2021 Springboarder, artist, poet, teacher and parent Maisie Chilton often makes work exploring a range of personal experiences, centred around identity and self – disabilities, repressed trauma, and now: parenthood. We caught up with Maisie ahead of her latest exhibition Full Moon Puku, opening tomorrow afternoon in Wellington.
Kia ora Maisie! Tell us about Full Moon Puku.
Full Moon Puku is a series of oil paintings reflecting my experience of becoming a parent. The hardest part I found about becoming a mum has been feeling like the person I used to be doesn’t exist anymore. It’s true that you change when you have a baby and often it’s in positive ways, but there’s still a lot of grief in the loss of who you used to be. It’s also very isolating out in the bush where we live so using paint as a mode to express that was a natural response for me.
How have you found balancing parenting and an art practice?
Being a parent and artist is a big adjustment. My daughter is a barnacle baby so it’s basically impossible for me to ever get in the flow. I just had to adjust and get used to working in small bursts. I actually think that’s had a positive impact on my work because I spend more time looking before I act.
Star was such an appropriate mentor because she made her career whilst being a mum and that was really encouraging to me. She’s also been really helpful for developing my process and techniques.
I met Nina at an Arts Foundation event which is part of the power of the arts foundation, it fosters community. She’s a real champion of women and mothers. I’m so grateful of the way she’s offered up her space to give me a platform to show work.
You can also watch the video one year on from Maisie’s Springboard award, in conversation with mentor 2014 New Generation recipient Star Gossage.