We are so pleased to welcome one of our newest artists Janette Cervin to our galleries so we thought it was the perfect time to find a little more about Cervin and her practice.
What do you make, art practice?
I am a painter, focusing on native and introduced flora and fauna of Aotearoa.
What does a normal day look like to you?
I try to stick to a routine and aim to be in my studio ready to paint at 9.00 am. I am surrounded by a number of works all of which are at different stages of the painting process. This helps prevent boredom and back ache as I move around the studio.
My husband Jake is often around either framing, resining, cutting ACM boards or working on our lifestyle property so we will often check in on what the other is doing.
If the weather is nice we will venture outdoors into our extensive garden or the native bush that surrounds us to take photos of flora and fauna, stopping to pull out the odd weed here and there. These images are then printed and put into their selected folder. Actually, generally they end up in a rather large untidy stack as it’s a job my mum does when she comes up to stay. J If it’s a wet day I can spend a few hours sourcing imagery with a cup of tea and the radio on in the backgound.
Around 5.30pm or thereabouts, it’s time to take off the painting apron and wash out the brushes.
How did it all begin?
My practice had its beginning in a life growing up within the context of a creative family amongst gardens at my parents flower nursery on the banks of the Waitemata Harbour. My mother’s interest in colour manifested itself in a fervent involvement in interior décor, flower arranging and painting. Consequently an interest in the decorated domestic space and floral imagery was an integral part of my early life.
As a young mother I revelled in my first home (an old rundown villa) and the opportunity to create an interior décor and sanctuary of my own making. It was in effect like working on a blank canvas. Like many women, I felt it was a place to express my creativity in a traditionally female, domestic environment.
It was within this domestic environment that an art and craft direction was forged. Lessons in many traditional woman’s crafts were embarked upon, all involving the incorportion of the floral motif. The most influential crafts to my current practice were china and tole painting (folk art on tin or wood). By combining and adapting aspects from both crafts, transparency and laying of china painting, and a one stroke blending brush method of tole painting, I developed a proficient painting technique that I continue to use in my practice today.
The confluence of childhood experiences and tacit knowledge through years of developing a painting technique derived from traditional craftwork formed the foundation for my Masters Degree Flowers in a Contemporary Painting Practice and my art practice today.
Where do you find inspiration as an artist?
I find inspiration from just looking out of the window. My husband and I bought a lifestyle block in rural Warkworth nearly 6 years ago which sits high on a hill looking across paddocks and bush. The previous owners were bird breeders, so consequently they had planted many trees and plants to encourage bird life. We are also surrounded by native bush so it’s common to be standing at the kitchen bench and watching a hawk swooping down, a Kereru gliding, kingfishers sitting on the fence posts, fantails and wax eyes branch hoping and the rosellas, who always seem to fly in pairs, and appear like splashes of paint across the scene.
Jake and I continue to encourage more bird life by creating a garden that attracts the birds and the bees.
What do you love most about living and working in Aotearoa?
Being a predominately flower and bird painter Aotearoa is a magical place to live. I work at home doing what I love with my husband/best friend/PA/studio technician on our own little piece of paradise, what more can I say?!
How had your artwork changed over time?
The flower has been always been an integral subject matter in my work, it has also been the vehicle that carries my chosen medium, which is paint. The confidence and the speed in which I can paint the flower after years of practice, has allowed me to work and experiment in a more reckless and exploratory manner. eg scale, content, deeper exploration of materials,using different methods to push through boundaries previously held.
In researching the flower I investigated the 16th century vanitas themes of abundance, consumerism, excess and the transience of life. To portray these themes I introduced glossey surfaces which led to me using resin. After an epiphany created by moths and dust continually landing on my work, multiple layers of resin are now applied giving a 3 dimensional depth to the work.
Another noticeable change in my work in recent years is the inclusion of birds. I have been heavily influenced by my parents home and the flower nursery so flowers were integral to my work. It seems a natural progression now that we have moved to a bird sanctuary that birds morph into my paintings.
Along with the introduction of the birds and their changing environments came a narrative. With more to say I have upped the scale of the work and upsized my brush. As a result my paintings have become larger with more illusion of depth and further conversations within each work, inviting the viewer to carry themselves around the visual narrative in a natural flow.
How has the digital space affected your artwork?
I use photographic images as references for my work. I can zoom in on these, crop them and flip them to help create a narrative.
More recently Jake and I have carried work into the bush and photographed the reflections on the glossy surface, which are then printed onto ACM.
From here I can select areas to keep and areas to paint over. This process removes the ‘fear of the blank canvas’ as the work has a starting point. The process of layering and resining is the same but the reflections add a new and interesting dimension to the work.
I’m on instagram and enjoy keeping in touch with what other artists and galleries I’m interesting are doing.
What is you studio/creative space like?
I work from two areas attached to our home. The ‘dirty area’ where Jake I use the sander, Jake cuts the ACM and does the framing, spray painting area, and the çlean area’ where I paint and Jake does the resining. This area is the best room in the house! It would have been the formal lounge in our villa with loads of windows and a beautiful view . I have a desk corner area designated for the computer and printer and a couch next to a bookcase where I can sit and sift through images. There are three large easels and a large table all on wheels so I can move from one work to the next with ease. I am very lucky to be working from such a fantastic space!
What drew you to working with the Poi Room?
Jake and I were down in Auckland to view an exhibition and on our list of places to visit was the Poi Room. We don’t get into the city much from Warkworth so I was surprised and delighted that Melanie recognized me and knew my work. Melanie and Clayton had apparently seen an exhibition of mine in Wanaka earlier in the year.
We both loved Melanies passion, vibrancy and her genuiness to showcase New Zealand artists and their work.
We decided to pop into the Ponsonby gallery a few days later and introduced ourselves to Meg (who also knew the work and was keen to have me on board) and Melissa, who both made us feel very welcome and keen to be part of a new venture with the Poi Room.
It all felt good, we loved the passion and the people, the artwork they showcase and so went just went with the good vibe!
Describe your relationship with the Poi Room and how our values fit with your business?
We have only been part of the Poi Room for a few weeks but already we are aware of their integrity and passion they have to represent and promote New Zealand artists and quality contemporary art.
Having a good relationship with galleries I work with is really important to me.