pad as she enjoys her newest artistic venture, digital art. Under the name Tormented Sugar, she shares her current style, “digital pop art,” via Instagram, throughout areas of San Joaquin, and in print publications. “I decided to go with a pseudo-name to stand out in the overwhelming sea of artists online. I wanted to focus on building an online presence to get my art out into the world one painting at a time,” she explains.

Emily also shares her work through involvement with non-profits like Eye Will Inc., out of Modesto. This particular group provides for visually impaired children and hits close to home, as Emily was born premature with 20/200 vision. “It’s not far from legal blindness,” the artist explains. “I rely mostly on my right eye to see the detail in my paintings.”

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In 2014 Emily was gifted a laptop and then a tablet- giving her access to art apps like Sketchbook, Bamboo Paper, Infinite Paper, Sketch, and Art flow. With these tools, her love for digital art grew as she created Andy Warhol-esque works representing celebrities, shoes, and beauty products. “My Nicolas Cage portrait ended up on the front page of Huffington Post’s Art section, right next to my favorite Japanese artist Sebastian Masuda!”

Despite a long history as a working artist, it look Emily a while to accept her new position. When asked at what moment the Manteca mother of two felt like a true artist, Emily responds, “I decided to start telling people I was an artist, and then slowly it became natural and I believed it myself. You have to believe in yourself first, then others will believe in you too.”

Check out Emily’s art:


1 Comment

  1. I have been following Tormented Sugar for some time now. Her art only gets better and I’m patiently waiting for my pieces to go up in value. Thanks for doing an article on her!!!

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