Less than a year into a New Zealand Certificate in Creativity (Level 4) student Emma Hercus is getting a lot of positive attention for her work. She recently won the People's Choice Award at TLC's Spring Forward student exhibition for her striking painting "Demise of the Huia".
We spoke to Emma about how she discovered The Learning Connexion, and how her creativity has developed since being here.
Hi Emma - tell us a bit about your creative background?
I have always been creative but didn’t start trying to make a career out of it until after I had children. I started to learn how to weave willow baskets and light shades from someone who had been doing it for over 40 years. Trying to sell everything online and make all my creations at home became difficult so I searched for a studio and found one in Paekakariki with some other artists. All the other artists were painters which got me started back painting.
So painting is how you best express your creativity?
I love painting. The story you can tell. The buzz you get when it starts to come right and look good. I like to change my techniques and style of painting all the time as I am inspired.
I mostly work with acrylic but I would like to get more into oils. At the moment my art is figurative/representational art. You could describe it as naive too. Nothing looks like it does in real life and I also like to add a bit of humour to my work sometimes. To make people smile when they see it is great. I like to use found bits of wood, timber, old windows and the like in my artwork. Things that already have a story to tell.
How did you discover The Learning Connexion?
I won a scholarship to study at The Learning Connexion after entering an art competition at Pataka Art Gallery. It was good timing, as my youngest child had just started school. So I thought it was an opportunity not to miss. I’m so happy I took it up.
I love working with other like-minded people and gaining insights from the amazing tutors we have onsite at TLC. The equipment and workrooms are great, there is so much variety. I have been pushed in many different directions since I have come here, and this has been great for my art.
How do you sustain your creative practice, where do you draw inspiration from?
I like to always have projects on the go. I find that social media helps me get commissions and sell artwork which keeps me going. For my own artwork I am inspired by interesting New Zealand people and stories. Our wonderful landscape and birds. The history of New Zealand, how we came to live here and early New Zealand life.
I have really enjoyed each class at The Learning Connexon. I find finishing every piece a bit of a wow moment. When it comes together, it’s a great feeling.
How have you transformed during your time at The Learning Connexion?
Lots of friends have noticed my art work changing, developing more storytelling and the painting techniques improving. TLC has opened my mind to opportunities and ways in which I can achieve my goals.
You can see more of Emma's work on her Instagram