TOI TANGATA ARTIST INTERVIEW WITH ISOBEL JOY TE AHO-WHITE:
How long have you been making art for?
Since I was teeny tiny.
How/where did you start?
My earliest memory of painting is in preschool. I’ve pretty much been obsessed with it since then. My parents saw this in me and enrolled in various art classes throughout my childhood.
What are some of the key milestones/highlights on your journey as an artist so far?
Receiving a degree, self-publishing an art journal and having an article written about it in the New Zealand Herald.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced on your journey as an artist?
Getting work and promoting myself. Being socially phobic and on the spectrum makes these things especially challenging for me I suspect.
Why do you do what you do?
I think I’m addicted. Also, as a visual thinker, I communicate thoughts and ideas through visuals, and this is how I connect with other people. To me, the most rewarding thing is when someone is drawn into my artwork and discusses their interpretations of it with me and others, or when I am able to translate a client’s ideas into an illustration that they are happy with.
What messages do you hope to convey through your artworks?
I hope to open peoples minds and increase understanding of things that are important to me. I also like to inspire beauty, wonder and tranquility.
What are some of your big goals and aspirations as an artist?
To be a self sufficient freelancer and accumulate a large and impressive body of work over the course of my lifetime.
What are five random facts about you?
1. I am kind of obsessed with mushrooms.
2. I feel maternal towards any small critter.
3. Including bugs. If I wasn’t an artist I probably would have studied to become an entemologist.
4. I am a twin and have 10 siblings.
5. I have played bass guitar for 15 years and spend my spare time playing and writing music with people in bands.
What are your other passions in life and why?
Music is my other great passion and another way I communicate and connect with people.
I love hiking in the bush/forest and connecting with Tāne (the god of forests and birds) and Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother).
Nature features heavily in my work because it is grounding and provides me with peace and tranquility that I often like to pass on through my artwork.
Activism runs in my whakapapa (genealogy) and it is a torch I carry with pride.
Computer games is my vice.
Cooking and sharing kai (food) with loved ones.