Emily Schneider is a lovely 20 year old courageous woman. She was born in a small village named Rengsdorf located in Germany. Emily has expressed how New Zealand had been calling her heart for quite some time. To test the waters, she took one year of work and travel exploring this beautiful country. Emily explained, “It made me fall in love with its nature, the people, the language and everything else. You could probably describe it as ‘love at first sight'”. After her year of work and traveling, she knew she belonged in New Zealand. Choosing to be far from home and family Emily convinced her family that she was ready to start a new chapter in her life, “Since my visa expired, I had to return back home, which was not easy at all. I was happy to see my family and my friends but I was also heartbroken… After a lot of research and planning, I presented my plan to my father, and although he knew that it means he can only see me once a year, he did everything to support me. And the rest is history”. Emily’s father raved about Nelson and Napier and actually took his wife to these places for their honeymoon! I was curious if either of her parents were artistic as well and found out that both are. “Both of my parents are architects. My father and also my mother have always been sketching and creativity is a big part of their lives. During their childhood, my mother has always been into photography and videography whereas my dad mainly spent his time sketching cars” Emily stated.
Some of Emily’s inspirations for her artwork is “music, sitting in nature and looking at peoples’ faces, analyzing their facial expressions. One artist I have been looking up to for several years is Diego Fazio, who creates hyper-realistic drawings. My goal is to get better at sketching and to be able to create drawings that get as close to the level of a photograph as possible”. Her favorite practice is to draw and sketch. The detail and time put into her pieces are exquisite and precise. She shared, “I have been drawing faces since a very early age. When my brother and I were bored, our parents would give us paper and pencils, which means we grew up with drawing and painting… although of course, back in the day they looked very different. My first proper portrait drawing was created during my time in high school, probably class 7. And from this day on, I kept learning and learning and learning. It is a never ending process, I suppose”. Growing up with creative and expressive parents is such a special gift. I really agree with Emily when she said how art is a never ending process of learning.
Growing up Emily thought she wanted to become a fashion designer. She later changed her mind and wanted to follow her parent’s footsteps in being an architect. At the moment she is focused on becoming a graphic designer. Emily has started to get into photography while in her studies, “although NMIT made me discover photography, which fascinates me as well… I do not think that I would ever choose my “hobby/passion” for hyper-realistic drawing as my job, because I am scared that it would take away the beauty and simplicity of it “only” being a hobby”. Psychology is her plan if her potential pathway in the art world does not line up.
Having the huge curveball of COVID19 thrown into Emily’s studies, her contemporary arts and design practice have been changing. Her time has been mainly focused on her wellbeing. “I have been using this time to mainly focus on myself, which takes up most of my day. I am not as creative as I normally am, but that is not a bad thing in my opinion. At the moment, it is more important to me to pay more attention to my well-being. Normally Art helps me to do so, however I feel like this whole lockdown situation stops me from being as creative”. The most drastic change for Emily has been that she feel her freedom has been taken away. Her sense of freedom was a huge importance to her creativity as well. She gently said “I miss going for hikes and visiting my friends or the beach. It also takes away my daily structure and my ability to go to the gym, which is a big issue for me. I try to work out at home but it is not the same”. This I really connected with. Although she has had more free time on her hands “I struggle to be as creative, I do not find time to sit down and start drawing. I have been going through some emotional problems that made me feel tired and uninspired”. She hopes for the last two weeks of the lockdown things will be different. “I would love to be able to focus more on drawing”. I send all my positive thoughts and support to Emily and hope she finds a spark in her creativity and creates more than she ever has.
Never Let The Unknown Or Failure Stop You
Have you ever felt in dire need of something new? Choosing Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology New Zealand as the school to study at has been the key to satisfying my needs for change. Traveling to Nelson New Zealand has helped me break out of an echo chamber of familiarity. It has been teaching me not only a whole new culture but a whole new perspective in life. Being the first person from my school back in the states to attend NMIT has not been easy. Being on the opposite side of the planet from my family while the world is facing a pandemic has been such a weird, strange challenge I never thought I would face. I have been filled with so many mixed emotions throughout my journey here. NMIT has now been put on hold including online classes and the timing of things has been such a mess. However, the magnificent beautiful mountains and nature I have been exploring little by little has been helping calm my nerves, worries, and stress.
To sprinkle a handful of my life goals around; traveling outside the USA for studies was my first. Second, is to create artwork that will allow people to pause. Life moves at an extremely fast pace and sometimes we need a reminder to slow down. As a Creative Media major and environmental activist, the ability to study how humans around the globe are impacting the environment in helpful and different ways is important. I hope that in my travels, my eyes will open to new ways we can start to help save the Earth. The future is in our hands. The future is in my hands. Ignoring this major issue of our home heating up at a drastic rate would be unintelligent. Each and every person’s actions matter, no matter how small they might seem. Just because an idea might be more convenient and quick does not always mean it is the best option. I have learned New Zealand does not have a large number of production factories. Because of this choice, the country does not experience the negative effects of pollution compared to most other nations. Experiencing first hand New Zealand’s environment beats learning from a book or article any day.
Saving up has been a long process; working hard at multiple jobs to pay for my plane ticket and expenses on my own while abroad has not been easy. Being able to have this semester at NMIT in New Zealand has been preparing me to grow tremendously as an individual. Being able to have this experience and bring it back home to build off of has been a dream of mine. Just these couple months here has been one step closer to figuring out the next steps to my life.
Having the Coronavirus hit while studying abroad has been a huge turn I was not ready for. Granted, no one was ready for this to happen. I cannot let this stop me from learning and creating each day though. I am not losing hope for my education. A huge obstacle I am about to face is obtaining art materials. I was blessed with NMIT lending the supplies to us during class but now I need to find my own in order to keep creating. I really hope this will not hold me back from learning new ways to make art.