Jacki Barklie has been described as “too ambitious”. We think she’s just the right amount. With an exciting art fair on the way at her collaborative space Back Studio, Jacki is bringing the arts community together. We know you’ll love getting to know her a little better. (And you are invited to the opening of the Art Fair! We’ll see you there.)
Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do):
I am the Creative Director for Back Studio. This is my residency as an artist where I can explore unlimited creativity. I am here most days of the week. I love being in this space with all my painting products at my fingertips. It is up to me to build relationships with fellow artists and work on collaborative projects. Artists supporting artists…
What cities/towns have you lived in (or spent more than a few months in) beginning with the place of your birth?
I was born in Luanshya, Zambia, and bred in Salisbury, Zimbabwe. I had the best years of my life in colourful Cape Town, South Africa, before moving to the highest altitude of the North Island in New Zealand, Waiōuru! Finally, I moved to Tauranga where we were told about the beautiful beaches and the fact that the sun shines the longest. Love it here.
What are the earliest stories you remember hearing? The ones that told you about the world?
Expect nothing then anything you get is a bonus!
Being a hairstylist for 37 years, one hears some shocking stories. I was shocked by everything, and now by nothing.
I am so interested in people and how people react in situations. This underpins a lot of my work.
What’s your favourite Bay of Plenty landscape, park, building, location, suburb, or side street? Why?
The beach, Mount Manganui. I’ve travelled around the world and this beach and Mauao are hard to beat.
What’s an average day in your life at present?
Black expresso; can’t live without it. Movement! Movement is good! I either jump on the treadmill, do some pilates or yoga, or walk around the Mount with my friend where we change the world with our never-ending chatter.
Your current art space, Back Studio, is a mix of exhibition space, studio, workshop and gathering place. What are some of the things that are happening there, and that you’ve got planned for the future?
The idea came to me when I experienced the difficulties that were involved in exhibiting my art. The additional costs involved, the waiting lists… This is how Back Studio came about.
This space was intended to be a creative one that added another layer to the arts scene in Tauranga. I feel it will become a destination. Small art galleries have closed in recent times and the city no longer has a draw.
Back Studio has been designed for effect. Its malleable module design is ready for evolvement, to fit different creative situations. Its 5m high concrete walls are ideal to stage art or huge installations with few limitations. The sheer size can accommodate a diverse range of artists at the same time.
The space is perfect for photo shoots, small art projects, performances, gigs, exhibitions, fashion shows, furniture displays, workshops, boutique markets… all with the added benefit of collaborating with your fellow artist. The bounds are limitless.
We are excited to be hosting our first group Art Fair over the Easter weekend. I have gathered 13 artists to work in collaboration to make this art extravaganza come to life. All these artists are individuals but can see the benefit of having a space to showcase their art together. The collaboration starts with discussions, installing the work together, sharing costs in marketing, etc. This makes for a far more obtainable and affordable journey. By co-working each artist is sharing and cross-pollinating on social media. This not only brings in a diverse audience but also shines a light on the artists themselves.
I might add it doesn’t always need to be a collaboration. There are artists who are looking at Back Studio for solo on-site exhibitions. Watch this space.
Back Studio is another great example of creative community building, and new arts initiatives happening on the ground in Tauranga. Tell us who has been involved and some of the key drivers.
The driving force was outgrowing my home studio. I needed a space to create, and create big!
I am lucky that my husband had my back and has always encouraged me to dream. He hasn’t always understood my dreams but encouraged me nonetheless. This project is our brainchild, my husband’s and mine. We have gone out on a limb to make this happen.
Being a solo artist can become stale and lonely. When one paints alone and stays alone one becomes safe. I feel that artists don’t fully reach their potential and stretch their boundaries without being tested, collaboration can change this. To brainstorm with like minded people and be open to adjustment, this can create something unusual and magic. I believe it can lead to inventions!
What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence?
60s and 70s and 80s. My most memorable is Rodriguez’s vinyl, Cold Fact. Have you seen the documentary Searching for Sugar Man? Fantastic!
For you as a creative person, who are three influential artists or thinkers?
The era of 1900, the Viennese Secession, influences me in my approach to art. A lot of my studies were on Gustav Klimt (and his student Egon Schiele) where numerous symbols can be found in his monumental, decorative, and almost abstract style.
Max Gimblett is another favoured artist of mine, again for his symbolism and decorative style.
If you went away from the Bay of Plenty for a long time and then came back, what are the first three things you would do or visit?
Our children. Our home. The trees in our garden, they are homes to very happy birds, nothing better than to wake up to birdcall…
Looking back at your teen-age self: what one sentence describes that person?
Ambitious and always looking for solutions.
If you had to eat the same meal every day, what would it be?
Cheese and salads.
Who are your favourite or most admired figures from history?
I don’t think I have a favourite historical figure. There are some great inventions that have improved our lifestyle in this century, however I feel we’ve all been getting it so wrong.
If the Prime Minister asked you to make up a new policy or law for New Zealand, what would it be?
Reward the people who have worked and paid their taxes since leaving school.
In one sentence, can you define art?
An inner expression on an outer surface.
What is missing or lacking from your Bay of Plenty community or environment?
A space like Back Studio. Artist collaboration. There needs to be more art, freedom and vibrancy in the Tauranga arts scene. A space to feed the creative soul whether you are an audience member or an artist.
Name a few films that you consider profound, moving or extraordinary?
The Intouchables. Esio Trot. The Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix
What was your first real job, second, third?
Hairdressing was my first, second and third job for 37 years, It was the perfect career for me. Creativity and people watching. My fourth job is as a Creative Director/artist.
What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person?
Don’t be afraid of failure. I know it’s cliché but if you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried.
What is your dream of happiness?
I am a born worrier, so for me happiness is being on a river cruise where you can just be, and there is no pressure to do anything.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself/your organisation?
Lately I have been told I am too ambitious. This may be true, but without this drive I don’t think I would get out of bed.
My ambition for this unique space we call Back Studio is to persevere and watch it evolve. I think now is the time, more than ever, to get artists together and make magic.