Q&A: Flox AKA Hayley King

Flox, AKA Hayley King is one of New Zealand’s coolest contemporary artists and we’re seeing her distinctive spraycan handywork all over the place, from street art to super-trendy stationery. She’s just teamed up with BLUNT umbrellas for their third collaboration on an umbrella that’s practical and looks amazeballs.

Do you have a favourite New Zealand bird? You know what? I’m all about the Kākāriki parrots right now.

Tell us about the birds and plants on your new BLUNT umbrella design. The New Zealand Kākāriki and native botanicals feature alongside native Australian flora and the Crimson Parakeet and Ringneck Parrot. I wanted to incorporate the brightest birds and foliage for the highest impact on a grey winter’s day, but also pay homage to our-long standing trans-Tasman relationship.

You don’t seem like someone who collaborates willy-nilly. What drew you to BLUNT? Not only do BLUNT have super high standards with their products, but they’re a really trusted New Zealand brand, and are seen as the leaders in the game. Who wouldn’t want to collaborate with that! They ticked all the right boxes for me.

We’ve seen your art on umbrellas, walls, sitting on people’s desks and just about everywhere else – is that a weird feeling? Ha, yes it can be a bit weird, but the overwhelming feelings of gratitude far outweigh the weird vibes.

How has your distinctive palette evolved over the years? I consider myself to be a bit of a colourist. I work with spray paint predominantly and I’ve used the same brand for many years now, allowing for a really innate understanding of the tones available and what looks good with what. Sometimes I work to specific briefs in terms of colour, but in terms of my collections, I like to research current interior trends and let this inform some of my colour choices.

Flox-(3)

How colourful is the inside of your home? The base of the home is modern with white walls, accented with lush green indoor plants and wooden floors, which is perfect for me as I can decorate and accent with pops of colour through decor and artwork. I’m actually working my way through the house one bedroom at a time, painting the interior. I’ve just painted my room and my little boy’s room a deep sea blue, which I’m completely in love with.

How does your creative process happen? Do you sketch concepts on paper before getting the cans out? I use Pinterest as a starting point, often creating boards that encompass colour way, style, concept and resources. Then I use my iPad Pro to redraw the elements into stencil form. Everything is then put into Photoshop where I build the compositions. Up until very recently I used to hand-cut every individual element, but now with the iPad the cutting is at a bare minimum.

Do you have a day job, or is it all about Flox for you? The only other job I have, and love, is being a mum.

What’s happening on the Kiwi art scene this year? It’s tricky to know what’s going ahead due to the current climate, but it’s looking likely that the street art festivals that I know about will go ahead. Galleries are still pushing forward with exhibitions and there’s a mountain of stuff on for Aucklanders during Art Week this year.

What’s on the cards for you in the next few months? I have some large-scale murals both in Auckland and down in the South Island along with some much anticipated Flox products landing on our shores. I’m also developing a new Flox DIY range and am really excited about being involved in some up-and-coming retreats and workshops. All the international stuff has obviously been put on hold, but I’m kind of liking not bumbling though airports right now!

Who’s your favourite artist right now? Okay, okay great, love this question. I am totally stalking an old friend of mine, Jonathan Brown who’s now based in the Hawkes Bay. You must check out his latest collection, seriously cool work.

What’s your favourite street art in New Zealand?  Oh without a doubt, Rone’s work on Worcester Street in Christchurch always mesmerises.

Who else would you like to collaborate with?  Air New Zealand, I’d love to wrap a plane. We did it with a train, so we can do it with a plane!

You’ve done some stunning public artwork in Christchurch. How does the city speak to you? I have such a soft spot for Christchurch. I’ve spent a lot of time down there the last few years and the people really resonate with me. There is so much talent and entrepreneurship in Christchurch and they’ve obviously been through a lot, but at the same time so much humility – it’s a really beautiful synergy and I love them for it.

Do you have a favourite spot around New Zealand? My Dad and Stepmum live right on the beach up in Ahipara. It’s super humble but it’s my home away from home and the kids absolutely love it. When I can, I make sure I get up there and go off grid.

flox.co.nz