Here you will find feature articles and news from the gallery and our selected artists…

The road to New York…

Alrighty, so it’s taken me a while to get my head around this art journey… Hence the tweaks and turns along the way – of course which we’re all allowed to do, being artists and all…  So The road to New York – the dream continues…


I’m guessing you have some affinity with New York – when did you last go there…?

“That’s the funny thing, I’ve never been… the closest I’ve got to New York was back in 97 when I went to New Orleans and that was pretty cool.  Ever since I left art school, it’s been my dream to not only visit there but to exhibit artwork there as well…

You mentioned you were heading there in 2015, what happened then?

“Well… long story actually but truth of the matter is, I was just too burnt out at the time. I’d been working continually on my art for years and just needed to give myself a break.  For me, it’s been the best thing I could’ve done to stop and assess my artwork for myself – what it’s about, my style, where I want it to go… you know, all the big questions you ask yourself time and time again.  I had been accepted into a gallery there and was planning on going over for a group exhibition. I’ve got no regrets though about waiting a little bit longer – it feels like the right time to be heading there now…”

Have you got a deadline for an upcoming exhibition?

“No dates locked in yet – but a lot happening in and around all of that.  That’s the exciting part about being an artist. Figuring it all out along the way is the best part and I’m certainly keeping it all the frame – it’ll all work itself out I know, like the saying goes – ‘if it’s meant to be, it’ll be’ right, and I’ve always believed in that.

Is the ‘Return to Paradise’ residence a step in that direction – technically it is on the way to America…

“Yeah it is, although only a hop, skip and a jump from NZ.  For me, I have to keep myself inspired and on the move – to be able to paint somewhere else every now and then opens up a whole new level of creativity and I love that kind of diversity.  It would be tempting to carry on to America then but I’ve got 2 other exhibitions to work on with our ‘Elements’ series for Christchurch and Dunedin to round out the year… then it’ll be all on for The road to New York…


Island of North

Our latest collection, ‘Island of North’ – ‘A concept of time…’ took me right back home to Wellington, NZ – back where I grew up, where I know and where I’m from…

This time I’m aiming to Scream in Colour, to answer everything with a blast of colour and a splash of words – with inspiration from music, travel and home – this is ‘Island of North’



So ‘Island of North’ – how did you come up with that title?

“It’s pretty funny – I was in a cafe one day and a lady I knew was at the counter.  We started talking and I don’t know how it came up really, but she asked me this – (and I’m quoting word for word here… )

So, are you still painting? she asked

“Yep, I’m working on a commission for some friends in Samoa – it’s for an accommodation swap at a hotel. They’re really awesome people too…”

She looked at me and said… So…. what Island are you from again?

“Oh, I’m from the Island of North – you know, the one up the top”

Oh…… she said – pausing long enough to be awkward… I thought you were from Samoa, she said…

I’m like – “Why did you think that?”

She goes – coz you went there for an exhibition – I just assumed you were from there…

“Long story short – we were both laughing at this point – and I left with this in my mind – hence the name and the theme of this collection.  Gotta thank her for that one”



Making Sense…Red Zone Collage

We’ve just wrapped up the first leg of our Sense of Place exhibition in Queenstown, heading to The Christchurch Art Show in 2 weeks time and then onto The Dunedin Art Show in September.  What a journey…

We’ve met so many fascinating people, been inspired, taken thousands of photographs and left many footprints along the way.  Making sense with our own journey is all part of the ride – and we’ve compiled a short Q & A from some of our favourite conversations…

How much time did you spend in Queenstown, was it all of May or just a few days?

“I spent a lot of time in Queenstown both before the exhibition and during and hired a holiday home for a little bit to really soak up the city vibe.  It’s funny – people here thought that’s a little mad you know considering Wanaka is only an hours drive away but one of the biggest things I miss about living here is that we haven’t been on holiday to Queenstown in over 5 years – so it was really cool to be able to do that again and to know it’s something we can keep doing.  And my family came down from the North Island too, so that was an added bonus” kf




So What was it that set Queenstown apart from Wanaka and why wouldn’t you just exhibit artwork there?

“Lots of reasons really, some easier to explain than others.  I’ve exhibited a lot in Wanaka already with Art in the Park and Matariki – both community art and music events and also myself when I had a studio in town.  I taught a lot of art and flower classes and donated a lot of artwork for community events and fundraising auctions. But I got to the point that I kind of burnt myself out you know and I took a break from painting to explore some other options here including starting in Queenstown” kf




What do you mean ‘burnt out’ – how long did you take a break for?

“I’d just come back from an art exhibition in Dunedin (March 2015) called ‘Into the Blue’ – I was driving back thinking about all the millions of things I had on the go.  At the time I was working as a bar manager here in a resort doing split shifts between painting at my art studio and it just got a bit too much as it does.  I left my job a few weeks later, and pretty much overnight decided to shake it all up, you know and make some pretty drastic life changes.  I blew my website up, took down all my blogs, artwork and writing I’d done and started again.  I didn’t know really what I was doing and my friends all thought I was mad, but I kept going, started writing, listening to music and walking everyday – and I started building my dream again, right from scratch – how I had always wanted to.  This I guess is how a ‘Sense of Place’ began and I called my time off ‘A year in Wanaka’ which funnily enough turned into 2 years of what I like to call total bliss” kf




So what do you mean by starting in Queenstown – hadn’t you already exhibited your artwork before?

“Yeah I’d been to Samoa twice for art exhibitions and to Rarotonga for an art commission and also spent years displaying artwork alongside my floral design work, starting off doing markets and shows in Wellington and the Kapiti Coast with my sister and a friend.  They were fun times and we combined our skills to create some pretty cool products and pop up gallery displays.  But you know things are always different in different places and I guess I just had to find that all out really.  Good and bad experiences come from that but I just needed to find a new starting point for what I think the real essence of my artwork is really about – and Queenstown seemed the perfect place to make that chapter 1” kf




Christchurch then Dunedin – is there anything special you’re planning there?

“I’m sending a number of pieces to Christchurch from the exhibition and a couple of new pieces I’ve been working on.  Christchurch in a way has always been a kind of beginning point for me as well with my painting ‘The Red Zone’ holding a special place in my heart.  This piece although on display is actually part of my own collection and after selling most of my artwork in the past, there are some pieces I just cannot part with.  For Dunedin, this is their first ever art show and I’m looking forward to having a larger display and painting live at the event – something I’ve often done here.  It’ll be great to get inspired by all the other artists and people that come to the show and I’m really looking forward to that” kf




Are there any other places on the list for a ‘Sense of Place” after that?

“No I really wanted to wrap up a kind of round trip South Island experience and that’s really what a ‘Sense of Place” has all been about.  I’m working on my next exhibition already to take back to my hometown of Wellington called ‘Island of North’ – ‘A concept of Time” – which will be on display towards the end of the year” kf

And the art workshops, have you any planned at this stage?

“All in the pipeline – it’s been a really busy and fun time.  We’re looking at a number of places and events to run these from – with loads to plan and do, I can truly say it’s just beginning… ” kf

Sense of Place:

The Christchurch Art Show – 15-19 June 2017

The Dunedin Art Show – 22-24 September 2017


Artist – Karina Fay

Karina Fay is an artist and designer living in the beautiful town of Wanaka, New Zealand. Tucked away in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, Wanaka offers a vibrant and laid back atmosphere for creativity to flow in all directions…

WhaRedZonePaintingt inspired you to become an artist?

I don’t think you become an artist, I believe everyone is in their own way.  I guess I’ve always expressed myself creatively through drawing and painting and for me art is a way of connecting and communicating through language.  I’ve got a strong background in architecture and Interior Design after studying for 4 years and have always been interested in the technical elements of maths and proportion.  Combining this with a flair for colour and design and running my own floral design studio for many years in Wellington has opened up a new level of creativity for me through sculpture and 3 dimensional design.  I love the challenge of working with clients and seeing the end result of a creative vision and story come to life.




How has your Interior Design study helped develop you as an artist?

In so many ways, it’s helped me to understand the essence of an interior space and the importance of artwork in the room.  Sometimes it’s a case of blending in with what’s there and other times, it’s about making a large visual statement and it’s different every time.  I’ve worked on a number of large commissions and smaller pieces for clients and every time there is a new set of requirements, of colour, size and shape and of course bringing the clients personality into the painting is always the best part.  This is where I really love to put my creativity into and I’ve had some incredible experiences though art that I just couldn’t experience if I didn’t paint.




What commissions have you worked on and where is your artwork located?

I started exhibiting my artwork in Samoa and held my first exhibition at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery.  From that I met a lot of people and my work from the exhibition and my second exhibit are scattered throughout Samoa and the South Pacific.  Pieces can be found at Seabreeze Resort, Le Alaimoana Hotel and further afield in Fiji, Tonga, Niue and Rarotonga to name a few.  There is a large collection at Edgewater Resort in the Cook Islands and commissioned work in New Zealand, Australia and as far afield as Santa Cruz, USA and Calgary, Canada.




How did you decide on where to hold your upcoming exhibition in Queenstown?

I started looking into the Southern Lakes region as the place I live and work and finding it all new to me after moving here from Wellington.  There’s so much inspiration to be had from the names of towns, mountains and rivers to the gold mining history of this region and the gorgeous and pristine scenery located all around.  This really is Real Middle Earth and I would find myself getting inspired by a lot of things while out exploring.  I decided on Queenstown because it’s always been a dream of mine to exhibit artwork there, from as way back as I can remember, and the month of May – well that’s just the icing on the cake.




You mentioned the scenery – What else inspires your creativity?

Music – of course music.  I don’t go anywhere without having music flowing through the airwaves.  Music helps me to think, create and allows the artwork to flow.  I often find an idea will just pop into my head while I’m out walking and I will paint when I get home or sometimes I’ll listen to one song for a while and wait for that spark of inspiration that will fly.  The process is different each time and I know when I’ve completed a painting – I can’t describe that feeling but it’s like knowing that you’ve been able to express an idea – that’s the best part for me to be able to share.




So what do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of different music all the time from classical to jazz, reggae, heavy metal and rap – pretty much anything really that might inspire the mood – and of course I love a heartfelt ballad and any music that tells a story.  Music is such an awesome art in itself and connects everyone, it’s like a language we all share and enjoy.   I painted this exhibition to a lot of music from rock to hard rock and a lot of music from JD Fortune, Pink Floyd, U2 and Led Zeppelin and of course a lot of Guns n Roses, INXS and Metallica and some kiwi music thrown in there too.  I love music that means something, that takes you on a journey and I connect with and I find it directly influences my art as every painting I do is a different piece in time.  That’s what I love about music and art – the connections we make.




So what’s next for you after Queenstown?

I’m working on an exhibition to take back to my home town of Wellington called ‘Island of North’ – this is a very personal exhibition and I’m really excited about exhibiting in the city – a place I spent most of my time before moving to Wanaka.  The collection is vibrant and rich in texture with an aim to ‘Scream in Colour’ – and will be accompanied by a black and white photographic exhibition with an architectural theme of sculpture and design.  This will be exhibited later this year with a number of other projects carrying on into next year – there is always lots to plan, achieve and dream.




Upcoming Exhibiton:  Sense of Place – A Photographic Ensemble…

The Front Room Gallery, Queenstown, New Zealand – May 2017.

The full exhibition write up can be found here –


Copyright – Monark Gallery 2017