About Brooke McIvor

Brooke McIvor is a New Zealand artist who predominately specialises in detailed oil painting.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam Auckland University in 2010; in her final year she was awarded a Senior Art Prize as well as  the Main Art Prize for her paintings.

In 2014 Brooke studied in Florence, Italy at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci; where she studied Ancient Painting Techniques and nude drawing.

“It took artist Brooke McIvor three months of fulltime painting to complete Culture Vulture – and much of that time was taken up detailing eight strings of pearls.

Such are the intricacies of her work, which are on display in her first solo show, Bones to the Bonfire, at Thistle Hall.

The 25-year-old says she loves creating intricate detailing. “I use really fine brush strokes for details like hair, fur and feathers. Fine detail is what speaks to me.”

She has referenced her family’s hunting traditions in her work, which juxtaposes hunting trophies like the heads of deer, goat and mallard with elegant portraits of women.

“In a historical context my ancestors would have been hunting in England and Scotland and in a contemporary context my family is still hunting. My brothers are big hunters so it’s a family tradition and has been going on a really long time.

“So I started painting these women who, in a sense, are me and decorating them with animal head-dresses.”

McIvor is originally from Auckland and studied at Elam School of Fine Arts for four years. She moved to Wellington about a year ago and set up a studio in the living room of her Mt Cook flat.

Portraits of women are the focus of her work, and she often gets friends to sit for her.

She will take a photograph of the subject, often with a teddy bear as a stand-in for an animal, before PhotoShopping how she wants the image to look.

She will then take to the easel and spend days painstakingly painting intricate fur, feathers and fabric to complete her work.

“I like how people adorn themselves. I’m fascinated with how people decorate themselves and I find people beautiful.”