She may only be 16-years-old but already Georgia Merry has lived a lot of life.
Now, she has bared some of that on the walls at Refinery Artspace as part of her first ever exhibition.
“It’s really exciting and people have been really supportive, but I find it hard to take compliments,” she says. “I don’t know what to say.”
Georgia started drawing as a seven-year-old growing up in a creative household.
Her mother was a music teacher and her father, Kim Merry, was the founder of the Nelson Masked Parade.
“It does help having that sort of support.”
Georgia began her artistic journey by drawing characters she and her friend would dream up.
They would create entire back stories to them and, before long, Georgia was documenting the people she saw all around her. Wherever she went, she would take note of characters that passed her by.
“I like bodies and mutations and people. I don’t like symmetry. I like them all to be sort of the same but quite different.”
Georgia dropped out of school last year but has been doing an art course through The Learning Connection, based in Lower Hutt.
Georgia says that having a regimented life like secondary school wasn’t really for her.
“School also really wasn’t that fun,” she says. “I was in a popular crowd but I was just bullied the whole way through, but I didn’t really recognise it until I left.”
“I’m still friends with a few people but a lot of it was really negative.”
But six months ago, family friend Maria Anderson spotted Georgia’s workbook and thought there was the makings of a promising artist.
“I could see work and themes that were accessible, ideas that made me laugh and moved me,” Maria says. “Energy swirling in long figures and gangly legs of figures keen to be revealed.
“Within these pages I could see subject matter that our youth of today are grappling with.”
There are 65 prints and original works – many of which have already been sold.
“That’s great to see.”
Georgia says she would love to make a living out of her art and is working hard to make that dream a reality.
She calls herself a cartoonist and is wanting to build a portfolio of t-shirt designs, but is looking for a supplier that offers sustainable, affordable products.
She is inspired by Salvador Dali and sees her art as her little niche.
“Everyone has a niche this is just what I do,” she says.
Georgia’s exhibition is on at the Refinery Artspace on Halifax St until Saturday with all the works available for sale.