STYLE Insider: Grace Wright talks pioneering artists, creativity and cherished possessions


STYLE Insider: Grace Wright talks pioneering artists, creativity and cherished possessions

It’s hard to pull your eyes away from the tangled gestures of coiling colour that form Grace Wright’s alluring paintings. The Auckland painter talks to STYLE about which artists she follows, what she’s been listening to and watching lately, and her various creative pursuits over the years.

If money was no problem, an artist whose work I’d buy would be… Kei Imazu. She’s a Japanese artist I discovered a year ago whose work connects to historical painting, yet has this kind of digital glitch. I’m really fascinated by her use of colour, gesture and composition.

My favourite emerging New Zealand artists are… Aiko Robinson, Meg Porteous, Hugo Koha Lindsay and Christina Pataialii. Aiko and I did our undergraduate study together at Elam and remain good friends as both our careers have evolved. We exhibited together in 2017 and last year I spent some time with her in Japan while she was studying for her masters at Tokyo University of the Arts.

The last clothing or household item I bought was… a coffee table I’m having restored. It was a great second-hand purchase and I prefer to buy quality when I come across it, rather than rushing to purchase something quickly. I despair of how cheaply some homewares are made now and would far rather have just a few key things I cherish and look after.

My most cherished possession is… the ability to hold a paint brush. I had been thinking about this recently and it’s something I don’t want to take for granted.

Photographer: Tobias Kraus. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.

The best book I’ve read recently was… 21 Australian Architects Breaking New Ground. I stumbled across it at the library recently and was really interested in the profiling of different Australian architectural practices and their approach to unique sites. Architecture has been an interest of mine for a while and I’ve enjoyed reading more about it recently.

A song I have on repeat at the moment is… ‘Gyalchester’, from Drake’s More Life. Each year I seem to listen to a lot of one particular album by Drake. In 2019 it was Views and then 2020 it’s been More Life

My current podcast recommendation is… The Lively Show. I listened to this a lot during the lockdown and really enjoy Jess Lively’s take on spirituality in a more universal context. In particular her episodes with Annie Francoeur who channels a group of non-physical entities called The Collective.

The last TV show I binge-watched was… Younger (produced by HBO and available on Neon). All my friends have watched it and I’ve converted so many other friends and family into watching it too and everyone loves it. It’s so well cast, great story (and fashion) and a very easy watch.

My favourite place to dine is… Amano. I’ve been there too many times to count and it’s always fantastic. Great food, interiors and atmosphere. It’s the only place you can go at 9.30pm on a Monday night and it’s still busy.

My favourite place to travel to is… New York City. I’ve been once before for a week and it’s the only place I’ve visited where it completely exceeded the very high expectations I had for it. It’s a very special place and I look forward to returning many more times, when we can travel again.

Photographer: Tobias Kraus. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.

If I could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, I would choose… Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz and Joan Mitchell. Three pioneering, female artists operating at various different periods in the last century or so.

I like to start my day by… making coffee and reading something non-fiction before I start the day. I’ve been reading and using the library a lot recently. In the warmer months I like having coffee out on the balcony in the morning sun.

When I was a kid I wanted to be… Growing up I wanted to be a clothing designer and made a lot of my own creations which I was always very comfortable wearing, much to the amusement of my peers. Then in my early teens I wanted to compose music for films. Although I was heavily influenced by my love of the fantasy genre (Lord of the Rings, Narnia, etc) so was really only interested in writing heavily dramatic, rhythmic scores.

If I wasn’t an artist, I would be… a designer of some sort. I would always be doing something creative, but I wouldn’t be as happy doing anything other than what I do now.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt recently is… good things take time, everything is an evolution.


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