Interview with Paris Kirby

Interview by Yasmine Ganley

With luxurious sleepwear, delicate lingerie and Lucy and the Powder Room ready to pamper your skin and body’s every need, The Dressing Room at The Department Store is every girl’s wonderland.

Young, local artist, Paris Kirby, has been gracing the entrance of The Dressing Room with her artistic eye and visionary ideas. Working with Miss Crabb and Alas, Paris has created some beautiful installations to launch, celebrate, and bring to life the ethos of these brands. We chat to the up-and-coming artist about her work, Flagship studio, and Penelope the pug.


The News: How do you describe what you do?

Paris Kirby: I do alot all the time. I’m a do-er. I aim to translate what I do into a positive experience for others.

The News: What is it about colour and texture that you are drawn to?

Paris Kirby: They are a second language to me, and can be used as a communicative tool for a visual approach to understanding.

The News: Tell us about your study/practice?

Paris Kirby: In my world there doesn’t seem to be much distinction between work and life.
My practice currently sits somewhere between art, instagram (@pariskirby), event organizing, and creative service providing.

The News: What have been some projects that you have been involved in that have really stood out for you as an artist?

Paris Kirby: The time I got to do textile prints for a men’s wear label in East London called “Theatre de la Mode.” Working with Cleo Barnett on her art-based events and anything that I’ve done at Flagship with my fellow collaborators.

The News: Tell us about Flagship, the space in which you live and work. Does this space affect your ideas and working styles/ethic/production?

Paris Kirby: Flagship is a collective of myself, Thistle Brown, Tommy Stayton, Sophie Blazey, Lili Sumner, Joel Flyger, Jackson Roy, Glen Prentice and some of our close friends. We are such a diverse range of people with different interests. Having such a large space to work extends the possibilities for any project. I always ask the others for advice on my thinking and I always value their opinions.

The News: When working on such different projects like you do, what is your objective with each project? What is always important for you to get across? And how do you achieve this?

Paris Kirby: Work ethic! I’d say it’s a combination of being super organized and having the ability to communicate. My point of view varies from project to project. It is constantly evolving and usually is a reflection of what I’m most interested in at the time.

The News: We have loved having you come in to The Department Store and style windows and walls, and create installations for our brands. Tell us about the process of putting these different installations together?

Paris Kirby: I get really excited about merging art and fashion. I usually start with the formal qualities of materiality and composition, and treat each display like a spatial assemblage. It’s important for the display to reflect the brand’s ethos and the aesthetic of The Department Store.

The News: How is it working for a range of brands? How do you take on board their different needs and aesthetics? How do you balance getting your vision across inside of an already solid direction from the brands themselves?

Paris Kirby: I absolutely love working for other brands. Its always a learning experience for me as everyone I work for has such diverse wants, needs and values. The ability to compromise is key for this kind of work. Sometimes I am the creator of someone else’s vision, but on other occasions I have full creative control. I enjoy the process either way.

The News: Whose work locally do you admire, and why?

Paris Kirby: Cleo Barnett’s art events, Bryn Roberts on her publication, Thistle Brown textiles, and Bruce Phillips’s curation at Te Tuhi gallery. These people are forward thinking and at the cutting edge within their respected fields.

The News: Who or what inspires you, and why?

Paris Kirby: I have an affinity with art, travel, music (mostly electronic), my friends and family. It’s my natural instinct to be inspired when in the presence of any of these.

The News: What is your favorite thing about living in Auckland?

Paris Kirby: I’m currently enjoying the connectedness of the Auckland creative communities- although this can sometimes be limiting. I love how safe I feel walking down the street, and how I can park my car outside the place I’m going into.

The News: Where would we find you in the weekends?

Paris Kirby: Either at my home/studio Flagship, Avondale markets, or taking Penelope the pug for walks with my flatmates.

The News: What music are you listening to at the moment?

Paris Kirby: Anything on the Chronophonium line up. Popstrangers, Watercolours, Boy Crush, Rackets, Ghost Wave etc.

The News: What else is coming up for you that you are excited about this year?

Paris Kirby: I’m excited to be finishing my final year of a fine arts degree.


Come in a visit The Dressing Room on level one of The Department Store. You will find brands such as Miss Crabb, Lonely, Penny Sage, Alas, Otsu and many more! Call us on (09) 488 0585.

Paris Kirby wear Stolen Girlfriends Club knit sweater. Stolen Girlfriends Club is available at Black Box Boutique, (09) 489 5629.

Photo credit above: Imogen Wilson. Photos below are from Lucy and the Powder Room’s instagram page.

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