Art in any form is a mechanism for sensing the world around us. If we can feel but can’t describe it, then the medium steps in to help us decode the idea into a precise figure or blur of colors we can grasp. Emma Hinshelwood prefers realistic drawing, so she captures the intricate details of her subjects with her pencil. Using a mixture of color and graphite, she cross-hatches her portraits to add texture. “I like to draw animals,” she says. “I base a lot of my drawings off music I listen to.” The music prompts her as if she were creating the album cover for the artist.
Art for the Sake of Enduring
It’s not only the visual arts that Emma dabbles in. “I like to write,” she says, “usually fiction.” In grade 8, she’s already been recognized for her creative talent and has won a Young Author award for her work. We arrive at the question to which most artists offer a cryptic answer, but Emma is straightforward: Why are you inspired to write? “I realized I like to write so I did more of it,” she says. However, her writing isn’t strictly a hobby. The creative practice boosts her academic performance in art and literature “because [she] enjoys art and writing.”
Emma summarizes the synopsis for one of the stories the Young Author competition picked up. “It was about a young girl and her sister who were taken away by a man in the mirror,” she says, “and she had to go find her.” She would most definitely rescue a friend from a magic mirror. At Shepherd middle, she has a stellar reputation with her friends. Her friends would describe her as “very expressive.” “Before they really got to know me, I was really quiet,” Emma explains, “but now that I’m really good friends with them we’re more free around each other.” As far as friend groups go, she tries to surround herself with people similar enough but with their own differing characteristics. After school, she and her friends walk downtown, goof off, and idle away the afternoon hours.
Unsurprisingly, Ottawa is appealing to her as a place to live due to its aesthetic. “I like how worn down it looks. It’s not new,” she says. “It has personality.” The school itself has a pleasant disposition of its own. “Sometimes with the kids it’s a lot of fun because we pretty much know each other,“ she says. “The teachers are really nice.”
Present knowledge in hand, Emma has a specific message for her younger self if she could offer advice: “Don’t be worried and be more outgoing.” She says, “When it comes to presenting in class, it’s something that I’m not really fond of.” Emma has discovered a technique to combat this fear, a zen one. “I kind of just realize that, at the end of the day, I shouldn’t care about what other people think,” she says. The reason is she’s accepted that everything is temporary, so she figures, why sink yourself in an endless spiral?
If she could draw a wish in the air with a magic wand, it’d be another realistic portrait. Except for this piece, she’d be erasing instead of forming lines. She’d use the power of a wand to eradicate illness, given that she’s cared for people whom various conditions have affected. Though we can’t perform magic in the “abracadabra” sense, if we consider art a full manifestation of our willpower and communication with the world, it’s a “wish” in some regard. We can’t wait to see Emma’s wishes in a gallery show one day, or hopefully, a hand-drawn commission of an album cover for her favorite band, the Arctic Monkeys.