Happy medium

Equal parts no­mad and home­body, artist Zana Lok­mer is a su­per-skilled study in con­tra­dic­tion.

Homestyle New Zealand - - STYLE - IN­TER­VIEW Alice Lines Bonny Beat­tie PHOTOGR APHY


“loved art and beauty”, artist Zana Lok­mer says her eye was trained from a young age. Born in Bos­nia, she’s lived in Harare, Sydney and now Welling­ton. “My life has taken me to places and peo­ple that I never in a mil­lion years could have imag­ined,” she says. “And for that I am thank­ful.”

Fun­nily enough, as we found out, Zana’s also kind of a home­body, who finds cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion in the cu­rios she feath­ers her nest with.

How long have your been liv­ing here?

My hus­band Stasa and I bought this house in 2011. It was built in 1963 and no work had been done on it since, but the first time I walked in, I had a feel­ing that I could turn it into a home. The ren­o­va­tion took four months, but it’s a work in progress – we’re al­ways do­ing some­thing around the house.

What do you love most about your place?

I have a lit­tle stu­dio in the gar­den, which is my favourite room. But I love so many things about be­ing here: the quiet, the birds, go­ing for walks, the trees, the clean air, the open space, the stream at the bot­tom of the gar­den. I’m an ac­tive per­son and like to watch things grow, so be­ing sur­rounded by green­ery is where I feel happiest. New Zealand is such a beau­ti­ful coun­try – it some­times makes me feel like I’m liv­ing in a post­card.

How would you de­scribe your in­te­rior style?

My taste has evolved a lot over the years. Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures has in­flu­enced my style, but some things never change: I’ve al­ways been fas­ci­nated by in­te­rior de­sign as a way to tell sto­ries.

My home is more col­lected than dec­o­rated. Ev­ery­thing I love is in my nest: my books, art, mu­sic. I’m a trav­el­ling gypsy who has to be sur­rounded by all of my things be­fore I can func­tion in an en­vi­ron­ment.

Where do you hunt for col­lecta­bles?

From time to time I get the urge to just •

“I’m a trav­el­ling gypsy who has to be sur­rounded by all of my things be­fore I can func­tion in an en­vi­ron­ment.”

go out and find my next trea­sure. My pas­sion is search­ing in mar­kets, vin­tage stores and junk shops. And I love buy­ing from Small Acorns, where I’m lucky to work three days a week, sur­rounded by the most beau­ti­ful fab­rics, fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tive items. They also stock my pieces, as does The Painted Room in Christchurch.

How did you come to be work­ing as an artist?

I grad­u­ated from the In­ter­na­tional School of Colour and De­sign in Sydney in 2005, then worked as an in­te­rior stylist for many years. In 2010 we moved to New Zealand, where I dis­cov­ered a new pas­sion: paint­ing.

Some of your paint­ings have an in­te­rior-de­sign aes­thetic – where do you find in­spi­ra­tion for these works?

“Paint what is in front of you,” said [late Aus­tralian artist] Mar­garet Ol­ley. I think she meant not to search too far, and to stick with the things that re­late to your life.

True to her words, my home in­spires me – it’s my very own in­spo board, the form of my ex­pres­sion and of my per­son­al­ity. The in­spi­ra­tion is all around me, in ev­ery lit­tle cor­ner filled with mag­a­zines, flea-mar­ket finds, flow­ers, all things vin­tage and books, which I find beau­ti­ful and trans­port me to another world. All of these things in­spire me and have a very per­sonal mean­ing.

Your art prac­tice is var­ied – what pro­cesses and medi­ums do you use?

My work con­sists of paint­ings, hand­painted plates and tiles, greet­ing cards and tags. My pieces are quite colourful – vi­brant and up­lift­ing with lots of de­tail. I fol­low my in­stincts when I’m paint­ing.

Each plate I make is one of a kind, cre­ated with a spe­cial paint suited to porce­lain. My tiles are mixed-me­dia dec­o­ra­tive tiles and each is a unique piece of art. My greet­ing cards have been very pop­u­lar; the images are taken from orig­i­nal works painted on can­vas. I’ll be ex­hibit­ing my paint­ings and tiles at the NZ Art Show in June.

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