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Ema Frost Talks Myths, Folklore, and Inspiration


What do you get when you combine the myths and legends of Maori and Japan's folklore? Amazing art!

Ema Frost is an Auckland, New Zealand, based graphic artist, illustrator, and ceramic designer. Her work has WOWED us for some time now, so we were 27 shades of excited when she made time to answer a few of our questions about her background, work, and influences. 

Ema Frost
First up, would you be able to tell us a little about your background and where the inspiration for your art comes from?

I was very fortunate growing up to have parents that believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it, as there is always a way. I lived on a farm where I was able to have every pet possible under the sun and all the space to allow my imagination to run wild. I was a child who preferred to be creating my own things as opposed to what was the latest trend.
Ema FrostI have always been fascinated and inspired by the legends and mythologies of Maori and Japanese folklore that have been the muse of my imagination since I was a young girl. I marry the two cultures with harmonious cohesion giving my work its signature dreamlike style. The enchanting creatures that feature in my images do not exist on the page alone. They are multi-dimensional characters that live in a world of harmony and balance. Each character has their own genealogy and set of charmed characteristics making them unique to the world they live in.

I continually experiment with vibrant colours and often lose myself in the magical detail of my work. Looking closely at my images one catches sight of dreamlike reflections and mischievous characters peeking out from unsuspecting places.

How have the cultural aspects of your work affected you outside of your art?
Ema Frost
I love to experience different cultures so I often find myself travelling extensively. Recently my art has transformed into a kind of passport, allowing me to combine my passion for travel, meeting people and having ‘off the beaten path’ experiences.

I have also been fortunate to have had ‘Artist in Residence’ in Japan and India where I was inspired to create new work and experiment with different mediums. During my last trip to India I was reminded how small the world is, when a lady recognised my work which was on display in a gallery in Udaipur, India, as she already has two of my pieces hanging in her home in Queenstown, New Zealand.

What's one of the highlights about being an artist and meeting your fans?

It always excites me when I get to talk to and hear from fans of my work. That’s one of the things I love most about having exhibitions. It’s a way for me to not only explain my work, but to point out the subtle nuances in each piece that are hard to see if you don’t know where to look. People were over the moon when I released my collection of watches. One fan said that having a Frosty watch meant they could have a little piece of art with them everyday. 

Do you have any shows coming up or anything exciting you are working on?

Ema FrostSo far this year has just been an explosion of opportunity and adventure, which doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I have The NZ Art Show coming up in June, which is a major art event in New Zealand. Followed by a show in Christchurch, NZ, in June; Queenstown, NZ, in July; then a trip to India and China in September working on a very exciting collaborative art project. Being busy is great, and I’m incredibly excited for what the rest of 2016 has to offer.  

Did you go to art school? What was your path to becoming an artist?

The catalyst for me to become the artist I am now, is from studying graphic design. From there, everything just flourished. But for the most part I’m self taught, as I love so many different mediums to work with. I make Fine Art work, resin jewellery and sculptures, ceramic pieces, bespoke furniture, and a variety of products - like the awesome ‘Ema Frost Modify Watches’ :) - I just want to sprinkle a bit of ‘Frosty Goodness’ everywhere!! lol.

I spent quite a bit of time up in The States where my parents lived for a period of time and this is where and when I created my first commercial pieces and everything snowballed from there. Since then my art has become my timeline as I can clearly remember exactly where I was when each piece was created.

Where else can people see your work, apart from your awesome 'Frosty' watches that is :) ? 

I have had solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand, and a selection of my work is currently available in several galleries across Aotearoa/ New Zealand. But would love to have my work global.

Thank you so much Ema for sharing your story and your art with us! And we have to say, one of the great things about ModifyWatches is that people from around the world can see and buy your art!

See Ema's watches:
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