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Otherworldly Art

Illustrator Emily Lynn Perelman adds color to a dark year

Emily Perelman
Emily Lynn Perelman has been illustrating since high school. She’s also used her design skills for good as an intern with ARCK Boston as part of BU’s Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Program.

Emily Lynn Perelman’s clouds don’t have silver linings, but they do have blue, green, red, and pink ones. Perelman (CAS’22) is an illustrator and a graphic designer whose vibrant creations can bring splashes of color and joy to the printed page—even during a trying year.

In “Isolation Station,” an illustration she created for an art print, a small house is stranded in space and fenced in by a circle—but it’s still a cheery and welcoming pink, stars winking beyond its cute windows. One poster declares “These Are Strange Times,” but pairs its message with cradling hands and a bright yellow sun. The clouds in “Time Moves Slow” are bright red, the sky a deep pink.

“I really like to play with transitions—like sunrises, sunsets—abstract geometric shapes, and symmetry,” says Perelman, “and create a surreal vibe that makes the viewer feel like they’re in some otherworldly, colorful place.”

Perelman, a psychology major and visual arts minor, has been illustrating since high school. What started as a hobby is now a small business: Perelman sells prints and stickers—including BU-themed decals for travel mugs and laptops—on craft sites Etsy and society6. She’s also used her creative skills for good, working as a graphic designer at BU Hillel and as a creative assistant intern at ARCK Boston.

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  • Going Nowhere

    Going Nowhere

  • Weird Feelings

    Weird Feelings

  • All the Passing Time

    All the Passing Time

  • Side By Side

    Side By Side

  • These Are Strange Times

    These Are Strange Times

During the internship, which was sponsored by BU’s Yawkey Nonprofit Internship Program, Perelman designed ads and distributed remote lesson plans to help support ARCK’s mission of integrating art and design into Boston Public Schools’ literacy and STEM classes.

“I want to work with kids, but I’m also passionate about art,” says Perelman, who joined ARCK as a graphic designer but gradually took on other roles. “It was a small nonprofit, so I had the opportunity to work directly with the founding director. I gained so much insight from her: I’ve learned how a nonprofit like that runs, the driving force behind it, and what kinds of things need to be done to garner fundraising.”

She’s still learning about her own style, too, experimenting with new creative approaches.

“I’m a student, I’m still growing, I’m trying to let my style change,” says Perelman. “I try to let myself make what feels right and what feels like a true expression of who I want to be.”