About Me, Kirsty Black
Kirsty Black is an abstract artist based in Auckland, New Zealand. She creates dynamic adventures in colour often with a mischievous twist, using freeform brushstrokes to convey a sense of escapade, of romping across the canvas with joyful abandon.
Her popular titles are also a key feature of her work. Seemingly upbeat they are open to interpretation adding a layer of intrigue to her abstract works.
Kirsty has been finalist in multiple notable art awards, including The Walker & Hall Waiheke Art Award, The Parkin Drawing Award and the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award, she also has a piece in The James Wallace Arts Trust. She is proud to be represented by Flagstaff Gallery, Mobile Art, ARTFORM, Art Shed, Artfull, Art Box, ZeaYou and The Little Gallery.
Growing up I spent a lot of time entertaining myself, as my family and I travelled extensively, living in various countries around the world – the last count was 9.
Often left to my own devices I retreated into a world of imagination. Fuelled by the sights, sounds, smells that surrounded me I spent endless hours drawing, painting and storytelling.
My artistic career at school was short lived as I was and am disinterested in realistic drawing. For me art has always been about emotion, the telling of stories and the portrayal and energy of an atmosphere, real or imagined.
Heading off to university, I was intent on pursuing a career involving some form of writing but ended up re-training as a designer. I had a grand time working on events around Europe. During this time, I used painting as a creative release, simply enjoying the process without the constraints of a brief. Over time I increasingly focussed on painting and becoming a full-time artist.
My mother was also a big influence, she was very creative and would create beautiful, fun filled homes all over the world using whatever was available to her… tea crates, palms for Christmas trees etc. She, like me was a fan of abstract work and my joy for colour comes from her. Although I’ve taken my love of orange and lime green to the next level.Button label
The Creative Process
I like to start each painting with a sense of adventure. Typically, my work focuses on gesture and colour, with an emphasis on energetic, animated brush strokes and bold palettes.
I don’t set out with a pre determined idea on how a piece will look rather the initial inspiration comes from the physical act of painting. Other than the first sweep of colour, my choice of palette is mostly intuitive, although my preference is for bright, cheerful colours. Orange is an all time favourite. Even when I’m trying not to use orange it tends to leap on to the canvas when my back is turned. It’s what I call a sneaky colour. Phthalo blue is a bit like that too. I find red is a tricky colour to work with, so I have been challenging myself to use it more often. It is such an evocative colour.
My aim as an artist is to engage the viewer and to create a sense of escapade, of romping across the canvas using a mix of intuition, spontaneity and more considered mark making. I’m a big fan of expressive, gestural brush strokes. I typically finish a painting with a final dot of colour (often orange or black) – a bit like a signature.
I like to amuse myself while I work, making up stories involving animal shenanigans or just mischief in general. These stories explain my titles. Perky Piglet Brigade, Kitty Punk, or my favourite Dung Beetle Pinball. If the title is ambiguous all the better. Are the dung beetles the ones playing pinball or are they the unfortunate balls that get pinged around?
And the great thing abstract art it that the viewer gets to decide. It’s an invitation to go on an adventure of your own.Button label
My studio in Maraetai, Auckland is a lovely airy space overlooking native bush with squabbling tui, Kereru, Piwakawaka and even the odd Kaka all all add to a sense of joy and optimism. The tuis in particular take delight in diving bombing the dog. The dog, or studio assistant, a rather exuberant collie cross is very happy to lend his tail as brush. He has been spotted wandering around with a turquoise backside and yellow whiskers more than once!
If you would like to visit the studio contact me and we can hook up a time.Button label
Walker & Hall Waiheke Art Award 2022: Finalist
Parkin Drawing Prize 2020: Finalist
The Cleveland Art Awards 2019: Finalist
Elected Member of NZ Academy of Fine Art 2019
Molly Morpeth Canaday 2017: Finalist
Estuary Art Awards 2015 (Curated by Warwick Brown): Finalist
Estuary Art Awards 2013 (Curated by Rob Garret): Finalist
The James Wallace Arts Trust, Pontoon Bay, Private Collection
ARTFORM Gallery, Matakana, Auckland www.artformgallery.co.nz
Artfull Gallery www.artfull.co.nz
Art Shed, Napier, www.theartshed.co.nz
Gallery, Devonport, Auckland
Mobile Art Gallery, Mt Eden, Auckland www.mobileart.co.nz
Soul Gallery, Hamilton
The Little Gallery, Tairua & Whangamata
ZeaYou Gallery, Taupo
Art Box Gallery, Christchurch
If you would like to visualize what an artwork would look like on your wall I’m happy to play Match Maker. Simply send me a photo of your wall and I will superimpose the painting on to it. Skylark Swoop seen here has been superimposed into an interior.