Minnesota to Aukland New Zealand
Name: Mickey Smith
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Why did you leave Minnesota?
I left Minnesota for New Zealand, via New York. My husband is a Kiwi. We spent nearly a decade together in Minnesota, knowing we would eventually end up in New Zealand. Aaron wanted to experience New York before leaving the US, and living in New York again was a chance to further my art career.
Tell me about your new city of residence?
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, population of the entire country is 4.4 million. Auckland is a port town (as a Duluth native, the familiarity is a comfort) and has a forward thinking, international feel. In contrast, we live in walking distance of three beaches, two volcanos, and an amazing fish-n-chips shop. New Zealand artists tend to exhibit throughout the southern hemisphere, which is exciting. It was hard to find my place in the New York art world - the sheer size can be overwhelming - so I'm looking forward becoming part of a smaller art community and finding a bigger studio.
How has your art changed since moving from Minnesota?
I was looking for gallery representation when I left Minneapolis and ended up being the first artist to have a solo show at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in 2008. The directors were interested in my installations at the time, and continue to encourage me to explore that side of my work. The push has given me the confidence to work outside of the medium. When I left Minnesota I considered myself a photographer, not an artist. I might have considered myself an "artist" earlier, but I can't draw for shit. Our two-year old regularly takes crayons out of my hands and gives them to his dad.
If you come back to Minnesota for one weekend and you need to see your old favorite places, where would you go to see art?
It was sad to see the Minnesota Center for Photography close, a real loss for photography locally and regionally. I would head to the Walker and Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, with a stop off at The Black Forest to visit the Avedon at the bar.
Who are some of your favorite artists still living in Minnesota?
Minnesota has a posse of great photographers I love, but for a few decades now Paul Shambroom has been a huge inspiration. Everything Alexa Horochowski makes is magic. I hope to become as prolific one day.
If you could transplant one aspect of the Minnesota arts community home with you, what would it be?
A tossup between the photographers and the individual artist funding.