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Five Minutes With: Lynda Hensman

Artist and director of The Ivy Box, Lynda Hensman, chats with MiNDFOOD about her creative passions, inspirations and her beautiful city.

Five Minutes With: Lynda Hensman

What originally inspired you to start The Ivy Box?

Of course, it is my passion for art which inspires me most! The Ivy Box was born from the desire to create. Particularly to create something that was unpretentious and true to myself.

How do you find the artists who work onsite?

They found me! That old adage ‘like attracts like’ is so true. Since starting the gallery, I’ve met so many artists and art lovers who have a similar outlook to me. All of the artists under the Ivy Box umbrella have similar ideals and they’re passionate about creating art that’s raw and true to their individual personalities.

Do you feel the artists who at The Ivy Box all have a similar philosophy?

Though we all share similar values, we all have our own individual style. We’re inspired by different aspects of life and use very different mediums to create our artworks. From acrylic, to driftwood, metal and stone, we use a wide range of materials.

What’s unique about the property itself?

The building used to be the town’s butcher shop. The abattoir and a homestead were next door. Many locals say the ivy and climbers which creep all over the gallery are as old as the building itself – it’s a debate as to which came first! It took a long time to refurbish the building, but it still holds all its charm. It sits on a popular lakeside walking track and is constantly photographed. A piece of living art, it changes colour from fiery reds to vivid greens as the seasons change.

What is your background in art?

I have no formal background in art. I’ve painted since I was born and have the gift of seeing colour and depth in everyday things. I lean towards the quirky and unconventional.

I’ve had a varied career, from a little bit of nursing, to being a trained Chef and then working in high fashion. I worked in ‘Iconic Staircase Fashions’ in Queenstown Mall, where I loved to make people feel confident and amazing simply through choosing the right colours, fabrics and shapes.

What inspires you in creating your work?

My artwork carries a lot of my sense of humour. I often see irony in a situation and I love to paint that. I love to play with words and examine the ironies of human nature.

I also feel deeply spiritual when I paint – thought I am not at all religious. I paint for hours, lost in the moment. It’s not unusual for day to turn into night without me realising, I get so lost in the world of my art.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your role?

There’s so much! Where do I start? As an artist and gallery owner and director I love meeting other artists through the Ivy Box, engaging with them and learning what makes them passionate about art too. Queenstown is a very international place, so I meet art lovers from all over the world, of all ages, each of them contributing their own viewpoints and ideas. It brings a really unique vibe to the Ivy Box.

What’s the most challenging?

It’s tricky balancing the business side of the gallery when I’m naturally a very creative person. Luckily, I work with a couple of local businesses who help me out with marketing, social media and paperwork, so I’ve got more headspace to paint and run the gallery.

Are you from Queenstown originally?

I’m originally from Invercargill, but I’ve lived in Queenstown most of my life – more than 30 years. I’ve always been drawn to the area.

What’s special about working in this area of NZ?

Are you kidding? No explanation needed, Queenstown is magnificent! I wake up every day to this stunningly beautiful view of mountains and lake; the day I don’t draw in a breath and appreciate our magnificent surroundings will be the day they carry me out in a box!

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