I drew a lot as a kid and always wanted to make art. Growing up in a family centrered around church life and the Christian spiritual revival which was happening in the late 80s and early 90s had a huge impact on my world view. We lived off donations for extended periods of time after my father donated the majority of his life’s earnings to the church. We also weren’t allowed to listen to‘secular’ music or watch popular television.
I feel kind of lucky that we were encouraged/forced to look at life and society from an outside perspective. It also meant that when one of the kids at Mahurangi High School brought in a cassingle of “‘A to the K’” my mind was blown. The band T-shirt graphics other kids wore scared me but I couldn’t forget them and I’ll never forget how badass I felt when some other ‘PKs’ (pastor’s kids) played “‘Cream’” by Prince while our parents were in a spiritual warfare meeting at a conference.
Jump forward a few years and my parents were struggling to keep a handle on me and the other three of us kids, and allowed us to attend church Easter and summer camps. It was at one of these I met a skater called Michael Davidson and my weekends in town took a new direction. My girlfriends and (more importantly) my sister and I would spend hours in Aotea sSquare watching the skaties. The square and the city itself was an epicentrer for all the different sub-cultures of that time:– skateboarding, hip- hop, hardcore, rave, punk and goth. In our escape from Northcote and church life, we were introduced to these cultures and other escapees from Papatoetoe, Otara, Glenfield, Henderson and other suburbs.
Around 2002 I started selling spraypaint out of a crawlspace I sub-letted from some lovely ladies in a shop called NU on K’ Rrd. The space had previously been Virus clothing/record store and prior to that a bondage club. My space ‘Out of Order’ was essentially what had been the DJ booth.,tThere were needles and hundreds of black and white photocopies of eyes under the carpet when I cleaned it out. I worked one day a week in the shop to cover my rent. Because I lived next door I didn’t keep proper hours and people could just buzz me if they wanted to get something.
I’m just going to keep making pictures. I’m not rich, I can’t put a deposit on a home or a car or evenget my teeth fixed but I’m not on the dole and I a’m doing what I love. Hustling day to day to survive is not every woman’s dream and can get pretty stressful but I know I’m lucky and it seems like right now this is the only place in the world I could get away with living how I do. The whole world is changing, but it always was….Choose how to live while you can, and let others do the same, I say.
Text by Erin Forsyth
Published in Manual #60