After growing up on the West Side and spending a year at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Schmotzer made the decision to stay in Cleveland and develop her career as an artist in the city she has always called home. While opportunities exist to move closer to family in Texas, Schmotzer enjoys the comforts of living with her parents in Rocky River instead of venturing south. "I thought about moving there, but Cleveland's just more affordable," says Schmotzer.
Image Maker: Schmotzer is a canvas stretcher at ArtWall, a warehouse in Strongsville that prints paintings — anything from Mona Lisa to less famous works — on canvases that are then packaged, distributed and sold. "I get the right-sized frame and stretch the canvas and staple it down, then wrap it and box it for shipping," she says.
Rap Artist: Although she spends her nights jamming out to her boyfriend's punk band, she loves nothing more than perfecting the occasional rap while she stretches canvases. "People at my old work used to call me Eminem," laughs Schmotzer. "New Icon is going to be my album title."
Primal Lessons: Schmotzer cites the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, as someone she looked up to. "He loved animals more than people, and that's how I am. Even though that snake wants to kill him, he knows it's just the snake's instincts," she says. "That's the way people should look at other people. You're not going to change them. You just have to coexist with them."
Eastward Bound: The opportunities to expand her career in the arts on the West Side may be limited. "The art scene, it's mostly on the East Side," she says. "If I really wanted to get more into the art scene, I would have to move to the East Side."
Safety First: Schmotzer hopes safety will improve in Cleveland, citing that many of her friends have moved into bad neighborhoods because it's more affordable than other areas. "A lot of people I know grew up in Cleveland, their parents are from Cleveland," she says. "People my age want to be able to embrace every part of Cleveland, but they're trying to slowly make it safer to live in."