I work full time as an artist, from my home in New Zealand with my family of humans and animals. Since I can remember I have loved to create and have always had artistic ambitions. Life took me on a path of teaching and then studying Arts Therapy, where I gained an MA in Arts Therapy. During this study I gained a keen interest in therapeutic stories and picture books. I then studied visual art, specialising in painting and illustration and gained The Feldspar award and Scholarship at the end of my degree, which enabled me to have a studio for a year and a solo exhibition.
The variety of my training and life experience has taken me on a path of creating art that promotes joy and inspires hope. I became vegetarian as a teenager and later became vegan, and have found that this is a major part of who I am, as a person and as an artist. I see disturbing pictures often and I read things that upset me, about how animals are treated in the world and the impact that is having on the earth and on humanity. Because these things can sometimes leave me with a feeling of hopelessness, I try to counteract that through my art, and hope to bring that feeling of hopeful energy to others.
Young children have a direct connection and empathy towards animals and are not born with an innate need to kill or eat them, but at some point in ‘growing up’ this changes for many people. Many of my paintings and illustrations depict young people as heroes to show the positive effects of caring for animals. The child represents, not only our young humans, but also the child within every adult, at the age when we felt a connection to animals and valued their lives. Children can demonstrate the empathy and compassion we all need to use to make a change.
My works sometime have an obvious or subtle vegan theme, and other times are simply stories in which animals are involved. They all have a feeling of the integral relationship between human and animal. I like to play with archetypal symbolism, and mix it with quirky imagery. Because my paintings are largely intuitive, the outcome is unknown during the painting process. And when a painting is complete, I like to imagine the story that it tells and hope that others find their own stories within them. I enjoy creating directly from my imaginary fantasy world – made up of the natural world, fairytales and untold stories, real animals and fantastical creatures, all piled into images that promote joy and kindness towards all living beings.
I am an optimist and my paintings will always have a cheerful undertone. They are symbolic of my belief that battles can be won, and people are innately good. We are all heroes with inner conflicts, and aspirations. We endeavour to make progress and strive for betterment, whether on a personal level or on a greater scale, and there is always something new to achieve. A happy ending, after all is just a new beginning.