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Barbara Uini

barbara-uini-aotearoa-artist.co.nzMostly a self-taught artist, Barbara Uini also studied illustration for a year at the Chisholm Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Serendipitously she happened to find an old tin of watercolour paints at the back of a dusty cupboard where she lived and at about the same time, was gifted a subscription to a monthly art instruction magazine. Barbara began to fill up any snatched moments by teaching herself to paint. The magazine had lessons for a range of media, but she focused on the watercolour tutorials at that point, because that was the art material that she had access to. And that is how she became primarily a watercolour artist. Barbara expands . . .

Becoming an artist has really been a lifelong process for me, and I love the fact that you are never finished learning and challenging yourself in art. I have always loved to draw, but I really began to take my art seriously about 25 years ago when I was a stay-at-home mother with pre-schoolers. I was enchanted by some of the illustrations in the books that I read to my children, and the realisation that I really wanted to be an illustrator is what set me off on my artistic journey. I was attracted to illustration because I love books and storytelling and the idea of telling a story visually really appealed. I also love the idea of working to a brief whilst still having licence to add nuances to a children’s story that are not contained in the writing.

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Carla Sclanders

carla-sclanders-aotearoa-artistBLESSED INSPIRATION

Born in South Africa and immigrating to New Zealand in 2020, Carla Sclanders is inspired by God. “He has blessed me with a gift and I am driven to portray a glimse of His Glory in all that I am able to create.”

She began with a pencil portrait of her daughter and was so pleased with the result that she began to do more family portraits. “My passion for art grew with every artwork I created especially once I started experimenting with colour pencils. Posting pictures of my artwork on Facebook lead to people contacting me for commissions and so my hobby turned into a part time job.”

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Naga Tsutsumi

naga-tsutsmi-aotearoa-artistBy Carly Thomas

Naga Tsutsumi works from a small studio in front of his suburban Palmerston North house. Just down the road the Manawatū river flows and beyond that is a stand of totara trees that he walks through regularly.

Naga has lived here for 14 years but still he says, within his work his Japan-ness murmurs. This intrigues him - this otherness and a new series of work is an exploration of identity and what it means to be ‘NZ made’.

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Sheelagh McHaffie

IN FOR THE RIDE

A self taught artist, as her mother was, Sheelagh McHaffie has embraced her self discovery to art as a blessing, considering it a unique way to approach her passion.

Sheelagh was always drawn to the arts. As an only child in a pre-digital world, she would often just sit, observe her surroundings and draw. Having had a hiatus from her artwork for 20 years, after losing her mother and raising a daughter with ASD she found there were too many pressures to continue. “At the beginning of 2019 I was officially homeless. I had separated from my husband who was living in Australia, and had not enough means to support myself. I returned to NZ with my two children, aged 4 and 18, and the bags on our back. My mother passed away in 2005, so I was very much on my own. I had to overcome my own fear, guilt and judgement from others, and truly trust that I knew what was best for me. Starting over forced me to evaluate my life, I had finally been brave enough to put myself first but there was a huge hill to climb.”

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WAKE (Alex Tikaram)

WAKE Alex Tikaram The NZ Artist

ESOTERIC CANDOUR

“I want to say I had formal art training at school, but what did school teach anyone apart from how to prepare yourself to be short on cash. Art was something that I always did that cost me next to nothing that I could learn alone and in my own way, so no, no formal training.”

It’s hard for Wake to pinpoint how he ended up being an artist. “Anyone who does anything slightly creative is an artist to me, but to define it to something more specific, I started to take it seriously when a friend of mine made a social media page for me around the end of 2020, to exhibit and possibly sell some pieces. A couple of years ago, I would never have dreamed of people wanting to pay actual money for the things I draw. However, I sold a piece to a guy all the way in the USA which I’m pretty proud of, it’s very humbling.”

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Bernadette Ballantyne 1 Aotearoa Artist Magazine

Bernadette Ballantyne

WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

Gaining her Bachelor of Fine Art at Whanganui Quay School of the Arts (now Whanganui UCOL) between the years of 2002-2005, Bernadette Ballantyne was born into a family of creatives and maintains it’s in her blood. With a family of potters, musicians, singers, dancers, Bernadette always knew that art would have something to do with her career. “On leaving high school, I was actually applying and had been accepted into two different universities to do a teaching degree, and it was my cousin, who was at the time completing her Bachelor of Fine Art in Whanganui, who talked me into going for Fine Arts instead. That decision totally changed my life.”

Her biggest motivating factor to pursue a career as an artist is her children. “I had been teaching primary school for 13 years and it served me well. It allowed me to travel the world and have the freedom to move where I wanted to. But teaching is not an appealing profession for those with families anymore.

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Roxanne Milson

THE MAGIC WEAVER

We introduce you to Roxanne Milson, an artist formerly of Australia, now living in Tauranga. Roxanne tells us her story:

I haven’t had any formal art training. My education was based in Graphic Design since I was predominantly a digital artist until two years ago. When I was pursuing education, graphic design was all that was offered for digital artists but it turns out it was not what I wanted! I wanted to illustrate, to draw, to create. So the internet and books were the things that educated me. If I wanted to know how to do something, I looked it up.

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Monique Tichborne

ARTISTIC ESCAPE

Diagnosed in 2018 with Fibromyalgia and FND (Functional neurological disorder) Monique Tichborne bravely started to use art as a means of therapy, a distraction from the pain. She explains further . . . 

My health and requiring home based work were the motivations for me to become an artist. I gain inspiration from all around me. I don’t think my creative head ever switches off. I’m always capturing photos to add to my ideas folder. At the end of 2019 I was struggling with my drawing so to test myself I turned my page around which oddly was easier. I have been drawing all my portrait work upside down since. I have only begun painting this year. My canvas doesn’t remain stationery here either and I don’t work on an easel. Art therapy has been one consistent ‘healer’ while I manage daily pain. This year I officially classify my occupation as an artist. 

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UK ARTIST Danny Mooney

Danny-Mooney-aotearoa-artist-the new-zealand-artist-magazine

When drawing people you would think it might help to actually remember their faces… What if you can’t remember them? British artist Danny Mooney suffers from facial blindness but finds that he can overcome this obstacle by focussing on other aspects of a person’s character, an approach that lends itself to caricatures.

“I can draw recognisable people with just a few lines without any real trouble,” he reveals. “I’ve been doing political cartoons. They’re an expression of my annoyance.  Cartoons are caricatures really. Say I’m doing a cartoon of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson… I can do the shape and the way he stands without too much effort. I look at a couple of other people’s cartoons of him and see that they all have little piggy eyes and droopy eyelids. For me the thing that makes Boris look like Boris is the hair, the round face, the fat body and the shabby suit. It doesn’t really need any additional features. That cartoon could be Donald trump or Boris Johnson. In order to produce political cartoons you have to stay abreast of the news but in order to stay sane you have to not stay abreast of the news! It’s a difficult tight rope to walk. I have always recognised people by their shape, the way they move, the way they walk, rather than by their faces. If I’m painting someone then those are the characteristics that are most important to me.”

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Estefania Mondaca

estefania-mondaca-aotearoa-artist-the-new-zealand-artist

Born in Chile, South America, Estefania Mondaca is just starting on her artistic journey and we are pleased to introduce her work to you.

Estefania is currently studying for a Bachelors degree in Architectural Studies at ARA Canterbury. She has learned that all ways of creating achieve the same point, which is to create, whatever name you call it. Inspired by life itself, the things she sees that make her think or suprise her; she finds that in Chile the focus was on people, the human figure and a totally different landscape to New Zealand. Here she is inspired by the remarkable beauty of New Zealand’s terrain. “I normally go out and take photos, for example, the Heaphy Track on the West Coast, which was the first awakening for me to this beautiful country. I started to draw and paint what I saw. I think walking is a big inspiration for me, giving me an understanding of my feelings and perception of what I see.”

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