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Trans-Tasman umbrella art

Artist Flox’s latest collaboration with Blunt pays tribute to our Aussie neighbours.

Flox’s beautiful new umbrella design features a mix of native New Zealand and Australian birds and botanicals.

good caught up with the famed Flox aerosol artist Hayley King for a quick Q&A.

This is not your first collaboration with Blunt…

This is my third collab with Blunt, and I feel so humbled to again be working alongside such a dedicated and renowned Kiwi brand. 

We love that the artwork on the umbrella pays tribute to our neighbours Australia – we miss them! Can you talk us through the concept?

For this particular limited edition, I really wanted to intertwine both New Zealand and Australian birds and botanicals to pay homage to our unique connection and the relationship we share with our bigger neighbours in the Pacific. This connection is of particular significance right now, with our borders closed and our trans-Tasman movements at a bare minimum, there’s a shared sense of longing to return to a sense of normality. My one and only brother lives in Melbourne, so I also have a personal connection to the place.

You’re a keynote speaker at Good magazine’s upcoming ‘Life Lovers’ event on July 23, 2020. What do you love most about your career as an artist? And can you give us a brief insight into what you will be talking about on the night?

I’m just genuinely grateful to get out of bed every day and do what I’m passionate about. Days at Haus Of Flox can be full on and stressful, don’t get me wrong, but I really feel a sense of purpose around what I’ve achieved and what I want to do in the future. 

If you’re making it along to the Life Lovers event, you can expect me to be talking through a bit of a timeline on where I began and how I got to where I am now. I’d also like to touch on where I see the brand, moving forward.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I guess I really became serious about being an artist around the time Flox was born which was the year after I graduated from Art School in 2003. It was at this time, that I picked up a can of spray paint for the first time, came up with the name Flox, started a clothing line and enrolled on a business course…it was a whirlwind few years after that but everything kind of just fell into place (amongst the blood sweat and tears).

Why birds and flowers?

I love decoration, pattern and textile art, and even through art school was hugely inspired by the likes of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. I just rolled with these themes and then realised that the birds really resonated with audiences, particular in Aotearoa. We have a bit of a love affair with our birds and they are a symbol in a way, of who we are and where we place ourselves in the world. They’re connected to our history, geography and current conservation so they offer up a vast array of conceptual opportunities when designing mural and commission based content.

The artwork on the new limited-edition Blunt x Flox umbrella is a mix of native New Zealand and Australian birds and botanicals.

Flox artwork is instantly recognisable and you are adept with a spray can! However, we hear you are also pretty good with a squash racket ….

LOL, where did you find this info? I played squash for 10 years from the age of 10 through to 20, representing New Zealand at a number of international and national tournaments. I come from a small Northland town where we had to find things to do, so when my dad joined the local squash club I started hitting the ball up against the changing room walls and then charging onto the courts when I was allowed. I think those years taught me a lot about commitment and the will to succeed.

Do you think your squash playing days have helped the performance of Haus Of Flox?

Yes I think it’s a mindset thing. I remember when life consisted of training every day (twice a day in fact) and that I lived and breathed the sport. Not only are you physically strong and fit, but your brain is wired to succeed and to not give up…so yeah, I think that those years really set me up mentally.

What is your advice to anyone wanting to follow their passion?

I think passion comes down to purpose. What is your purpose? Why are you here? I’m still trying to figure that out myself. They’re big questions and they’re not easy to answer, but everyone has the ability to access the answers. Passion is so important in life. It’s important in helping us to understand our purpose, and it’s massive in creating a greater sense of fulfilment.

The limited-edition Blunt + Flox Metro umbrellas are now available online in NZ, AU and UK from BLUNT and selected stores including David Jones and Smith & Caughey’s.

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