“I have to buy a bigger house for my art” – Anna Jackson, Gallery Director
Anna Jackson, director of the Auckland Gow Langsford Gallery, has worked at the gallery for almost 15 years and says acquiring many works of art for her own home is a professional hazard. She lives in New Lynn with her husband and two children.
We live in New Lynn, just across the border from Titirangi; This is me, my husband, Tobias Kraus, and our daughter Frankie, age 9, and son Cohen, age five.
It is two and a half bedrooms, but the backyard is huge, 800 square meters.
This is on the market now because we kind of outgrew it, just in terms of size and progression. It is about 100m². Children come to another stage.
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We hope to stay in the neighborhood, near the beaches and all, but not in the bush – it’s idyllic in the west in many ways but damp and wet. The locals wouldn’t tell you.
Philosophically, we like the idea of living in a tiny house. Pragmatically, something bigger would be just as well.
We found somewhere around the corner, four rooms, a big section too, literally a mile away. A few balls have yet to land.
Having so much art is a bit of an occupational hazard. It’s almost all New Zealand art. The collection has grown in 15 years, certainly with more intensity in recent years. It seems a little harder to say no.
I have favorites at different times. One of them is the living room wall rug, called The Landscaper, by young artist Claudia Kogachi. It reminds me of my mom. She is a little gardener but more than she is in textiles.
Tobias is a commercial photographer, retraining to become a psychologist, so he’s a creative person.
I was doing my OE in Berlin when we met around 2003. We moved here in 2007 or 2008.
Normally, we go to see his family every year, and that’s fine, but it’s been a bit over the top for the past two years. We just spent a month with them now.
We would love to live there at some point, but I’m not sure that will happen in terms of real pragmatic living.
Hopefully the children will be able to go to university there if they wish. We all speak German at home. I speak mostly English, but Toby speaks German and we respond in English.
I did some German at school but when I got to Berlin I could say “I’m 13 and I like Ace of Base” which didn’t help.
Berlin was not then like today where you could speak English and get by. I stayed there for two years, working in an Irish pub and for a stockbroker. In terms of language, I made it up as I went along, a lot of googling.
I work full time Monday through Friday, and Tobias studies and busses. Most of his studies are distance learning. He just has to pass exams. This saves a lot of traffic time.
My role is quite varied. We have a show that changes every month. My role is primarily to liaise with artists, do long-term planning and manage additional events, such as the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (September 8-11).
It’s been a pretty busy week. We install it, present it and sell the work of New Zealand artists. The main reason we go there is audience building. The art world has really missed this centralized point where galleries come together. We are really competitors, but we are good to each other.
The advantage of living here in Auckland is being close to my family. I have two sisters with children, and then my parents are there too.
We like the lifestyle here, compared to living in Europe. It’s really relaxed.
Wherever we live, it will be full of art. A lot of people think we have way too much art. But I don’t understand people who live with bare walls.
I actually have a stash of stuff at work that we can’t hang up because it doesn’t fit, so in the new house, I’ll be able to get it out.