Illustrator Emily Fleming

When she isn’t working or attending class at Mississippi College (MC) to complete her master’s in graphic design, Clinton-based artist Emily Fleming is illustrating. She’s been a creative mind and illustrator since she could hold a pencil, and credits Cups for being a sweet retreat from the humdrum of her daily grind and a source of inspiration for her passion projects.

“Cups inspires you to be more free with whatever you’re drawing,” she said. “The cafes are, in the best way, products of their environment. They’re each very unique and speak to their surrounding community.”

It was this community-focused element that first interested Emily in getting her work displayed at Cups. The cafe closest to her, Cups in Clinton, is located on Mississippi College’s campus and offered her easy access to local artwork, some of which was created by her classmates.

“I could walk around and see work by someone in my class, or someone I knew,” Emily said about her visits. “It helped me feel a little bit more connected to the people around me and also inspired me to be part of it.”

“That inspiration really helped me when I made my fountain drawing,” she said. “My friend John Mark, who worked at Cups at the time, told me about how I could get my work on display. So, I went for it.”

Fountain illustration

“Fountain” by Emily Fleming

Emily’s fountain illustration, displaying a serene scene on MC’s campus, was well received and helped create a foundation for her to build from. She has started selling prints of the fountain drawing and is working on creating a series of stickers inspired by campus life.

But that’s not all. Emily sometimes visits her local Cups to work on projects that are purely for her creative expression. Her most recent passion project is a multi-genre comic that brings together the best elements of mystery, crime, and fantasy.

“The best way I can describe it is as a ‘modern-fantasy-crime novel’. It’s modern wizards that are solving crimes. It’s a fun time,” she said. “I’ve thought about the project since high school but have never really made the time to see it through until now.”

She credits her friends, and the space at Cups, with helping her get started on her comic, and for helping her pace herself through the creative process. She believes that artists should always make time for their own personal projects in order to avoid creative burnout and to challenge themselves in a fun way.

“It’s so important to find time for yourself, and draw things for yourself,” she said. “It’s important to have hobbies that are just for you.”

When she isn’t working on her comic, Emily will sometimes visit Cups just to vibe and sip her go-to order: an iced Caramel Macchiato (with whole milk, always).

“Sometimes I’ll go just to get a coffee and walk around and look at everybody’s art. It’s really great to see what other people in your area are working on. It’s always all so different.”

To any local artists wanting to have their art displayed at Cups, Emily had this advice to share:

“Just do it! People get scared of the process, but just do it–it’s fun and you get to be a part of the community!”

Be sure to follow Emily on Instagram (@em_flemlem) for updates on her latest work and to preview her comic and check out her work on your next visit to Cups in Clinton!