Hold Me Down

Elizabeth Schneider

Michael Covello

Nov. 3, 2022

“Hold Me Down” is  a video animation about an astro-botanist on a mission to colonize Mars. We follow her downward spiral fueled by scientific hubris as she pioneers methods to remove plants from nature and embed them into technology. It is part of a larger body of work we call our “Anthropology Anthology,” a collection of animated shorts, screened and exhibited internationally, about tragic yet brilliant people surviving the near-dystopic landscape of the Anthropocene. These pieces interweave scientific research and fictional storytelling. 

Elizabeth Schneider and Michael Covello’s  practice involves painting, writing, animation, an intense love for the natural world, and a research driven artistic embrace of the sciences. Their experimental art-animations investigate humanity’s intricate relationship with nature by combining autobiographical and shared experiences, navigating the shifting boundaries between humanity and the natural world through text, sound, and image. Their work depicts clashing agencies,reciprocal traumas, and an uncertain terrain populated by magic and science, memory and dream. 

“Our traditional drawing and painting practice serves as the foundation for all our written, digital, and time-based work. “ – Elizabeth Schnieder and Michael Covello 

Included in this exhibition are large-scale immersive banner paintings (shown as the image above) that utilize similar imagery explored through different materiality, striving for simultaneity instead of a narrative unraveling.




Elizabeth Schneider and Michael Covello are a collaborative duo that make fine art animations. From drawing and painting one minute to digitalizing and animating  the images,  writing scripts, composing music and editing the sound design of the animations. Michael Covello and Elizabeth Schneider received their BFAs from Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art, and Planning, where they focused on painting and printmaking. They received MFAs from the University of South Florida, a transdisciplinary art program. During this time they developed a language in video and animation in tandem with the painterly language they established years prior. They have worked as a collaborative since 2016. 

Covello is currently a Clements Research Fellow at University of Michigan. Formerly, he has been twice nominated by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for awards and exhibitions and is the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, a merit grant from the Vermont Studio Center, a Work and Families Fellowship and honorarium from Wassaic projects, and a Mid-Atlantic Creative Fellowship at Millay Arts. Recent exhibitions include Drawing Discourse: Exhibition of Contemporary Drawing at UNC Asheville and Audio Visual Frontiers at UC Riverside, and Covello has exhibited at other venues such as the New Art Center, Boston as a Curatorial Opportunity Winner, the Florida Biennial at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art at the Orlando Museum of Art. He has been accepted into residencies at Yaddo, Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Vermont Studio Center.

Elizabeth Schneider is also currently a Clements Research Fellow at University of Michigan. She is an internationally exhibiting contemporary artist, recently participating in exhibitions in Philadelphia, Asheville, and Virginia, including “Through These Eyes” at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Her animations have been screened at film festivals around the world including the London Independent Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Buffalo International Film Festival, the Sydney Underground Film Festival, the New York Independent Cinema Awards (awarded Best Animation in 2021), and the Amsterdam International Short Film Festival (awarded Best Animation in 2021). 

Schneider has received numerous grants and awards, such as the Charles Baskerville Painting Award and an Opportunity Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Between 2019 to 2022, she participated in the 77 Arts Residency in Rutland Vermont, Wassaic Projects, and Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences Artist Residency. She was recently awarded a fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, and a 2023 artist residency at PLAYA. Schneider currently works as an Assistant Professor of Art at Kutztown University where she coordinates the Animated Arts program.