Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.
Karina Fay is a wonderful artist living in Wanaka, her exhibition ‘Sense of Place’ is to open at FrontRoom Gallery for the whole of May 2017. A beautiful display of her new work since moving from Wellington to Wanaka in November 2011. Finding a “sense of home” and “sense of place” is something many of us search for and something that Karina relates to.
Who are you, what do you do?
I’m an artist and designer living in Wanaka – originally from Wellington, I moved here in November 2011.  I paint large abstract and/or vibrant artworks using a variety of colour, texture and mixed media.  If I had to descibe my style it would be this – “Art from my Dreams” and that is exactly what I aim to do.  I studied Interior Architecture and Design for 4 years in Wellington, then opened up my Floral Design studio in Khandallah, Wellington before moving down to live  I’ve always painted and written poetry and I came here with a dream – This is it, This is the Dream!!
Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.
Whats the latest exhibition, can you tell us about it?
This exhibition ‘Sense of Place’ originated from walking along the lake front in Wanaka.  I was really missing home a lot and took a break from painting to start writing which is another passion of mine.  I went looking for that feeling of home again and started exploring the places and spaces around the Southern Lakes region.  ‘A Sense of Place’ is all about finding a place to call home no matter where in your world you live, work and travel to and through music, writing and painting I’ve found that ‘Sense of Place’ that I like to call home.  Accompanying the exhibition is ‘A Photographic Ensemble…” which is the debut exhibition from Monark Gallery.  The photographs displayed alongside the artwork help to tell a story and form part of the exhibition to be held alongside each other at The Front Room Gallery, Queenstown in May 2017.

Where does your work ideas stem from? How have they changed/ stayed the same over the years?
My ideas have changed over time especially after living near the sea and the North Island.  The colours here are different than they are up north, especially the colours of the mountains and the sunsets, the lake is always a different colour too and very reflective.  When I painted my first exhibition I held in Samoa, I painted a lot of really bold and bright colours after being there and seeing the colours of the tropics with the gorgeous azure blues of the lagoons and deep blue of the ocean.  When I lived in Wellington I traveled to the Islands a lot and that had a direct influence on what I was painting at the time.  However I’ve always painted to music and I started exploring this in more depth when I ran a series of art workshops both in Samoa and here in New Zealand called ‘Free your Mind’ – I found that painting to music helped me to express myself as an artist and helped the creative process to flow, both through paint and then words and I often write a layer of poetry to the painting which helps to tell the story.  This is something I’d like to offer more here and I’m looking at offering more workshops in the future alongside more artwork and exhibitions etc…

Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.
Wanaka based, Wellington original…how did you end up in Wanaka and what is it about Wellington you miss?
I grew up in Wellington and spent my life in the North Island before coming down to Wanaka to live.  I guess we came to Wanaka looking for a new adventure and to follow a dream after spending many beautiful holidays down here in the past.  Wanaka is such a gem of a place with the backdrop of the mountains and the stillness of the lake – quite the opposite from the gusty and rugged coastline around Wellington – although I love both places equally.  We ended up in Wanaka for many reasons, mainly as a quieter lifestyle option to what we were used to in Wellington and we always loved the laid back vibe here – it’s a great place to get work done and a great place to paint with less distraction than the city.  If I thought about what I miss about Wellington, obviously it’s my family and friends – that’s what I miss the most – oh, and my parents couch – you can’t beat that I reckon.  They’re the biggest things, as well as the shopping, the cafes and places I would go to, the beaches and the flower markets I would buy flowers from – and then there’s the arts scene, Central Wellington, restaurants and live theatre – after spending 4 years at art school in Wellington, I experienced a lot of that diversity and culture in the city… but I’ve learnt over time that these things are all here too – maybe in different ways but they’re all here and we get a lot of entertainment for a small town.  I guess it’s all about looking forward, looking around and enjoying what the region has to offer – that’s how I’ve looked at it and we do have some pretty awesome cafes here with spectacular views so we are very lucky.
Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.
Which other artists do you keep an eye on? Who are some of your ‘must’ go to’s?
I get inspired by everything really, from the light through the mountains, to the colour of the flowers in the park – pretty much everything that happens around you in life can be artistic inspiration and food for thought and of course my biggest inspiration is from music.  My dad is a musician and I grew up listening to him play and compose music on the piano and we would go and watch him play when he was part of the orchestra as an oboe player.  I learnt the guitar when I was a teenager and I’ve always been inspired by musicians, poets and writers as well as artists and I do have my personal favourites for sure.  I painted this exhibition to a lot of music from Pink Floyd to Led Zeppelin and a lot of U2, Guns n Roses, Fat Freddy’s Drop and INXS and I started painting to music from a really interesting project I discovered which was a 7 in 7 music project from JD Fortune which I found really inspiring.  That kind of creativity and outside the square thinking is what truly inspires me and I love a lot of street art too – sculpture and live theatre – especially when you’re just walking down the street and see a street performer just doing their thing – that’s always really cool and there’s always art like this down the waterfront in Queenstown.  I just really love that creative vibe and art in all forms which is a beautiful thing.
Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.

Queenstown and Wanaka- any secrets that you’d like to share with our readers? Favourite places to eat/ wander/ hangout?
I love the drive over the Crown Range, stopping off at The Cardrona Hotel for coffee then heading to Arrowtown for lunch is always a highlight especially in Autumn when the hillside turns burnt orange.  The walk along the river is tranquil and the town is always buzzing with tourists.  Then heading into Queenstown, late afternoon walking along the lakefront and through town – we often have dinner or lunch at Searle Lane or Devil Burger is good too – grab a coffee at Starbucks and a dozen bagels from Fergs Bakery – or sometimes grab dinner from Ferg Burger which is always busy.  Sometimes we might take a trip up the gondola just to see the view from the top and yep, it’s always awesome. Then another coffee at Patagonia or the Bath House Cafe and a stroll through the gardens – did I mention I love coffee!? – a look around the galleries then that drive through the gorge is spectacular, stopping to watch the Bungy jumping at AJ Hacketts along the way.  Gibbston Winery is often on the cards too – such a beautiful spot there and having lunch overlooking the vineyards is pretty cool.  There’s so many great things to do here and I know living in Wanaka there are always the favourite hang outs here too like Federal Diner, Ritual and Kai Whakapai – and then sometimes I will head to The Edgewater here and have coffee beside the lake and that world famous Wanaka Tree…  and that’s not even mentioning the skiing, walking and day trips to Cromwell, Bannockburn or Glenorchy etc…  In between all that I paint and write.

Karina Fay’s exhibition “Sense of Place” will be on at Frontroom Gallery for May 2017.
Frontroom Gallery/ Share Space
10 Memorial Street

Find out more about her work here and here.

Karina Fay. Sense of Place. A Photographic Ensemble.