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Artist Q & A with Jacqui Colley

How long have you been a maker for?

My earliest memories of myself as a child are of making things. As a middle child in the family I was left to my own devices, I was given the freedom to do things my way. Day dreaming and visualising has been central to my life I really don’t see boundaries to do the things I need to do. I only see opportunities, I guess that could be considered as delusion but for me if one only sees the problems – you just wouldn’t ever be an artist.

Have you always been a….

A day dreamer…?

My practice still embraces that behaviour. It is a way in which I can access a part of myself that functions intuitively and without hesitation – drawing on a deep reservoir of abstract thought, dialogue and response to what’s important to me.  ‘Day dreaming’ for want of another word, enables me to listen to the world differently – the thing I need most in my practice is to operate in this way. The moment fear or other people’s expectations creep into my head the work turns to sh**. I live to surprise and challenge myself in my practice.

Where /how do you create?

Most of the actual painting happens in my home studio. My beautiful studio was designed and built a few years ago and completed just before covid. We built it especially so that I can work at any time of day or night. It changed everything for me. Previously I worked in a cool industrial space but I am a real night owl I come alive when the world goes quiet. 

I listen to my own rhythm, sometimes I must only be present – when the urge to paint the large canvases surfaces I am immersed in that chaotic process for weeks. If my head isn’t in the space I know that no time is wasted. Reading, drawing, writing, walking, exploring, arranging my materials, sorting ideas are all forms of working. It’s not about inspiration it’s more a behavioural thing, preparing myself for the impulses and sheer act of painting.

Who’s work are you enjoying currently? ( both artists are on instagram )

I’m mad about German artist Florian Baudrexel’s cardboard sculptures, they’re like 3D abstract expressionist paintings, I wish I could afford to live with one. Closer to home, Chauncey Flay’s minimalist rock sculptures talk of intersections with time and matter, the organic and the mechanised and I really relate to this conversation, in fact so much so that we’re collaborating on a project later this year.

Has covid compromised your practice?

So many hard earned events were cancelled or postponed. I wondered if any of those opportunities would come my way again. To my surprise that pause suited me perfectly, giving me permission to withdraw from the demands of world and I was exceptionally productive.

Where can we find your work? 

Orexart, Auckland

Currently showing till 16th June; Aratoi Museum, Toitū Te Whenua, The Land Will Always Remain