Q+A With artist Naomi Faifai
Artist Naomi Faifai's current Spring Showcase is now on at our Herne Bay gallery, with 10 exceptional new paintings on display.
Last Thursday we celebrated the collection, with Naomi in the gallery. Naomi isn't much of a public speaker and we couldn't twist her arm to do a live Q+A, but she has answered a few questions now that she is back home and not put on the spot! Learn more about Naomi and her practice below.
Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
Timaru is where I'm based at the moment & where I grew up. It's such a beautiful place with a really varied landscape. We moved back down just before winter this year so the trees & gardens were quite bare but there were so many interesting shapes & textures everywhere - that really inspired the first piece of this collection 'Winter Garden'.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
I'm always drawn to art that can tell a story or paint a picture for you with quite minimal mark making or its use of colour. I remember coming across Basquiat and Cy Twombly when I was about twelve and getting really excited about what art could be and the fun you could have with drawing and line.
I've also always been inspired by art of the pacific and tapa making. I love the way symbols and motif are used for storytelling and exploring whakapapa. It took time for me to feel comfortable incorporating these ideas in my work in a way that felt true to my experience, as someone of mixed heritage who grew up in NZ, so I feel like there's lots left to explore there.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! I get really inspired by the everyday and I'm interested in what makes us happy, so I don't think I have to look too far for inspiration. Habits and our routines are really interesting to me because they're such little things but end up forming a big part of how we spend our days and who we spend them with. And colour of course! I'm inspired to start many works based around a beautiful colour.
Where is your studio?
I work out of a tiny little room/studio in Timaru at the moment, which people are always surprised by because I make some really large pieces! I'm hoping to move to a big messy warehouse sort of setup for a bit more freedom which will probably inform the way I paint too.
Which piece from the Spring Showcase is your favourite and why?
Hard to decide but would have to be Winter Garden, the first piece I painted. I feel like it holds lots more ideas to explore and really sent me off in a different direction. Especially sparking a closer look at nature!
I love working with mixed media and experimenting with new mediums - I get really excited by the contrast in textures and way they interact with each other.
What is next for your practice?
I've spent the past year experimenting with making plant fibre papers and natural inks, and now taking time to see where this will lead me. I'm also really curious about people's ties to places and the land, and have been painting a few 'accidental landscapes' lately so would like to mess around with this a bit more. I'm not much of a planner, I just like to play and see what happens.
Naomis showcase is on until Saturday 11th November, stop by and view these incredible pieces up close, or browse the current collection and past works on her artist page HERE.