Artist returns to her roots
Painting up to 30 hours a week as a single mother has helped steer an artist through life's challenges.
"It's not just about painting a pretty picture, it's about why you paint," Clover Park resident Aurora Matteson says.
"I've always used art ever since I was a child. Whenever there was drama I've immersed myself in my art."
Her latest exhibition, Bloom Where You're Planted, at Youthline Manukau is a metaphor of her own journey. The exhibition features 31 of her works.
Born and raised in Otara and Papatoetoe, she's returned to the place she knows best.
"There's a quality in south Auckland that I haven't experienced in other places and the people are genuine."
In 2002 Ms Matteson enrolled in the certificate in visual arts at Manukau Institute of Technology and has never looked back. "When my marriage broke up I ended up on the domestic purposes benefit with a toddler in a council flat - not my idea of the life I wanted at all. So that was when I decided to further my education."
Her work explores themes of life, light and recycled energy.
"I'm fascinated about the process of recycling energy and going back to the source. There's about 12 layers in each piece; texturing, painting, the colouring, putting the leaves on and then about three coats of lacquer."
And her kids, Isaac, 13, and Chantelle, 8, have grown used to her work habits too.
"They never ate at the kitchen table for the first five years of me painting because it was always covered in paint. But they've learnt to live with it now," she says.
Bloom Where You're Planted, August 1 to August 31, Youthline Manukau, 145 St George St, Papatoetoe.