“I’d rather be doing what I love than have loads of money,” Emma Norman tells getwestlondon , days before her exhibition – which opens next Wednesday until August 25.

The 23-year-old, who has lived in Pinner all her life, is fresh out of a four-year stint at Manchester Metropolitan University studying art, and now she’s ready to make her mark, one step at time.

When she’s not creating art or playing music or doing creative workshops at Harrow Arts Centre – where she is currently doing a Gold Arts Award – she is making ends meet, working in Debenhams three days a week.

“It is the creative process that I love,” she says. “So if it means doing this or that to make it happen, then I’m more than happy to do it.”

One of Emma Norman's pieces that will be on display next week
 

The former pupil of Nower Hill High School in George V Avenue, Pinner, believes the council-run Harrow Arts Centre is a local source of inspiration.

She said: “I have played music there a few times, but this opportunity [to do her Gold Arts Award there] came up after university.

“I think it is such a special place which does not really get enough credit really. It gives everyone so many opportunities to take new stuff in – that’s kind of rare – and loads of great things for kids too. I wish I knew more about it when I was a child.”

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Art was always a big part of Emma’s life, however it was not until school that things really clicked.

“Subconsciously I guess when I was young my mother would always take me to exhibitions, and that is how I was introduced to it, but the first time I really realised I loved art was when I was in sixth form.

“I was never so great at other subjects, but with art it never felt like work, I guess I’m really lucky to be where I am, doing something I love.”

Her exhibition – entitled “What Do You See?” – is a call to her audience to share their perception of her work, a process she finds intriguing.

“What I find so special about it is when people come to something I’ve worked on, and they mention something that resonates with them about it which is totally new and different which I never even saw myself. That’s what is so great about to creative process.

“Because much of my work is a combination of different colours, and how they interact with each other, I guess I invite that dialogue between myself and my audience.

“I find it really important.”

You can learn more about Emma Norman by visiting her website, www.emmanormanart.com . Her exhibition begins on July 31, and ends on August 25. See it at the Harrow Arts Centre, in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End.