My happy place: Flox, artist

By Bronwyn Sell

Flox is exhibiting in Art in the Dark, a free night-time festival of light and art at Western Park in Ponsonby, on Thursday to Saturday, 8pm to midnight.

My happy place is my new house on Waiheke Island. It's a little renovated kauri cottage at Onetangi Beach that my partner Gareth and I bought three or four months ago.

I live and breathe my work, and though it's my passion and I love it to bits, it's a really lovely separation for me to have a retreat where I can go and just breathe.

The feeling sets in when you get on that ferry. Your whole body relaxes and you just think, "Wow, okay. I'm on my way." It's like going on holiday. It feels like what life should be.

We also lease a place in Great North Rd. I have my showroom downstairs and we live upstairs and go to the island whenever we can to get away from it all. We're really fortunate to be able to go backwards and forwards and enjoy both worlds. I have a 7-year-old son, Bo, and I'm six months pregnant and I really appreciate having a space I can go to hang out with my family.

I grew up in the Far North and have lived in Auckland for about 20 years, but I first went to Waiheke only about five years ago.

I thought, "Holy heck, why have I not been out here before?" There are gorgeous beaches everywhere and there's a really lovely vibe. Everything's just humming along as it should.

The house is a really blank canvas. It's all beautiful kauri floors, white walls, a lovely kitchen. We are yet to fill our walls, but that's our next step. We'll be able to get away with an eclectic mix of artworks, which is good because we've got eclectic tastes.

It's very quiet, it's five minutes' walk to a beach and it backs on to a bird sanctuary. Often when you're outside you'll hear these big wings swooping over the top of your head and suddenly there will be two big fat kereru sitting above you in the tree. It's like heaven.

I don't do a hell of a lot when I get out there. I just hang out, read books, go for walks. It's my down time. It's nice to get out of the city, even if it's just for one or two nights. You come back feeling refreshed, having cleared the mind, cleared the deck for a whole new week.

I can't say Waiheke has directly inspired my art yet, but that will come. I certainly think it will help shape my outlook on life in general - what's important to me and what's not important and what I want out of life.

artinthedark.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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