Arts & Heritage Q & A: Janelle Wills

Artist Janelle Wills exhibits at Northart Gallery in Northcote. She worked in building restoration before reverting to her first love – painting. She moved to the North Shore two years ago and is always happy to sing its praises. Here, she answers a few questions about her creative loves…

Channel Magazine: Which work of art has had the most powerful effect on you and why?

Janelle Wills: Probably Giorgio De Chirico's painting ‘Mystery and Melancholy of the Street’ (1914). I remember being blown away by the psychological effect it conveyed; it depicted something dark by utilising silence, stillness and shadow, and was enormously influential in my own painting.

CM: Tell us the creative pursuits you are involved in, or any you would like to try?

JW: I’m interested in painting aspects of suburbia – in particular those which are overlooked and generally considered mundane. I paint figuratively but try to find abstract elements to the scenes I choose. Urban landscape is a rich subject matter, offering myriad textures which can be explored and developed through a wide range of painting techniques and expression.

CM: What is your favourite Shore heritage building and why?

JW: I love the Northcote Tavern (aka the Troff), an old colonial pub in Northcote Point built in the 1880s. Auckland doesn’t have many old-school pubs so the Troff is a real gem. It’s family run, has an easy-going atmosphere and just a great place for a pint.

CM: Which arts event/s do you most enjoy on the Shore?

JW: I enjoy going to Northart. There is a broad range of art shown there, from figurative to abstract in an array of mediums; its exhibitions are diverse and inclusive and there is always something interesting to see. Northart's openings offer artists and the local community a chance to experience artworks in a welcoming environment.

CM: If the Shore could have a new public piece of art, what and where would it be?

JW: I really like a good mural. But whatever the medium, it’s nice when public art commemorates local history. It would be nice to see something in Beach Haven – a part of the Shore that often gets overlooked. Ideally the local community would have a say in how and what part of history is commemorated.