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Sandy Wright - Aotearoa Artist
Sandy Wright

Sandy Wright - Aotearoa Artist

From a small child, Sandy Wright always loved to study nature. From the time she left an open box full of snails in the kitchen overnight and realized in the morning that they can cover quite a lot of ground, to the time she put tadpoles in her grandfather’s water butt, which he used every morning for shaving. “I had spent so much of my life working on other people’s projects, I decided it was time to work on my own. I met a lovely lady at a local art group pop up shop in Paihia and she invited me to join the local art group. That was just the motivation I needed.”

Sandy worked for 17 years in a photography lab in Cambridge, England, retouching and restoring old and new photographs. This gave her the opportunity to work with paints, pencils and an airbrush. “I think that’s where my eye for detail comes from. To me, every photograph had a story to tell and that’s what I aim for in my paintings.” Eventually, computers came along and Sandy decided she preferred the hands-on approach, rather than working with a mouse. She and her partner decided to take the opportunity of a new start and in 2006 they arrived in New Zealand. “When I was in England I would travel from Cambridge to London for the day. I suppose most other women in their 20s, might take the opportunity to do some shopping but I would spend the day in the Tate gallery. I could spend hours just wondering round. One painting I went back to time and time again was ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by John William Waterhouse. It fascinated me. Of course I read the poem, but I liked to make up my own stories for the image. My stories always had happier endings.” Having approached a lot of publishers with her children’s books and finding no takers, it was her Mum who persuaded her not to give up. With a lot of help from her husband and friends, she had the books printed herself. “I am over the moon with the result. They continue to find their way all around the world.” Sandy’s children’s books and most of her artwork tell a story and carry a message, a sort of ‘call to arms’. “I believe we are at a time when we need to work together if we are going to keep the beauty and diversity of New Zealand and indeed the world. If we could all put aside our differences and see the bigger picture, it might not be too late to save our amazing planet. I hope to keep improving and keep working on highlighting New Zealand’s most vulnerable species.

Visit Sandy's website here

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