By Pauline Stewart
When The Informer visited 17 Monk Street, there were people viewing and others buying and some were checking on packaging for sending overseas. Monique Rush is in the early days of opening her Art Gallery but she is no stranger to art. “ I have done art my whole life. I know little else. I am a gardener though,” she smiles. I guess you could say it is related closely to my art. Nature is certainly in my paintings.” The gallery has pieces from many local artists but the range and variety of Monique’s own very fine artistic expressions are a feature of her gallery.
“I had been thinking about the Gallery since Mosaic closed. People loved Mosaic and the aspect of local artists having their works on display. I actually worked part time for Mosaic and loved it. Doing something similar was on my mind, not the same but in the same direction. I was looking for a nice space with the right lighting,” says Monique. “So I waited for two cyclones and several deluges to open a Gallery in Whitianga,” she laughs.
We asked Monique about her decision to come to Whitianga.
“We have been here a little over seven years. We really just got sick of the traffic and there is more to life than Auckland. We have always loved the Coromandel area and it was an easy decision. Whitianga ticked all the boxes - bush, beach and a really good community. We were literally here for two weeks and it felt like we had been here for years. When I was in the Waitakeres, I worked at different places I did a lot of kiwiana. When we moved to Whitianga, I decided I wanted to be a fulltime artist. Our boys were older and though I worked part time, I became a fulltime artist. Everything here is an inspiration.”
It wasn’t all straight forward for Monique, regarding her art. “ I got my artwork into a particular gallery straight away. About three weeks later, we actually moved here and I went along to check to see how interest in my art was going. There was not one piece of my art on the wall and the person said, “ It’s not quite up to standard.” I didn’t take it personally, but I did take it seriously. I said to myself, thank you for your opinion and go try Mosaic down the road. I got the complete opposite reception from Morag Yates and my work just started to sell. I sold many works from Morag’s shop/gallery.
Her philosophy: Monique’s view is that you can’t please everyone all of the time and that’s fine by her. “I like what I do, “says Monique. ‘If other people like it, that’s a bonus. That person’s words did stay with me, but in a very positive way. I decided, I was going to make it up to the very best standard. I got better and better. The opinion of one gallery is not how every gallery thinks. You cannot take it personally you cannot expect everyone to like your work.”
Monique explains a little of her approach to art. “I have three streams of artistic expression - the abstract, kiwiana and photo realism (from a photo). Because I do a lot of commissions, it expands my abilities in painting different subjects. I love painting scenes of nature and wild life. Recently, I have finished a triptych for a couple who live on the waterways. They were wanting something to highlight memories of their travels. One part was of Cappadocia, the second of Machu Pichu and the third was a compilation of their South African experience. Each piece were painted from many photos they provided. The triptych was a compilation of their photos onto a scene.”
I believe word of mouth, selling online and having a gallery is just a great opportunity to share my art and other’s art. Monique has been exhibiting in the Art Escape for years and that has helped her art and getting to know other artists. Monique explains that to be around like minded people and some who view life the same as me, really helps.
Facebook: Monique Rush-Whitianga Art Gallery
Caption: Monique Rush loves hosting and managing her gallery.