I was born 23 March, 1961, in Wellington, New Zealand. I am a sculptor working from my studio in Stokes Valley, Lower Hutt.
I’m the eldest of three siblings (two sisters and one brother) and two parents. I am from Irish descent. My father’s parents came to New Zealand in 1930. My Mother’s side came earlier. My Irish grandmother has had the most influence on me with her stories and forceful nature. One of my first artistic memories is, when I was a child, I painted a night scene with a moon lighting the water, my grandmother praised me and kept it. This was possibly the first time I thought of drawing and painting. I didn’t come from an artistic family.
I was encouraged to draw and paint at primary school. I can remember two instances of teachers telling the class how good my work was. The paintings were of a Market garden and the texture on a snake I had drawn and painted. I took art at college but failed University Entrance (UE) art in year 12. After I left school I redid art by Correspondence School which I just passed. I looked for an art classes to do. I saw a notice about going to a life drawing class. I was about 18 and shy and thought life drawing would be drawing bowls of fruit. I was so embarrassed when I looked up from my sketch pad to see a naked person and the person was a man. My head went quickly back down to my paper. My cheeks were bright red as I came to terms with what life drawing was.
When I left school I started at Broadcasting New Zealand (BCNZ) working as a draughting cadet in electrical and mechanical draughting. I later went on to contract tracing/ draughting work. When I was 22ish I discovered how important art was to me and that I would need art in my life. I had a short contract doing a filing job. As part of the job I had to make folders and put the title and contents on the folder. I realised that I had gone over the top with the cover design for the folder and how this had given me a great sense of satisfaction. A ‘pressure’ had been released and I knew then I needed to be creative.
In 1985 my son, 4 and I, 24, went to England and did my O.E. I came back to NZ in 1988 with my second child, a daughter. While I was in England I saw a programme on TV about a competition showing the best design for computer graphics. I thought that looked great and wondered about how I would go about learning how to do it. My Mother sent me the prospectus for Wellington Design School. In it was everything I had been doing, drawing, painting, photography. I decided to come back to NZ and study. I decided on a design degree in illustration and graphic design.
When I finished my degree I worked in many jobs including; gallery owner, graphic designer, tutor, curator, painting murals and set design. In 2000, I started working at Geological Nuclear Science, GNS doing graphic design. Life was crazy and I wasn’t getting time to paint or draw so I decided to join an art class of some sort at least once a week. I joined a painting art class in Upper Hutt run by Mary Archibald, now called Mary Amour. Every year Mary was running a Sculpting Symposiums with Oamaru Limestone. She encouraged the class to try sculpting. One year I took up the opportunity. I remember standing on my stone with a chisel and hitting the stone. I felt I had come home. This was my thing.
QUALIFICATIONS & TRAINING
Museum Studies Post-Grad Diploma 2007
Teaching Diploma 1997
Bdes., Bachelor of Design degree 1995
2016 Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival
2016 Shapeshifter, Lower Hutt
2014 Expressions Wellington Art Review, Upper Hutt
2014 Shapeshifter, Lower Hutt
2013 Inverlochy House. Wellington.
2011 Artrium Art Gallery. Wellington.
2011 StoneWorks Symposium. Upper Hutt.
2010 Gallery 7. Lower Hutt.
2010 New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. Wellington.
2010 The NZ Art Show. Wellington.
2009 Cre8tive Kiwi Art Studio + Gallery. Tauranga.
2009 Te Manawa. Palmerston North.
2009 Square Edge Gallery. Palmerston North.
2007 Fab Wai. Carterton. Wairarapa.
2007 Archibalds the Art Place. Upper Hutt.
2004 Affordable Art Show. Wellington.
1999 Next Step Gallery. Petone. Lower Hutt.
1997 Wellington Teachers Training College. Wellington.
1995 Massey University. Wellington.
The Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland.