Creative Chatter: Ema Frost

Holi Hine by Ema Frost

Big eyes and hummingbirds are both signatures of Ema Frost's work as is her careful blending of cultures. Having travelled to India, China, Japan and New York within the last twelve months it's fair to say Ema has a pool of inspiration to draw from in the future.


Tell us a bit about yourself...

I grew up on a farm with every animal you could think of, I just love animals and nature, and had a very lucky upbringing with parents who taught me that anything is possible. I could come to them with the most random, ridiculous idea and they would always be encouraging and supportive. Every day I think how lucky I am, and I guess that's where my beliefs come from too as I too think anything is possible.

I've always been creating things, but a lot of the times how I come up with ideas and things is because I couldn't find what I was looking for but could visualize what I was after and this still works for me. It requires a lot of energy and desire to create for me personally, so therefore it needs to be special and mean something to me, I can't just create for the sake of creating.

I did study Graphic Design but for the most part I'm self-taught as I'm interested in so many different mediums and am always curious, wanting to explore and learn new things. The harder it is the better, as this makes it more challenging and satisfying.

Amelia Hine in India by Ema Frost


Your most recognisable works merge elements of both Japanese and Maori culture. How did this merging of culture and styles come about? 

Well, I think in a past life I was from Japan, and the two merged without thinking about it! (It) just came naturally for me, because I feel I'm not attached or come from anywhere. However, when I do bring in New Zealand elements I have a sense of belonging to our country.

I don't have a very good memory so my art is my timeline - I can remember where and when I've created every piece. 
Snowflake & Roxy by Ema Frost


As well as your prints and drawings you produce a range of ceramic objects. How do your skills transfer from one to the other and which came first? 

That's a tricky question, as I don't think too much about one to the other. I just get these ideas in my head, and even if I'm not sure how to execute them, I will research and find out as much as possible about the subject and then create the piece.

I love learning new things and to be constantly challenged, as there is ALWAYS a way to do things even if it might take several attempts and people saying you can't do it - which often makes me more determined, as have they tried...?

You don't know something until you have tried and exhausted every option, I'm thankful every day that I have a lot of patience, determination and persistence.


The Painted Peacock Project

Your trip to India with Flox, Cathy Pope and Sacha Stejko to create a massive piece of street art and teach school child different art techniques was incredibly inspiring. How did the project come about? 

We just decided that we would love to travel somewhere together and create, share and experience new things. We had never worked together before this, so we were very fortunate that we all worked together well and had no problems.

I actually met Cathy for the first time in India a year before this project.

It took quite some time planning and organizing to make the trip happen, about 7 months. It is very difficult to do anything in India, and this project would have not been possible without the help of my good friend Rajesh Soni, who I met the first time I went to India. He is a local artist in Udaipur, Rajasthan. He helped us with pretty much every aspect of the India side of things, like finding a wall where we could paint and which school to work with etc.


You’ve had an incredibly busy year with trips to New York, India, China and Japan to exhibit and explore your art. What’s next for Ema Frost? 

Where do I begin! I have a lot on at the mo, I'm writing a travel book and also illustrating and writing a Children's Book which will be out early next year, amongst new pieces and working on some commercial projects including one which involves a charity. Our next Pop Up Shop/Show will be in Christchurch in Sept. I will be exhibiting again next year in Tokyo with another Japanese artist. I also hope to go back to India for a couple of months over Xmas time.


Discover more artwork by Ema here...


Holi Hine (night) by Ema Frost

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