Remembering Emily — (Wicked Local Hamilton)

SSRI Ed note: Young artist dies from a "complication" of her antidepressant.

Original article no longer available

Wicked Local Hamilton

By Natalie Miller/

Thu Feb 07, 2008, 12:25 PM EST

Hamilton –  Emily Maurand had a vision.  It might not have been a vision others could see. But to her, it was clear and it was vibrant.

“She started drawing once she could hold a pencil,” recalled Emily’s mother, Jeanne Maurand. “I have drawings from when she was 3 years old.”
Through her early years, her artistic ability and vision grew.

“She could see things other kids didn’t and could put it on paper,” said Jeanne. “She loved movement and color.”

Flipping through a portfolio of her work, Jeanne can see her daughter in the drawings of angels and self-portraits. Others ­ such as a cartoon sketch of an old woman watching television with a sock puppet covering one hand ­ leave her wondering what her daughter was thinking.

After graduating from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School in 2000, Emily went on to attend the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., where she earned a degree in computer animation.

Jeanne said Emily loved color so she was naturally drawn to animation, where she could scan her illustrations onto a computer and then add and change the color until she was satisfied with the result. Animation also allowed her art to take another form through movement.

During her time at college, Emily sketched in many different genres, such as classical, medieval and whimsical. She also enjoyed designing clothes and cakes. Her senior thesis, entitled “The Field,” included a series of animated flowers and plants that seem to come alive off the page.

Jeanne said her daughter never seemed satisfied with dreaming small, instead always going after the big ideas ­ such as the dream of one day writing, producing and acting in her own feature film.

“She wanted to do it all,” said Jeanne. “She was highly motivated.”

When Emily was 9 that dream was realized on the small screen ­ she wrote a story, had her sister, Lauren, tape it, and Emily and her younger brother, Jordan, acted in it. She would also write scripts for her friends to act out, such as “Conversations at a tea party,” said Jeanne.

At the Regional, Emily had taken some film and editing classes, and after graduating college in 2005 had been helping Bill Melvin tape local concerts on the town’s Comcast network. She had decided to attend the Academy of Art Film School in San Francisco and was to attend in the fall of 2007.

Emily’s dream, however, came to an abrupt end on Feb. 13 of last year, when she was 25.

Jeanne described her daughter’s accidental death as “out of the blue” and “traumatic.” Emily was looking forward to so many things and was very busy. But her many self-portraits show a young woman of many moods. She had been taking an anti-depressant, unbeknownst to her family, and her mother said the cause of her death was related to a complication from the prescription medication she was taking.

She loved her time at the Ringling School and so her family has set up an art scholarship in her memory to help future students there.

They are hosting a benefit on Sunday, Feb. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Community House of Hamilton and Wenham, 284 Bay Road, Hamilton.

The event hopefully will begin the process of raising money for the scholarship, but it is also intended to “show people her artistic vision with an art show,” said Jeanne. “The second part of the evening is dedicated to music.”

The event will feature an art show of Emily’s work, both her visual art and her animations shown on the movie screen. Her aunt, Chris Van Dyke, will play her Celtic harp, along with musical performances from other friends and family. Her uncle, Curtis, will play a John Denver tune and the Solstice Singers, of which Jeanne is a member, will also sing.

For Jeanne and the rest of her family ­ her husband, David, and their two other children ­ organizing the event helps them to work on something positive.

“We have been grieving hard this past year,” she said. “With the anniversary of her death coming, I feel like I have to do something special.”

The family has also kept the wonderful memories of Emily alive, such as the fact that Emily liked to dress up and wear costumes. Her favorite time of the day was the morning because a new adventure was about to begin.
“She was the sunshine in the morning,” said Jeanne.

Refreshments will be served at the event, where all ages are welcome.

Donations will be accepted for the scholarship that evening or can be sent to Dennis Barnett at Salem Five, 2 Bay Road, South Hamilton, 01982.