My ART | Artist: Heidi Brickell

Artist: Heidi Brickell

Artist: Heidi Brickell

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

Line drawings, pages from a knot tying manual, knotted kelp, objects that they are wrapping around. It’s all starting to sprawl onto the ceiling, actually.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

The one I’ve meditated on the most in recent years is Ihenga, a whare whakairo that I’ve stayed in a couple of times in Te Arawa that was carved by Lyonel Grant. The capacity of this whare to travel your mind and integrate so many threads of connection to stories and sensibilities past and present is something incredible. It also links historical forms to more contemporary ones. Of course, I work in a totally different context to that of a master carver, but the way a wharetipuna functions as a sort of a psychological space, albeit a shared, communal one, is something I’m figuring out in my more personal practice. How art can reflect an authentic mind-space as someone living simultaneously in Māori and Pākehā worlds. Their knowledge bases can feel very separate, at times, but as more people are crossing and building that bridge I think it will be interesting what emerges.

Who is your ideal studio buddy?

Robert Sapolsky, Oliver Sachs, or someone who similarly elaborates on wild biological possibility.

What are you listening to?

Susumu Yakoto’s Symbol, The Durutti Column, Chill Out by The KLF, CSP06 Nicolas Jaar’s Essential Mix (BBC edit).

What are you reading?

Second time around on The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson. I can’t get over her, she thinks with such clarity while working against classification.

If you could commission someone, anyone, to write up your life and work, who would it be?

I’m too shy to say.

What is art for?

Processing things in ways language can’t.

What’s next?

Renegotiating shows I had planned before lockdown – the time I gained and the sense of possibility far outweighs any schedular disruption, so definitely no complaints!

June 2020
Photo: David Straight