Artist Interview: Anoushka Szybowski

Artist Interview: Anoushka Szybowski

Inspired by the feathered inhabitants of our native forests, Anoushka Szybowski creates strikingly detailed drawings of New Zealand's native birds.    A former art teacher, who mainly started working in pencil to build up her drawing skills, we spoke briefly to Anoushka about mixing nature, art and family...

Streamline Tui by Anoushka Szybowski


What were your first inclinations toward being creative? Was it something that was always a part of you or was there a pivotal moment?

Creativity has always been a part of my life & upbringing.  Being resourceful and making things I didn’t have (e.g. dolls clothes) was always fun as a kid & as I grew older I discovered the art of making was what I love. Making artworks, re-upholstering furniture, having to think creatively to problem solve. 


Can you remember one of the first things you painted? What makes it memorable?

One of my earliest art memories must have been when I was about 3 or 4. I had woken cranky from a nap & my Mama had encouraged me to draw with her. I had angrily done some scribbles on a page & later she gave it back to me where she had carefully coloured in the scribbles creating beautiful patterns. I remember being so impressed and I love how something/anything can be enhanced with patience and care. 


Growing up you spent time in Israel, France and New Zealand. You must have noticed a huge cultural difference spending time in the three places. What influence, if any, do you think this has on your work?

The cultural differences weren’t apparent to me as a child. Of course we had to learn Hebrew but we always managed to play, language never stopped my sister & I from making friends. As an adult I have discovered that our family has its own unique blend of the different cultures. We all deeply respect education and try to be open-minded. Learning new skills is something I try to do often; I have recently been to a very inspiring workshop with Flox and Michael Tuffery. 

Mt Huia by Anoushka Szybowski

Mt Huia


You work mainly in pencil capturing exquisite detail. What drew you towards creating complex images in such an accessible medium?

I have always loved the clean simple lines that a pencil can make. I wasn’t a skilled drawer at art school and it was always something I wished to develop. Once I began teaching I decided to teach my classes the steps from Betty Edwards book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. After doing & teaching the exercises a few times I was amazed at how my drawing abilities had improved. I try to be an observant person and to enjoy the details in objects. Pencil allows details in a simple and immediate way. 


Prior to the birth of your son you juggled your own artwork with being an art teacher. Now you juggle creating with motherhood. How do you manage to set aside time to create?

Creating and especially drawing is part of my life and is fitted in just like doing the dishes. I have always been able to work within the hustle and bustle of daily life.  While working I managed to sneakily finish drawings down the back of the staff room. These days I work furiously during nap times. Drawing for nearly 2 hours a day is a lot when you add it up over long period of time and I am able to be quite productive. I commit to exhibitions and Art Shows all around the country and find working towards something very motivating. 

Night Owl #5 by Anoushka Szybowski

Night Owl #5 

What does art mean to you? Is it therapeutic? An outlet? A compulsion? A hobby? A career?

All of the above! I really enjoy the deep absorption that comes with making artworks a bit like a meditation so I guess that’s the therapeutic side. And I can feel my frustration levels rise when I am not making works so there is definitely a compulsion aspect to making works. As a career I have chosen to be an Art Teacher so that I can share my passion for art with young people, as well as be surrounded by all the art materials and inspiring artists. 


Anoushka's exhibition 'Flock' opens Saturday 3 September.

Discover Anoushka's work here...

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in News

Fragile Lands
Fragile Lands

‘There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer’. – Calvin Coolidge 1924

Read More

Absence & Desire
Absence & Desire

Read More

An Interview with Rochelle Marshall...
An Interview with Rochelle Marshall...

Combining multiple elements and mediums, Rochelle Marshall’s work has evolved from simple photography to images that combine elements of costume design, self-portrait, photography and digital painting

Read More

Delivery (NZ & INTL), Returns & Gift Wrapping

Shipping: We know a lot of big companies offer free shipping store wide but we believe every order should be packed as environmentally friendly as possible and as safe as possible. Unfortunately, this comes with a cost. We have tried our best to come up with a solution that is fair to you, our artists and the planet.

Within New Zealand all items over $150 are couriered free of charge. Orders under $150 incur a $7.50 courier charge. We aim to send out orders received the same day (within business hours) for delivery within 2-3 days of your order.

Orders can be collected in store. 

We are happy to send items worldwide, simply email us the product you are interested in (using the share button below the product) and we will give you a quote within 24 hours - we prefer to do this over calculating the postage at the checkout as it ensures you get the most accurate price. 

Unframed Prints: All unframed prints are sent flat, sandwiched between a backing board and heavy card. All prints are sent wrapped.

Damaged Items: If your item(s) arrive damaged or there is a mistake with your order please contact us immediately at 06 2786909 or email us at

Returns: If you are unhappy with your purchase or gift, return it within 14 days, undamaged and in its original condition, for an exchange or store credit. Unfortunately, we cannot accept returns on sale items or earrings. Shipping is non-refundable.

Gift Wrapping: Save time by making use of our free gift wrapping service. At the checkout select the gift wrapping option, if you would like a handwritten note included just add your message in the comment section. You can choose whether the item is sent to you or to the recipient by adding their address in the shipping section.


Escape reality for a moment by browsing our gallery.

You are welcome to place orders to help support our gallery and artists. Orders will be sent as soon as possible and gift cards will be emailed through on payment.

Take care and support one another.