Your occupation, job title, artistic discipline (or very brief description of what you do)
I am a photographer, artist, and small business owner. I wear a few hats, but my main hat is working as a local freelance photographer in the Bay of Plenty. I work alongside local businesses creating imagery for their marketing content along with documenting local events. I also own two other small businesses (a children’s book brand in the US and a food business called Sweet Dough Co. here in Tauranga). And in my free time I enjoy watercolour and pastel painting.
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 and raised on an island off the coast of North Carolina, then moved to Wilmington (also in North Carolina) for University. Somewhere during the time, I spent about 6 months living and studying over in Fiji. A year or so after graduating from University, my now husband and I came over to New Zealand on a surf trip—and 6 years later we’re still here!
What are the earliest stories you remember hearing? The ones that told you about the world?
To be honest, I have a terrible memory but at age 11 I came across the movie Whale Rider. It was the first film I’d seen depicting any sort of South Pacific culture and heritage, and that sparked an internal pull to come to this part of the world.
What’s your favourite Bay of Plenty landscape, park, building, location, suburb, or side street? Why?
Currently, I’ve been enjoying venturing out to McLaren Falls for a bit of a nature injection. I love that we have the countryside so close to the beach. That’s something so special about New Zealand, you don’t have to travel far for varied scenery!
What music was present and still memorable from your youth/adolescence?
The B52s (the entire Cosmic Thing album), and a Bossa Nova CD my mom used to play before dinner, and then Phish and Tom Petty.
For you as a creative person, who are three influential artists or thinkers?
At the moment I’m really inspired by the pastel work of Karen Margulis. I love her fast and loose approach to painting and her teaching of turning off your thinking brain. The discussion of imperfection and impermanence in the book Wabi Sabi by Beth Kempton has influenced my recent thinking and perspective quite a bit. Finally, the ideas in Deepak Chopra’s book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success is a resource I’ve used for a few years to help shift my perspective in times of ‘stuckness’.
Looking back at your childhood self: what one sentence describes that person?
A sensitive child never not making things, reading, dancing in the hall, or asking questions.
Where would you like to live, but have yet to?
Japan. My ancestors are from a small island there and a dream is to go there to learn the culture and connect with lost family.
What word of advice would you offer an aspiring creative person?
Your self love practice is of equal importance as your art practice.
What’s the biggest problem about life in New Zealand? How you would solve it?
To me its biggest problem is also what drew me here and what I love most about it: isolation. So, in that respect, I don’t think I would solve it. Isolation brings an interesting perspective that otherwise might be lost.