2020 My Space


My Space

Auckland artist Susan Thomas on her favourite work spot

Compiled Naomi Larkin
Photograph Jane Ussher

Describe the space. It’s an artists’ studio where nine of us have individual areas. It’s part of a warehouse complex in Mt Roskill, Auckland, most of which is used by a self-storage company so there is a lot of activity outside. We are on the first floor so we have a good vantage point to watch the comings and goings. But it’s calm inside. Through the wall is a metal spinners and one of the machines they use creates a background thumping which is very War of the Worlds. I find it oddly comforting. There is lovely natural light in my area. Some of the other spaces are closed-in rooms with more privacy but I like the light. The landlord polished the floors for us when we moved in 10 years ago and that’s really the only nod to anything aesthetic, so we try hard not to get paint on them. There’s a haphazard collection of old furniture and kitchen equipment which gives the place a bit of a bach feel as well. It’s relaxed. What inspires you about the space? It’s my happy place. It’s all about creative time and there is no rushing. I usually spend the first 30 minutes or so wandering around with a coffee seeing what everyone is up to and getting into the right head space. I feel peaceful here. I need calm and quiet to work. Everyone works different hours so often I am alone but not all the time, and that prevents it getting too isolating. I keep paintings around me from various projects to help inform the new work. My themes tend to follow what’s happening in my life and what is on my mind. My current paintings are exploring miscommunication. They follow on from work which looked at DNA and inheritance issues. What is your role? Apart from being a painter, I am one of three trustees running the studio, sorting out administration and interviewing new artists if someone leaves. See more at susanthomas.co.nz



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