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Nelson artist has her eye on the big picture

MARTIN DE RUYTER
Maia Hetariki got serious about her artwork a year ago. Now 15, she’s exhibiting her work at a Nelson gallery.

Last year, Maia Hetariki decided it was time to get serious about art.

The 15-year-old had always loved drawing and painting, and had experimented with pastels, watercolours and acrylics. But with a future plan taking shape to study fine arts and open her own studio, she knew she’d need to buckle down.

“I knew if I wanted to be an artist, I need to be practicing and doing more to better myself.”

The Nayland College student began experimenting with oil paints, producing a series of portraits.

Now, two of her works are on display at Nelson gallery Tula & Niles.

“My mum and I were having a look around [the gallery] and [co-owner] Jess was showing us around. She asked if I was an artist, and my Mum said yes, she loves to advertise me, and showed Jess a picture of a portrait I’d done of Keith Richards.”

The two portraits that hang in the gallery have led to more work, and Hetariki is working on four commissions.

Whenever she can find the time between school and her part-time job, Hetariki paints at home, in a purpose-built studio in the garden. It gives her a space where she can concentrate.

“It comes in handy, oil paints are really fumy, when I worked in the spare room the whole house would be full of fumes.”

With summer holidays on the horizon, Hetariki is looking forward to devoting some time to new projects.

“I’ve just got a camera and am taking pictures of people I know so I can stage the photo, because I’m particular about lighting and pose.”

She has always been drawn to portraits, she said.

“I find it easier to portray expression through a person’s face, it’s more interesting to paint a face than anything else.

“I like painting older people, they’re more interesting and wrinkly looking.”

Credit: Amy Ridout, Stuff

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