Equal parts nomad and homebody, artist Zana Lokmer is a super-skilled study in contradiction.
HAILING FROM A FAMILY THAT
“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.