Colourful artist Zana Lokmer creates beauty from inside the studio of her Wellington home.
The creative style of her tiles, paintings, stationery and porcelain bowls could be described as a love-child of Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo.
Born in Bosnia, she left her homeland due to war in 1992, touching down in Africa, and then Australia before settling in New Zealand seven years ago.
"Bad circumstances" is one way to describe the Bosnian conflict that Lokmer escaped from.
"I was a refugee," said Lokmer. Something fans of her art are unlikely to know.
Out of the darkness and into the light.
Lokmer is the seed of a creative family that now lives across the globe.
Her parents lived in the United States but moved back to Croatia last year. Her brother, a professional musician, lives in Germany.
"So it's just me and my family here in New Zealand," Lokmer said. "So far from everyone."
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As a child, she learned to knit and embroider from her mother, a jewellery designer.
"I was always creative. I was always doing something with my hands. My mother is very creative so she started all that for me."
Her journey to become the artist she is now, picked up the pace when living in Sydney, Australia.
There she attended the international school of colour and design and worked as an interior stylist.
But it was the move to Wellington that instigated what we can now enjoy in our homes.
On the offer of a job for her husband, Stasa, the Lokmers and their two sons, Matija and Luka, moved to Wellington.
"Time flies," Lokmer laughed, "We came for two years and we stayed."
Working at Wellington design store Small Acorns under a supportive boss created the inspirational environment Lokmer needed to begin painting.
"I was just inspired by my workplace," Lokmer said. "Because I work with the most beautiful fabrics."
"Amanda Holland is the owner. She always encourages me to do work."
"And that's how I started."
Lokmer's subject matter is fuelled by an appreciation for colours, textiles and the natural world.
"I love colour. I love colour, I would say again."
"Peonies. I love dahlias as well, roses."
"And fabrics, fabrics inspire me."
Her "eclectic" home "in the bush" in Crofton Downs is the backdrop to many a eye-catching Instagram share.
"I have a big, big backyard. My husband looks after it. I work in the house and he works in the garden."
"I have lots of collections and I love art. I love my house. I collect cups I collect blue and white china, I collect different things that have meaning just to me."
"I love porcelain, I always add something blue and white in my paintings."
The appeal behind blue and white?
"It's classic," Lokmer said. "It's timeless. It just balances everything you know. Like sky or ocean, it's beautiful."
She works in acrylics for her paintings and porcelain paint for her plates.
Many of her plates and dishes feature the faces of serene yet personality-filled women with voluminous hair.
"When I finish them they always remind me of someone I know," Lokmer said. "I don't have anything in mind before I start painting. But then when I finish I always have someone in mind."
Her favourites out of her own work are "probably paintings" but she loves everything she makes. "I don't have favourites," she said.
"I probably don't love them immediately but with time I love them. I know when they are finished."
And that is?
"When I start loving them," Lokmer laughed. "Then I know that they are finished and they can go on the wall."
Her paintings are one-offs not to be repeated. But due to the popularity of her tiles and bowls, she chooses to remake a selection of designs.
"First I make them in different sizes and then I repeat designs sometimes."
"I have to work on new designs but currently I don't have time because I am preparing myself for the New Zealand Art Show which will be held next month in Wellington.
This year will be Lokmer's second attendance at the New Zealand Art Show, after only one exhibition.
It's a big move, so she's a busy lady. But that doesn't mean she's not smiling, or doesn't have time for the things that she loves.
Those would be "family, painting" and "nature."
"I like to read, I love cooking. I love creative fashion, when someone dresses in a creative way, but I don't follow trends or anything like that."
She makes time to "go to bootcamp three times a week at six in the morning."
Doing her work makes her feel "Good. Healthy. Good. It is the thing that I like to do most because I feel good."
Her goals for her career are the gutsy and achievable dreams of a person with a determined spirit.
"I would like to become a full time artist," Lokmer said. "I would like to be globally recognised."
She hopes that when people view her works that they feel "joyful", that "they smile".
"But I think that's the colour," she laughed.
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