How would you describe what you do?
As a child growing up in the 1950s, the bright colours, funky design, humour and glamour left a huge impression on me. In the past I’ve enjoyed painting murals and paint effects on walls, ceilings and floors starting with my kid’s bedroom then moving on to clubs, bars and restaurants and a gallery in London.
These days I am more centred on my mould making which of course are brightly painted, humorous, naughty, rude and glamorous… Also up cycling old furniture ( kitsch meets the circus) I’ve always loved extreme colour and utter nonsense.
What was your most recent project?
A large painting of a mermaid decorated with various shells, pearls, glitter and fake seaweed. I’m like a decorator crab, I don’t like simplicity, I have to keep adding.
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
Probably the creation of my mermaid mould. Painted and decorated in any style I could think of or whatever the customer ordered. Along with my acting work, plaster breasts and wall painting they helped me stay afloat in London.
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
A warm secluded space to work in, your favourite music playing (Frank Sinatra is always fab) the right tools, a sense of humour and a vivid imagination. A cat is always good there too, very centering and relaxing.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
The new library. Excellent. But Seagull City, now that really stopped me in my tracks when I last visited. I sat there for hours just taking it all in.
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
My Mum always said, “knuckle down and keep practicing and you will find your own style inside of you”. Never try to be anyone else, nurture what you have. Travel the world, this will open your mind and give you vision.
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
That it’s NOT time consuming.
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?
How can I pick one art work, piece of music or performance? I’ve a long life time of many experiences that have enthralled and inspired me. But here’s a few:
I remember walking around the magnificent Prado Art Gallery in Madrid for hours. Standing in front of those old masters works I could almost touch, was like being in some weird dream. Camping out at my first Glastonbury Music Festival. I remember standing in the dark mist one night transfixed by the spooky sounds of the Pet Shop Boys ( yes I’m a fan) then waking up in the morning to Travis. Dancing in the rain and mud for days on end, then passing out in the long grass and sun when it decides to show up. Every artist, musician and band you ever wanted to see performs at these Festivals. Everyone should experience this at least once. Wandering around those beautiful ancient villages in Europe and listening to the local musicians play their music is pure magic. I’ve always loved Cabaret and Burlesque and a big fan of Dita Von Teese and have seen many of her performances, just stunning.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
I was brought up in a very creative environment. My Mum was an artist so there was always something being designed, made, painted and decorated, So for me creativity was always there. In our house, we were taught that veggies, fruit, music and laughter was the only medicine and creativity was growth. I was very fortunate.
But I do wish I had gone to Art School like my Mum, I went on the stage instead. Have you ever heard of that saying? “Never put your daughter on the stage, Mrs…”
What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?
There’s a few but one comes to mind. A cave in the hills behind Redcliffs, I used to visit as a child and a teenager…..Spooky and magical.