Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Porirua, Tawa, Wellington, Kapiti, Whanganui.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
I paint expressively with a kaleidoscope of vivid and vibrant colours. My mission is to bring colour wherever my work goes. I am concerned for our planet and the amazing creatures that roam it. Oftentimes my work appears whimsical in its portrayal of animal portraits, however there is usually symbolism and messages behind those humorous poses. Endangered species and climate change are a focus of my practice. If one viewer of my work questions what they can do to help ensure animals on the endangered list survive, or they learn something new about the creature or an emotion is evoked, I think my work is succeeding on some level. I have exhibited in Wales, Canada, and New Zealand. My practice although predominantly painting does include sculpture from papier-mâché, encaustic sculptures to ceramics and assemblages with printing. As an arts teacher whose current registration is up to date, I understand key competencies and the need for further creative opportunities to be brought into schools.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
In 2018 I won The People's Choice Award at an Arts Review, as well as being named one of the top 10 artists. I have exhibited bronze sculptures at a sculpture exhibition in Auckland and have had a solo exhibition in Tauranga as well as participating in numerous group shows here and overseas including NZAFA. In a previous project with a school I have created a project where the focus was on creating Public Art sculptures connecting with an environmental science topic utilising plastic household items that would have normally gone into the rubbish, with students taking the sculptures home at the end of the project. Sculptures were based on creatures found in the sea, on the land, in the air. At the end of the project an exhibition was created and opened to the public. Although a trained Arts Teacher in Visual Art, Drama and Dance in 2012 I gave up full time teaching to go back to studying Art and focusing on my own practice. I studied Art and Creativity – which opened up a whole new way of experimenting with mediums for me and schools I might work with.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
I have organised a student papier-mâché sculptural exhibition at a gallery, based upon an artist model's works. Also in house/school ones open to the public at an intermediate and a primary school when I was an artist-in-residence there. I have created collaborative week-long ceramic tile projects with two other schools. I have facilitated at two different primary schools to include every single student and member of staff to participate and have their designs on murals over 15 metres long based on their personal identities. I have delivered abstract paint workshops in community settings for participants aged 8–80 years based on the throw of a dice. I believe in the importance of drawing – hand/eye coordination and giving every student the belief they can succeed through exploration and experimentation. Themes that resonate are environmental science, personal identity, cultural themes, endangered species with collaboration, creativity, colour experimentation and drawing being part of most workshops. As an arts teacher whose current registration is up to date, I understand key competencies and the need for further creative opportunities to be brought into schools.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
In 2018 I studied a small business management course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as part of upskilling and helping to make myself a sustainable artist. I wanted to learn about setting myself up to be able to deliver workshops and courses to schools – children and staff to deliver creative opportunities to benefit whole school wide community. As a qualified Arts teacher I have always believed in the importance of the Arts for students of ALL ages. Over the years cutbacks in funding in three different countries where I have worked have always left me feeling bereft and angry. There is so much research out there saying the complete opposite about the Arts and its benefits. Creativity is the key to making future forward thinkers. A hero of mine, Sir Ken Robinson, travels the world reminding us of the power of creativity. So when I saw this initiative being launched I was ecstatic. If I could work with a few schools and create a community exhibition of their works one of my goals could be achieved that would hopefully foster so many, many more seeds of bringing art and experimentation and moments of unbridled joy to fruition.