About the artist J Stirling
I love layers, bright pops of bold colours, metallics and special effects, and I like to create a dreamy feeling of nature in my paintings. I often produce a few similar artworks in a series however each individual painting is handmade and unique.
I’m lucky to live by the sea, in a cute wee village called Plimmerton in Porirua. Here I’m constantly inspired by nature, the stunning views and the incredible wildlife that surrounds me. I love to replicate my feelings of lighthearted happiness to live here in my paintings.
When folk look at my work, they often comment on the vibrant colours, the layers, and how the light at different times of the day picks up various effects of the paintings. I’ve been told the paintings defy gravity and create a floating feeling that makes people feel happy.
My work is difficult to photograph because of the glass-like reflective resin finish. The paintings are much better in real life! I aim to create original exhibition quality pieces that are affordable.
Full disclosure: I have a Siberian Husky dog called Sasquatch and some loose strands of fur may be forever immortalized in your painting, although I can’t guarantee that either!
The artworks, like the artist, are not perfect – so if you’re a perfectionist, my art will probs annoy you. If you love fun, movement and a breath of fresh air, you’ll love my work!
During the age of the Flintstones, I studied Craft Design at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua. At the time, I didn’t appreciate quite how incredible it was that established artists tutored students in practice-based learning.
My first solo exhibition was waaaaay back when at Aro Street Café, and I have exhibited at Pataka Gallery & various places & galleries in Aotearoa and the United Kingdom. My last exhibition was in 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland. No exhibitions since as the usual life / paying job got in the way of art.
The upside of lockdowns meant I had time to paint for fun again. I've been happily playing with mediums & working out techniques over the last few years and have produced smaller works as test pieces for the larger paintings.
The art I produce is outside of my normal job. As a part time artist, I do think I suffer a wee bit from ‘imposter syndrome’. I'm not a real artist, aye? Just another egg who jumped out of her carton.
Artist who saw, inspired and encouraged me the most; Bub Bridger (poet)
Artist who taught me the most, including working in multiples and undulating form; Peter Deckers (Jeweller)
Artist most perplexed that I worked more efficiently in multiples; Gary Freemantle
I haven’t worked out yet how my words go in my art. But I hope I do.
Short story; Mākutu on Mrs. Jones by Witi Ihimaera. This story strongly resonated with me. When I was growing up I used to feel like there was something like a mākutu on me too. An unhappy home can do that. But school can show children something positively different.
Teachers: The real influencers!
Where did my art start? Mungavin Avenue, Porirua East Kindergarten. First day of Kindy, the teacher put down paper and a palette of colours in front of me. I'd never seen paint & didn't know what I was supposed to do. The teacher said - use your fingers. I asked but am I allowed? The teacher said yes, we can wash it off afterwards. Finger Painting. That was the first time I felt art, and I loved it.
Ms Vardy, and Mr Watt, Rangikura School, thank you for providing both boundaries and encouragement to thrive at school.
Shout out to my favourite all time teacher Miss Val Collins (Maraeroa Marae, Waitangirua Intermediate, Whitireia Polytechnic). Wow if only we could clone Valerie – he wahine whakamiharo, the world would be an even more amazing place.
Polyclub teacher who was disappointed I didn’t join the Whitireia Performing Arts programme; Tuaine Robati. Same Mr Robati, same, but a student loan only goes so far aye.
As a Pākehā gal from Porirua East - I am forever humbled and grateful for the incredibly positive influence Māori culture has on me. Ake, ake, ake.
When I'm painting I absolutely love listening to music, it inspires me.
Without awesome tunes - I don't know if I'd be as motivated to paint. I am known to have a wee boogie in my art room.
The following links are my favourite sets to listen to when painting, and are free on Soundcloud. Thanks to the talented artists for sharing!
Yurtfest 1.0 - G,Kev Wright,Stevie Reid in tha House Set Friday - May21
Niall June 2021 Mix
ScotMidd March 2022 Mix - Rain Jacket