My name is Emma Hibbert, I am 24 years old, and I am currently studying for a BA (Honours) in Arts and Humanities in Classical Studies at The Open University. I chose to study the Classical period as I have always had a love for history. The Classical period consists of the Romans and the Greeks. It truly baffles me how people lived so long ago and have left traces for us to find today, as well as how much they have contributed to the world we live in now.
I originally chose to study at The University of Brighton, completing a BA (Honours) in Fashion with Business. During my time at Brighton, we had to partake in a historical studies class, and this is where my love was reignited. The more I researched and immersed myself in the history of the world, the more I became detached from fashion with the joy completely fizzling out. In the end, I decided it was best that I did not continue on with my studies, leaving the course in the final year. I took a year out and was introduced to the Open University where I applied straight away.
There are several different routes you can take within the Classical period, so in order to find where your interests lie you must complete a module called Discovering the Arts and Humanities. Within this module, I have: studied the reputation of Cleopatra and Elizabeth I, been introduced to the musical genius of Mozart and the creators of The Blues movement, dipped into the worlds of creative writing and poetry. As well as translating the ancient texts of Plato and Aristotle. By completing these units, it allowed me to find an interest and understanding of Philosophy, where I have decided to take my studies further. So, for me, a degree in the Classics will be centred around learning the Latin and Greek language in order to read the philosophical texts in their original format.
Although, when I am not working towards my degree, I create and sell art. For me, art is an outlet, it allows you to express what it is that is truly on your mind. When I draw, it’s similar to meditation. I become immersed in the world I am creating, so if I were to be feeling extremely happy that day my painting would become bright and airy. The same could be said for if the day was not going to plan, a darker more solemn art piece may take form. My art is the rawest part of me as it gathers all my emotions and thoughts in one place.
I love creating fantasy scenes, where the audience can interpret the scene however they like. Like in my recent piece, depending on how you look at the scene changes your perception. Could the railway be abandoned with mother nature reclaiming it, or could this be intentional, is it a green highway? There is a dark contrast between the abandoned nature of the piece with the bright colours and the fish swimming to the side, so dependent on your personal emotion depends on how you see the piece.
I also enjoy drawing people with unique faces and styles. I am on a crusade to find all the beauty in this world and have been very sheltered from just finding influences from the United Kingdom. However, through my degree, my perception of the world has changed, and I have found a fascination with the different cultures of this world and how mother nature has created everyone and everything so differently.
I only started selling my work a year ago. Beforehand, I found it extremely difficult to be happy with the final outcomes and was very critical of myself and my work. When you first start to publish your art online, it can be extremely difficult to push through all the algorithms to get noticed. Sometimes my drawings do incredibly well and other times they flop. It can be disheartening to see this, especially when you have put a lot of effort and time into completing these pieces. My art is always very personal to me, so it feels like a part of me isn’t getting the love.
However, I would never go back and change anything as I do not believe in regrets. In these times, you must stand back and realise that this isn’t about you or your artwork. There are billions of people in this world all using these apps at the same time; some may be asleep and unaware. These dips are not about the quality but just time and the world. Through studying philosophy I was able to adopt a healthier mindset and realise that I should be loving what I do for a living. I am always on a path of growth and enlightenment, so I should not worry if I find a piece to not be satisfactory as I could learn from the errors and produce something bigger and better next time. This allowed me to take the leap and start pushing my art out on Instagram and Facebook, eventually setting up an Etsy account.
As well as selling on Etsy, I’ve been selling on eBay for years. It is pretty much a similar process. You must ensure that your organisation skills and enthusiasm stay high, otherwise the orders pile up and you become swamped. A drawing a day and then send it on its way!
On the other hand, there are times it is a little overwhelming. In these times, I like to take a step back – maybe take some time for a yoga session – and realise that this is for me, this is to further myself and grow as a human being. It’s acceptable to feel the pressures and negative emotions. Although, in the end, this is what I have chosen to do, this is what I am passionate about. I love to learn so wherever this learning takes me I will follow.
I still have a full-time job as well. This sometimes makes things a little difficult. Since my business is still new, I haven’t been able to leave the full-time job just yet. However, it is in the plans. I have tailored what I draw and create to fit in with the themes of my degree, it’s almost an extension of this. I find with studying, you must always have something for yourself, something which gives you a little healthy distance from all the writing and research. Creating is this for me.
As a result, there was almost a chance that I gave up art. When I left the University of Brighton, I was so sick and tired of people telling me how I should be drawing and what I should be creating that I actually didn’t draw for at least a year. I didn’t want anyone else influencing my pieces or telling me they didn’t understand and to be marked down because of their personal opinion, so I just stopped. I have always been interested in tattooing and the art which is created, so I tried to pursue a career in this.
Again, I found that it was a world that would heavily criticise you if you did not fit in with the trends. Maybe I am just a little stubborn, but it was a setback that took a little while to overcome. I had to find the right mindset and understanding of myself to be able to freely make art again.
When making art, the final piece is possibly the most rewarding. Sometimes a piece can take a few hours or sometimes days, if not a few weeks – if I am particularly busy with uni. So having my final creation looking like what I had envisioned in my mind is beautiful, and to have the ability to share this with the world, that’s even better. I have found that since posting on Instagram, I quite enjoy getting likes. when people take time out of their day to comment or send a message it makes me warm inside; that what you have created has sparked a reaction within them, a reaction large enough for them to use their own minutes to make another human happy. I find joy in that.
Furthermore, I plan to, eventually, move on to a Masters and maybe a PhD in the Classics. I enjoy learning, there will always be something out there that hasn’t been discovered or that will interest me. I want to lecture one day as well, to share my passion with others. I will also continue to create; I have recently been looking into concept art and backgrounds like Studio Ghibli.
So, I will continue building my skillset day by day. I also enjoy eastern philosophy like Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism as well as the art which is created within these parts of the world; it’s something I definitely wish to explore.
All images used are Emma’s work and cannot be used or copied.