By Lucas Van Deventer
A way to stay aware of oneself and reduce the many stressors that come along in life is by taking into perspective the amazing art influences that are around us every day. A junior artist at Springfield College stands by this notion through her burning passion for art.
Heidi Schuman is a junior in the studio art program with minors in web design, art therapy and marketing. During her time on Alden Street, she has had a lasting impression on people with her art tendencies.
She has lended a hand to assist with The Springfield Student’s design of a logo for a story on the ‘True Colors’ series which promoted a platform for the LGBTQ+ athletic community on the Springfield athletics social media outlets. She also designed a revamped ‘For the Record’ logo, a series from The Student which highlights the LGBTQ+ experience on campus.
Artwork can uncover a sense of creativity that someone might not have thought they had. In addition, art can be displayed in many ways and forms.
Schuman, a member of the women’s tennis team, is a true believer that everyone has a creative mind when you really think about it. Whatever hobby or passion a person has, it can be expressed in an art form. Even playing a sport can be looked at as an art influence with the emotions that go into it. It can be conveyed by what you see and how you feel as well.
“I feel like art is kind of underappreciated and especially now, it’s not really a big digitized thing. It’s something that you touch and hold and so I think it’s cool. I think we need more of that,” she said.
Schuman has been selling her art and has been doing commissions since high school. She began to find a passion for it a few years ago when she opened herself to a new interest she held in art and design.
“I have always loved doing art ever since I was little. I think I started to take it seriously in high school. My junior year I did advanced placement studio art so I had to make a portfolio that was 24 pieces in the year, that’s when I started making a lot of art and building my own style,” she said.
Schuman soon found her place in art and design. At one point, art was all she used and depended on for a while when she was grappling with the difficulties of mental health. She used art to help her cope and the more she worked with art, the more she hit her stride with the skills and developments needed to push her talents further.
“I had to be hospitalized for mental health issues and in the hospital I stayed at, I stayed there for seven weeks and they had an art therapy group. We would spend an hour doing whatever art we wanted and that was the best part of my day. I did a few individual sessions too. It really helped with what I was struggling with,” She said.
Even though it was a fight to get through the strain of mental health, Schuman was able to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, she is finding her success doing media design and graphic design art through Adobe programming. As of now, she does not want to give up this demanding engrossment she has found for herself. Schuman wants to keep at it as much as she can.
“Last semester I got into design. I started taking design classes with Ruth West, the head of the media and digital design services, and I love her. She is such a great professor and I have started taking as many classes as I can with her and I’m getting into the Adobe suite and doing digital art,” Schuman added.
Professor West speaks highly of Schuman as she was creating a piece of artwork every day in the month of February. The work is continuously reflected to show her hard work and creative spirit.
“Heidi is a very talented artist, who is a consistent, hard-working team player in my classes. I know this is not very thought-provoking, but what else do you say about such a nice person. I have enjoyed having her in my classes,” West said.
Previously, Schuman has only been a painter or drawer; the more traditional art style and the style she was most comfortable with; however, with her newly found interest in digital design, she has begun to blend the two to make an amazing masterpiece. What she creates builds character and reflects her devotion to the effort she puts into it.
With her incredible sense of art, comes the confidence she gets from her peers, her friends and her family. Schuman acknowledges that without the amazing support from them, then what she does now could be hard to accomplish with the same end result in her work.
The source of support she finds starts with her family. Her parents and her brother constantly look to encourage her to keep working at it. Her younger brother, Eric, is proud of the way she is invested with art and acknowledges what it means to her. He sees incredible results in the artwork she does for him also.
“She is always working on a project whether it’s painting someone’s shoes, the walls on our house, a phone case, or pretty much anything else you can think of. I have a pair of her shoes and get compliments for them all the time. She is very talented and the end product is always amazing,” her brother said.
Not only does her family show support for all the accomplishments and projects Schuman has done, but also her closest friends at Springfield College get a look at how talented she is. She finds a way to use art that she makes to help others feel better too.
Caitlin Ryan, a student at Springfield exclaimed, “I consider Heidi my best friend and I truly support her work so much as an artist. I even had her paint the door to my room in a flower mural and I have a painting of hers hanging up on my wall. It’s so amazing to see how passionate she is about her art and how she really can express herself through it.”
Schuman’s teammate on the Springfield Pride tennis team, Veronica Fulgieri, also realizes that the work Schuman puts into her artwork displays a wonderful picture of who she is as a person. The artwork is done with precision and close attention to detail.
“I don’t see modern art in the way that most people do, but Heidi changed that opinion for me. When I look at her art, I can see the beauty in it. She seems to put a piece of herself in the artwork in very subtle ways. It could be the subject matter or even the colors. It could be that I just know Heidi, so I automatically see her in it. Her art tells her story,” Fulgieri said.
Using these words of encouragement and taking advantage of the abundance of support, Schuman continues to do her work of art. She is very aware of the attention to detail in her artwork and works hard at what gives her passion in her life.
“Definitely my peers and my friends. That’s kind of where I get confidence from also. Like if no one wants your art, I’d still do it for me, but it’s nicer when you get good feedback and people that reposts your stuff and recommend you to other people, so that’s definitely a big motivation to keep doing what I’m doing,” Schuman admitted.
Looking into the future, Schuman hopes that any career she finds, she can try to utilize her art skills to implement them to her job. Art is what makes her and she wouldn’t change that for the world.
“Right now, I’m going toward marketing and once I get into that, I really want to try to find a way to incorporate art to my job or do graphic design. But even if I don’t end up doing a job that’s necessarily art related, I think I’ll always have that as my hobby,” Schuman said.
There comes a time when a sudden interest helps to fill the void and gives students a way to keep moving forward. Art is one element that can help people in many different ways and can even change a person’s life for the better.
Photos Courtesy of Heidi Schuman