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The Flox effect: combining nature, family and design

Aerosol and stencil artist Flox aka Hayley King is best known for her murals of native birds, ferns and flowers. Here she answers questions about inspiration, illustration and career highlights. 

Hayley King aka Flox's hand cut stencil work is highly sought after and collectable and has even adorned a limited-edition Blunt umbrella to raise funds for Oxfam NZ.

Flox's vibrant murals brighten up many outdoor public spaces in Auckland city as well as interiors including Huami restaurant and L’Oreal Training Academy. 

If you had to describe your style of work to a stranger without showing them your work, how would you describe it?

I create vibrant depictions of the natural world using spray paint and my trademark stencils of native birds, ferns and flowers.

What inspires you most in your work?

I had the pleasure of growing up in the Far North surrounded by beautiful beaches and have really fond memories of being involved with lots of outdoor activities and camping. It wasn’t until a few years down the track that I realised that my upbringing had a really big influence on who I am today and the artwork I produce.

Life is good by Hayley King/Flox

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I think I was about 2 and a half!

For Good magazine’s 10th birthday issue you created an illustration to the brief ‘life is good’. Can you explain more about this particular illustration and how that informed this work?

“Life is good” when I create a work/life balance. I love what I do, but I also love spending time with my tamariki. This artwork features the face of my eldest boy Bo, surrounded by kingfishers. These busy little birds represent my 4-year-old, Indiana (his middle name is Kotare - the Maori word for Kingfisher). I also love stencilling and the pathway that I’ve carved as an artist. Life is doubly good because I do what I love, and I’m surrounded by my family’s love and support.

What was your first memorable artistic memory?

I remember I used to use my Gran’s typewriter to create little kids books. I would make up stories and illustrate them and staple them together. I used to make cards too.

Can you share one of your career highlights to date?

What I’m becoming more and more proud of are my outdoor murals both locally, in Aotearoa and overseas. As an artist, this fulfils my creative side, along with my need to travel and be inspired by other cultures and locations. It’s a cyclic experience that fuels my art practice.

What is your happy place?

Hanging with the whānau.

Photo by Sacha Stejko

What medium do you mostly/prefer to work with, and why?

Spray paint and stencils. I had graduated from Art School, was in my studio in Parnell and there were a few spray cans lying around. I thought “that looks cool! I’ll have a go at that.” And I’ve just never looked back. I just love the medium so much.

What do you hope people get from your work?

My work is a celebration of Aotearoa’s environmental taonga; people see that and get a lot of joy from it.

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