Our Artists

Anton Pierce

Pablos artist Anton Pierce calls Kilbirnie home. As a child of 12, his family could see he was talented at drawing. During college he was one of the top in his art class and loved spending time there especially because of the positive influence of his art teacher Rob Taylor. He was mostly making acrylic paintings of still life. Following his education he continued making street art as it allowed him to create from his imagination. This led to large paintings on walls of shops. He also enjoyed portraits for the challenge. Anton is inspired by color, especially reds with light greens or the contrast of bright with earth colours. He does not like being limited to one particular style or medium. Currently, Anton is creating designs on fabric patches which allows him to communicate quirky ideas through visual word play. He is also working on mural designs for the streets of Kilbirnie. Anton is influenced by street art artists such as “Curb, Juice, Leaper”. He prefers having some guidelines when creating works for others. He says “I enjoy having a need and being able to answer that need.”

Nick Kirby

Nick Kirby has always called Wellington home. He says he never had a realisation that he was drawn to art yet has loved it his entire life. What inspires Nick constantly changes, growing up he was influenced by monsters, dragons and cartoon animations however as he changes so does his influences and vice versa. Nick, like all true artists, has a need to make art. He says he likes “being able to turn what’s in my head into a thing that’s out in the real world”. His creative process relies heavily on his vivid imagination and his excitement to bring it alive. He also enjoys the freedom of art.

Soren Lane

Featured Pablos artist and volunteer Soren Lane grew up on Wellingtons south coast. From the age of 12 he decided he was going to get good at art and did this by absorbing as much art as possible. Focusing mostly on pencil and paper drawing at first then attending the Learning Connexion at the age of 15. When asked why he enjoys art he replies, “that’s like asking why do you enjoy breathing.” Art is such an integrated part of his life that he can’t imagine not having it, similar to wearing glasses. He enjoys trying new things and his favourite techniques are the ones he doesn’t fully understand yet.

Nick Blackburn

Nick Blackburn grew up in the Eastern Wellington suburbs. He started making art in kindergarten with a focus on painting and drawing. As he had a disability he found school education difficult however could learn through creative mediums. He took part in jazz ballet and acting and was on the stage for two years. He gained inspiration and motivation from his high school art teacher and would draw cars and collect comics. When asked why he creates art he states “it’s something I can give back to someone to help them look at something different. It keeps me alive gives me a sense of what I’m doing as a good thing.” Nick finds Pablo’s is a second home and is inspired by being out in nature, his preferred mediums are ink, dyes, paint and pencils. In this painting entitled “Ghost Ship” he was inspired by the idea of a scary ghost ship yet the work came out very naturally.

Louis Des Forges

Louis is a Wellingtonian and has lived in other places around New Zealand and overseas. He has always enjoyed drawing and completed a portfolio in high school which allowed him to develop his skills. Louis has been attending Pablos for almost 10 years and enjoys the art making process.

In Louis work, he considers colour and light the most as well as all the other decisions involved to communicate his visual ideas. His favourite techniques are painting, etching and sketching. In his recent work he was inspired by photos from a snowboarding trip to Japan. He has developed these photographs into his own paintings and prints. Louis is influenced by the style of film director David Fincher who uses long shots to display a character’s environment and situation. These shots are usually dark and atmospheric. Another influence is the novel “Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami.
Louis works are cold and stark. The horizons are blurred and there are few points of reference. The images of being lost in the woods reflect a sense of disorientation and being “stuck”. The theme of winter and an end of life is present which allows the viewer to appreciate the environment of the landscape.

Soraya Xe

Soraya Xe move to Wellington five years ago. Originally, she is from Whatuwhiwhi in Northland. She is Ngati Kahu and Ngaphui descent and spent most of her life in Auckland. She finds home in all of these places. Soraya realised she had a passion for art when using paint for the first time. She found painting became a tool for visual communication and problem solving. She says, “art became a passion early on, an obsession in my teens, a burden in my twenties, a lifeline in my thirties.” 

She enjoys art for the pure act of concept and creation. “My universe, my conception” she says. She also enjoys the relaxation from crafting. She finds art and craft very different as they have different motivations yet “intermingle and are equally cathartic”. Soraya is a multi-media artist and works with digital collage to up-cycling furniture, sews and crafts yet the thread that connects these mediums together is her painters mind. Her consistent creative technique is automatism which allows her to create work with soul.
When discussing her inspirations she states, ”some of my works discuss a specific subject matter or issue, some are just pop-art. I’ve made political work, I’ve made work about my identity, and I’ve made stuff that’s just pure pleasure; layering things together that I find lush and aesthetically complimentary. My art can be pointless and aimless, at times sarcastic and often fun. Consistent themes in my art are occultism, symbolism and multi-dimensional exploration.” 

Soraya has been an artist at Pablos since 2016 and finds the engagement, connection and critique helps her productivity. Check out Soraya’s website and more of her art here: http://sorayaxe.online/

Alexandria Tasker

Pablos artist and artist representative Alexandria Tasker “Augmented digital artist and Accidental trend setter” grew in Lower Hutt but calls Wellington home. She grew up in a creatively talented family and began her creative journey from the age of 5 by throwing paint around. Throughout high school she focused on drawing as a way to work out how to make her wood and metal creations. She says art is “damn addictive!” and is like scratching an itch. She has studied design and craft and Graphic Design. Her knowledge of digital and mixed media processes have led to interesting conceptual ideas. The computer and aesthetic of technology plays a strong influence in her art. She is also influenced by Buddhist theories and calls her works 21st century mandalas. Her mandala works represent whatever is going on in life. Her yellow and black painting entitled “full circle” covers her last couple of years dealing with a housing crisis. She also describes them as a nexus point where all possibilities come together, the interconnectedness of everything. She also creates steampunk and industrial panel work. Follow her instagram @alexandriatasker

Sam Jenks

Sam Jenks comes from the land of Pōneke. His art practice started at the young age of 8 where he found he could draw quite well. He ended up designing the cover of his school production Noahs Ark and held his own role playing group called Section Rogue. His first paid art project was while he was studying at Design school at Massey and considers that his breakthrough in art. He enjoys making art for the creative state of mind and sensitivity that occurs, he also enjoys seeing what gets created at the end. He enjoys pencil and oil pastels. Sam is also a jazz musician and plays the trumpet and piano everyday. He is also writing a movie script about schizophrenia, jazz, drugs and celebrities called “Last of the Choir Boys”.

Grant Gurney

Grant Gurney grew up in the Hutt Valley and enjoyed the nature around there. He has been interested in art since the age of 5 but really got into it once he started coming to Pablo’s 10 years ago and loves being around creative energy. Grant has a vivid imagination and loves connecting to animals and nature through art. He calls himself an Expressionist and paints as a way to express how he perceives things. He specialises in acrylic painting yet also enjoys pastels and experimenting with different techniques. He gets inspiration from all the different artists at Pablo’s. He finds art uses a way to express emotions and share ideas.

Johanna Grant-Mackie

Johanna G-M is a Wellington-born artist. She started her interested in art when she was very young and is self-taught. She didn’t have good experiences with her art teachers and once leaving school had time to develop her artistic practice. At the moment her interest is using mixed media such as layering inks, pens and acrylic paint. When asked why she enjoys art she states, “It’s pretty much the only thing that makes sense to me. It’s therapeutic and a way to communicate with people without talking or socialising.” Her inspiration is drawn from her cat Gregory, a Tabby, and her curious interest in micro-biology.

Mokena Spooner-Hokianga

Mokena hails from Tairāwhiti (Gisborne). He has always liked art especially after winning a drawing competition in primary school. However he learned the true value of art after being homeless in Melbourne at the age of 21. Following this he went to art school at Toi Houkura and used art as a therapy to help recover from his traumatic experiences. He says “art gives you a voice and allows you to express yourself freely, it helps facilitate difficult conversations as people are more inclined to pay attention”. One of his passions is helping others through his experiences and sees art as a spiritual practice. He uses acrylic painting to express his emotions and lived experiences.


CJ is from Wainuiomata and began his interest in art at the young age of 4 when he started drawing. He enjoys art as he finds it a challenge and helps his focus. His favourite mediums are colouring in, painting, using stencils. He enjoys taking photos of the moon and sunsets and also uses Lego to create. He uses gel pens when colouring in but gets frustrated when they smudge. CJ gets inspiration from seeing other artists work and visits galleries frequently.

Suzy Hobbs

Suzy Hobbs, born and raised in Wellington, an animal rights activist and a vegan enthusiast, realised her passion for art when her mental health took a dive last year. She started to attend Pathways day service in Lower Hutt where one of the Pablos tutors, Francis, held a regular Friday art therapy workshop. She soon came to notice her ultimate love for colour and ever since has been inspired. Pablo’s has become a big part of Suzy’s life as she says that if she was to do art at home not much would get done, whereas Pablo’s is a place for her to get out of the house to a safe and supportive environment not only for her art but for her mental health.