Jenny Mehrtens is an Arrowtown based artist, primarily a painter, she has had several group and solo exhibitions and her work can be found in private collections worldwide.
1. What initially drew you to Queenstown?
My mother was born in Queenstown and whenever we visited from Dunedin where I grew up, it always seemed like a really magical place. I think as I grew older I felt the "pull of the South." Some people think that it is the beauty of the area that would inspire me, but I don't really paint landscapes. It is the pace of life that makes it such an amazing place to live in and work as I do. Living in a city there are things like queues and traffic that clutter your mind but don't add anything creatively.
2. What do you enjoy most about living here?
Queenstown and surrounds have been good to me. The international tourism and the amount of local building in this area has driven people to my studio. A lot of my sales are to international tourists and I still get a thrill when I think of my work in homes in NY or London.
3. Where do you take your inspiration from?
I have several series of work but with my latest, Elemental, the inspiration is definitely nature inspired. I spent a lot of time outside as a child and it is the wonder of discovery, turning over rocks, chasing butterflies, finding ladybirds etc, that I am trying to capture in these works. These paintings also make me think about children with their heads in their ipads today and maybe not having the same experience. so my morning walks through Sawpit or the river loop in Arrowtown or going up Tobins always offer up something new and beautiful to look at , no matter what season.
Jenny Mehrtens' studio in Arrowtown
4. Favourite season and why?
I think I'd have to say Spring. There is the joy of new life, and the promise of beautiful weather to come. Everything starts to look lush and colourful. It feels like the prize you get for enduring a winter here!
5. Tips and tricks for anyone with artists block?
Artists block is not in my vocab. You have to have the discipline of working nearly every day and being busy with your craft. I love the saying "the universe rewards activity" and it is especially true when working creatively. The more you work, the more the ideas come.
6. Any advice for people interested in getting in to art but not sure where to start?
I think that it is important to learn the basics in an art school but then be prepared to work hard and experiment to develop your own style. If you want to make a living from art you need to think of it as a business.
7. Any up and coming local artists to watch?
I have really enjoyed watching sculptor Shane Woolridge and furniture designer Ed Cruickshanks work develop over time. They are both dedicated to their craft and produce brilliant work. A young artist to watch is Sierra Roberts from Wanaka. She paints so beautifully and I love her message to the world through her art.
Keep up to date with Jenny and her work on the below links, or visit her at her studio on Buckingham Street in Arrowtown.
All works for sale are on Jenny's website and if you would like more detailed photos of a particular work or would like a virtual photo of what it would look like on your wall, email Jenny. Jenny Mehrtens email@example.com.