Kirsten Baldwin Biography

Marie AntoinetteBorn in Suva, Fiji, in 1956, I have spent the majority of my life in Dunedin. I studied at the Otago Polytechnic School of Fine and Applied Arts 1974 – 76, majoring in painting in my final year. In 1981 I undertook a year’s study of Fine Art Conservation with Charles Lloyd (Fine Art Investment and Conservation).

Working as an interior designer, I established my own consultancy in 1990, followed with the opening of a retail showroom, Kirsten’s Design and Furnishings, in 1992. I ran this business until 2008. My years of work as an interior designer has had a profound influence on the development of my paintings which reflect my love of pattern, colour, shapes and detail. I greatly admire Trish Guild who is renowned for the extraordinary combination of colour and pattern in her Designers Guild furnishing collections. I also have a long standing love affair with the creations of Erte, the Art Deco designer and painter. Such brilliant and gorgeous flights of fantasy!

Travel has also been a great influence on my work providing the inspiration for two of my three solo Dunedin exhibitions, ‘Sari Grace’ and ‘Pieces Of India’. Spending a year cycling overseas in 2012 has also heightened my awareness and appreciation of the natural beauty of New Zealand and since moving to Nelson in 2013, I am increasingly introducing our own flora and fauna into my work. This can be seen in ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Yoko Ono’ and ‘Frida Kahlo’ where I explore the idea of placing women of renown out of context in New Zealand settings where they interact with our own unique wildlife. My later works have been described as original, whimsical and surrealistic.