A Masters of Science in Art psychotherapy gave Shannon the perfect way to combine her interest in working with people, and her love of art.

Shannon is now based in Thames and operates out of the old post office which she shares with other professionals in the arts and healing professions. Art has always been an important tool for Shannon, who also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and she believes that we are all artists in our own way. Recently she has begun exploring the process of abstraction and going quite big.

Read Shannon’s fascinating story here.

I grew up close to here, in rural Waihi in the Hauraki area. In the mid-nineties, I attended art school at the Otago Polytechnic and majored in painting. I have a BFA and an MSc in Art Therapy.

I create process-driven, abstract expressionist paintings that capture the liminal space between the outer world and my inner emotional response. My focus on abstraction began about six years ago, after the birth of my daughter. I draw constant inspiration from our environment, particularly the seasonal atmosphere, colour, and movement changes. The depths and layers of rivers, oceans, and the bush naturally find their way into my work, creating a connection to the beauy in nature.

The paintings slowly resolve out of chaos, seeking form through multiple layers of gestural, responsive mark-making, which may also reference personal memories, cultural and artistic influences or simple lines drawn from the physical environment. I develop my visual language through practice, and certain symbols and references will be repeated over time.

An example is a teal blue imprinted into my visual lexicon from the reefs and horizon lines of the Cook Islands, where we lived when I was 10-12. In this way, the paintings become an abstract, holistic diary, in which I aim to offer the viewer an arena for their own responsive experience as they view the works. I prioritise intuition in my practice, where experimentation, happy accidents and ‘mistakes’ are vital parts of the highly organic making process. I aspire to be honest in my expression.

It’s my idea of fun – there is nothing more life affirming than putting some music on and getting lost in the painting process for an hour or two. I enjoy working on relatively large canvas for the freedom in size, being able to use my whole arm in mark making.

The generous studio space in the beautiful old post office building was a fortuitous discovery. It has room for my art therapy and painting practices. Several other creatives are neighbouring me, with art classes at the Creativity Room based here, yoga and well-being practitioners such as BeInFlow and Kanapa Massage, and the Buddhist Centre. I plan to work out of this space for a long time.

Find out more of Shannon’s work via the links below:

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