“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.

ANNA JACKSON:

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.

It’s in the market now because we’ve kind of outgrown it, just in terms of size and progression. It is about 100m². Children come to another stage.

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Ceramic artist Virginia Leonard crafts these urns for the ashes of her friends' dogs.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Ceramic artist Virginia Leonard crafts these urns for the ashes of her friends’ dogs. “One day my ashes will be able to go in there,” Jackson said. “I’m doing my family a favor by fixing this.”

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.

The wall rug on the right, by Claudia Kogachi, is a Jackson favorite.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

The wall rug on the right, by Claudia Kogachi, is a Jackson favorite.

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 Kraus loves his Legos: This scene depicts Jerry Seinfeld's apartment in the 90s sitcom Seinfeld.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Tobias Kraus loves his Legos: This scene depicts Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment in the 90s sitcom Seinfeld.

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.

The water jug ​​on a shelf in the living room was purchased on Jackson and Kraus' honeymoon in a village in Portugal.

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

The water jug ​​on a shelf in the living room was purchased on Jackson and Kraus’ honeymoon in a village in Portugal.

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.

Jackson says his daughter Frankie is a

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

Jackson says his daughter Frankie is a “big-headed Potter.” She says the room isn’t normally tidy, “just for open houses.”

I work full time Monday through Friday, and Tobias studies and busses. Most of his studies are remote. 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.

The not-quite-circular artwork is a piece by Max Gimblett, a

RICKY WILSON/STUFF

The not-quite-circular artwork is a piece by Max Gimblett, an “enso,” which is a Zen circle of enlightenment. “The idea is a Buddhist calming meditative thing. It’s in our bedroom and I find it calming, peaceful,” Jackson says.

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.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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