Local Artist Holly Schröder On Finding Inspiration And Parnell’s Hidden Gems
“There isn’t another suburb in Auckland that has the same unique combination of influences.” — Holly Schröder
Words by: Jess Willemse
Photography by: Delena Nathuran
Between considered architecture and gallery-lined streets, Parnell is a haven for Auckland’s creative souls. So it’s only right that we further explore this spirited suburb through the eyes of local artist, Holly Schröder.
Holly is a multimedia creative hailing from Hokitika, who most recently set up London St Art Club: a series of immersive art-making workshops often run out of Parnell’s rather aesthetic Textile Lofts. We caught up with her to chat all things creativity, where she finds inspiration and her favourite hidden gems in Parnell.
Hey Holly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve always had an interest and curiosity in many forms of art and design. My practice centres around creating experiences for people—whether this is through visual art, a sensory installation, or taking someone through an art-making workshop.
I’m originally from Hokitika, on the West Coast of the South Island. I moved up to Auckland in 2015 to pursue a Bachelor of Visual Art and Post Graduate Diploma in Creative Technology. Over the last couple of years, I have been developing my art practice through a variety of projects. I launched London Street Art Club in July 2020, which is a series of workshops exploring different art-making techniques.
Where did your love for art and all things creative come from?
Growing up in Hokitika, my parents had a glass blowing studio and our family friends ran an Art Club. My closest childhood friends were very creative and expressive—we were constantly drawing, painting, putting on shows, playing dress-up, collecting objects. Having the time and space to be creative in these early years is what fostered my interest in the arts.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration in so many things, forms and experiences. I get inspired through consuming other artists' work, music, photography, architecture, books and especially meeting new people.
However, I think inspiration can stem from anywhere and anything—it's more dependent on my state of mind at the time. I find that inspiration comes from noticing things; being present, and experiencing things with an elevated sense of awareness.
How did the idea for London St Art Club come about?
The beginning ideas of Art Club were prompted during the first 2020 lockdown. At the time, many of my friends were reaching out wanting to experiment with some art-making techniques. I reflected on my own practice, and then shared some exercises with them. After we got out of lockdown, we got together and did a few in-person group workshops in our garage of our flat on London Street (over many wines of course). That's when London St Art Club came about.
How would you describe the vibe of Parnell?
I would describe Parnell as having a village-like feel, with a mixture of historical, modern and artistic influences. I love the boutique cafes, restaurants and galleries nestled in the beautiful Villas that line the main strip. Then in contrast to this, the repurposed industrial buildings that sit down by Saatchi & Saatchi and the Textile Centre. Then there are the open spaces like the domain and Parnell Rose Gardens and not to mention all the churches and historical cottages that line the area. There isn’t another suburb in Auckland that has the same unique combination of influences.
What are some highlights of the creative scene in Parnell?
Parnell has many art galleries along the main street, as well as public art throughout the area. A sculpture that I find really interesting is Terry Stringer’s Mountain Fountain, which sits beside the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral itself also holds a vibrant history of art and architecture. I was blown away when I first experienced the stained glass windows inside the nave. What I find interesting is how the building has been added to and influenced by a range of different cultures, ideas and artists over the decades. Some of New Zealand’s most prominent artists—Nigel Brown, Robert Ellis, Shane Cotton—have been involved in designing aspects of the cathedral at different times.
This year we are thrilled to be hosting some Art Club workshops at the Holy Trinity Cathedral during April (Monday 4 April & Monday 11 April). The art, architecture, scale and depth of history the cathedral holds will create a very special space to hold some art-making workshops. The concept of the workshops is about approaching art-making as a multi-sensory experience—taking inspiration from light, sound and the environment around us.
What's your favourite hidden gem in Parnell?
The Textile Lofts, a shared workspace and private members club nestled in the iconic Textile Center. I’ve been working in the space part-time for almost a year, as well as running the Art Club workshops. The design of the space, the people and the overall atmosphere have made it the perfect home base for Art Club.
Where do you go for a spot of nature in the area?
The Parnell Rose Gardens. I would love to do a sketching workshop amongst the roses one day.
You’re spending Saturday in Parnell with friends, what will we find you doing?
A walk around the Parnell rose gardens while sipping on a coffee from Red Rabbit Coffee.
Quickfire: name your go-to dish in Parnell?
Anything from Barulho, in particular, I love the Crispy buttermilk chicken.