What influenced your journey in pursuing the Arts?
I always loved making stuff as a child. I made stuffed toys, fimo broaches, dolls, loved paint by numbers, all the craft projects in the NZ Womens Weekly… and when I went through school I discovered I could draw as well. However, Art was never really a subject that I thought could offer me a career. The school I went to only offered Art up to Form 6 (Year 12), so I pursued other subjects which I hoped would lead to a career. However, I could never decide what it was I wanted to do.
So after a year at University doing a BA, I decided that if I was going to end up with ‘Bugger All’ I might as well do something that I loved in the process. So I applied to Art School while I was at Uni and got accepted into Otago Polytechnic School of Art. From there I ended up going to Teachers College, but not from a burning desire to teach, but rather, I couldn’t think of anything else that would offer me the security of a job with my qualification. When I started teaching I loved it, and I knew I was in the right place finally. So my journey in pursuing the Arts all kind of happened by default, rather than being influenced by a bunch of inspiring individuals or events.
Who and what inspires you?
I am inspired by the process really. There are artists whose work I love, but I never think of them when I’m making my Art. It is the process of creating something out of nothing and following a path almost blindfolded. You have no idea what the outcome is going to be, but the surprises and revelations along the way are so exciting. It is a joyful experience. Plus I’m curious as to what I can create and where this path is leading
What is your medium of choice?
I love mixed media. I paint with acrylics and everything/anything else that comes to hand. I like adding collage using paper, fabric, sometimes packets from the pantry. Recently I’ve been adding old stamps from my Dad’s stamp collection as the final move before I seal and varnish. I use pastels, pencils, oil sticks… I love it all.
How would you describe your creative style?
My style is abstract, quirky, sometimes weird and strange. I try to create paintings that are beautiful in the way marks and colours come together, and that are full of surprises. I try to make sure they are strong from a distance and draw the viewer in to discover the rich surface and surprises of combinations of materials, marks and effects up close.
What does your art mean to you?
My Art is my THING. It’s what makes me different from everybody else – I guess in that sense you could say it’s my identity. That’s deep. But without it I think I would be a bit bland. It’s what excites me and I know that my purpose is to discover what I can do with it – as well as bring up my two kids and be a good wifey to my man, good sister to my siblings and a good human to everyone else…
Do you have a fave piece of art and if so who is it by, and why is it your fave?
I only own a few pieces by other artists, mostly because I’ve never been able to afford to buy what I love. And my partner takes the stand that why buy when I can make…. Not quite the point, I tell him. Anyway I do have a favourite painting that sits near my desk, it’s small, it’s one I did soon after my mother died and I got my hands on literally hundreds of letters that she and my Dad had written to each other while they were courting in the 50’s. They never lived in the same town until they married and they would write to each other at least 2 or 3 times a week. The night before my father’s funeral we discovered all these letters in the back of his wardrobe. Mum would spend hours just sitting on her bed reading them in the months after his death. Anyway, I did this small painting and called it ‘Darling Mine’, my daughter claimed it soon after it was finished. I think I love it because of its link to them and their love story, and I also love that it will live on with my daughter.
How would you describe the Arts in Aotearoa?
Well I’m no expert on the Arts anywhere, but there are certainly a lot of creative people about and there is Art everywhere you look. I wish though that our public Art was on a bigger scale. When you travel overseas, even just to Australia you see amazing huge Art. Hospitals look like creative spaces… bus stops are covered with art… their budgets are healthier obviously. I love all the murals that have gone up in Whangarei over the last year or so, and our Hundertwasser building is going to be a sight to behold, just a shame you’ll turn your head and see Pak’n’Save…. But it’s all a step in the right direction.
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