My name is Emma Evangeline Gustafson and I am a 25 year old full time artist and illustrator, based in the magical land of Coromandel!
Through my painting practise I get to celebrate the beautiful whenua I am fortunate to inhabit! I aim to cultivate feelings of peace, stillness as well as gratitude for nature!
When people look at my work I want them to feel inspired to go outside and connect. Sometimes I like to add in or hide metaphysical/mystical elements in my paintings too, I think it's important to remember that everything in our world is so much more connected than we realise.
The first big illustration job I was fortunate to work on was The Story of Swoop, which managed to hit #1 on the NZ Children's bestseller list. Since then I have worked on a couple of other stories for NZ based authors but intended to write and illustrate my own books so I have greater creative freedoms!
Social media has given artists so much more power to get their work out into the world. Like so many artists today, I'm so grateful to be able to share and sell my work directly through Facebook + Instagram.
I acquired my painting abilities from my grandmother Evangeline, she painted landscapes -most of them Manukau/Awhitu Peninsula based. She passed away when I was young but I can feel that her soul is present with me on this painting journey.
My ancestral lineage is a mixture of Scandinavian, Maori and European.
After moving to Whitianga I discovered that some of my Maori ancestors from Ngati Awa (based in Whakatane) were some of the first to settle in Whitianga, setting up our original trading post.. Which might explain why I feel such a strong connection to this whenua.
I have been living in Coromandel for over a year now and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
What is my advice for other aspiring artists?
My advice is to find out what art inspires you, think about what you want your art to do for the world and the feelings you wish to impart on your viewers. Every creative human has something unique and valuable to contribute to the creative collective world! You don’t need a degree to be an exceptional fine artist!
Although I have a degree in Graphic design, I am a completely self-taught artist and my process is very much intuitive.