Meet Holly Schroder - friend of Anew, and multi-disciplinary artist based in Tamaki Makaurau.
What does a typical day in life look like for Holly Schroder?
Each day can be very different for me at the moment. I love to be involved in a lot of different activities which keeps me inspired to bring ideas back to my painting practise. I am an early riser and start most days heading to SALA. I have a very active mind so meditation is also a non-negotiable in the mornings.
Currently, I'm engaged in a few different creative projects. One of them involves creating a large-scale light installation in a location in Auckland later this year. Additionally, I'm working on some different paintings which I am excited about.
I'm also fortunate to be working for Art+Object & The Chartwell Trust, where I get to work with inspiring people and collaborate on projects - whether it’s redesigning a website, or creating videos, and I get to see a lot of really interesting and fantastic artwork on a daily basis. Towards the end of the day, I usually dedicate some time to my painting practise, which provides a reflective experience to wrap up the day.
Can you tell us about Hokitika glass and how your upbringing has influenced you as an artist?
Growing up in Hokitika, my parents had a glass-blowing studio called Schroder’s Glass - my dad was a glass blower and Mum did glass jewellery while also running the business side of things. Additionally, my best friend Louie Neale’s parents hosted an Art Club which we would go to after school. Louie and I spent a lot of time together, engaging in various creative activities whether it was putting on shows, painting and drawing, concocting potions, or creating sculptures with driftwood found on the beach, we were constantly immersed in imaginative pursuits. I think growing up in Hokitika granted the freedom to invent our own activities, and the laid-back nature of the small town allowed this, which influenced me to pursue art.
From your artist statement, you mention wanting to challenge the viewer's perception and encourage deeper engagement. What drew you to center your work around the concept of 'Pareidolia'?
The inspiration for exploring 'Pareidolia' in my artwork came from a visit to Punakaiki, my favourite place on the West Coast. The area features these incredible rock formations. One location had (and still has) a sign asking, "What do you see?" with an artist's depiction of various objects found within the rocks. I carried that concept with me wherever I went as a child. To me, objects seemed to possess personalities, as if they were anthropomorphised. I believe there is beauty in allowing our minds to wander and conjure different interpretations of what we see. In my art, I combine different elements to create a work that evolves and transforms the more one engages with it.
It seems relevant in this moment in time that you would want to hold attention through overstimulation. Does this play into your own process, and how do you see your work developing on this concept in the future? What is your perspective on art and AI?
Experiencing a painting can evoke various emotions and reactions. While I want the work to be stimulating, there is also a sense of calmness that emerges when one is open to the experience of contemplation. In our current age of media and cultural overstimulation, I believe it's crucial to have moments of presence and allow whatever arises to unfold naturally.
Regarding art and AI, I find the intersection quite fascinating. I have experimented with different programs to explore the possibilities they offer. AI, is a really unique tool, you can't categorise it in the same realm as other technology. I enjoy using tools in unconventional ways, as it often leads to intriguing outcomes.
Is there anything coming up from you that we should be looking out for?
I’m currently collaborating with another Artist (Sarah Jane Kavali) in Auckland on a large-scale light installation that we hope to present later this year. Our collaborative process revolves around the concept of play, where ideas are fluid and ever-evolving. Our meetings are based around playful exploration, allowing the direction of the project to organically shift and unfold. I love this way of working, even though it may take more time - it opens up space for unexpected discoveries that could never have been planned.
I am also in the midst of planning an upcoming exhibition featuring my painting works. I have been delving into the concept of memories and how they transform within our minds over time. The distortion of our recollections and the influence of emotions on our memories is really interesting to me. It raises questions about the reliability of our own memories and how we perceive them. Can we truly trust the memories we hold?