KImbra at work.jpg

kimbra taylor

Story by Tony Cutting

The early years
Kimbra is originally from Auckland.  Born on the North Shore her mum 'Bobbie' (nee Daniels) was a casual artist. and dad 'Brian' a teacher, writer and sculpture so art was certainly in her blood.

Kimbra was one of six children, her siblings Erin, Rachel, Gerad, Briar and Alice.  They attended Campbells Bay primary school, Kimbra describes the school as located in an idyllic setting looking out over the sea to Rangitoto Island.
Art was already playing a big part in Kimbra’s life along with her memory of this time including “Drawing a high heeled, crimson shoe that I fell in love with.”  She also recalls “Winning the trolley grand prix in a trolley made by my father, being pushed by the fastest girl in the school, my best friend, Bronwyn Thompson. She had a cockatoo that used to swear. I won the obstacle race too.”

Secondary School
Kimbra attended Wanganui Girls College.

She describes her time there as having a very good academic record. She enjoyed her latter years more than the first three.  “I was dogged by being appalling at Maths”, “I did excel at art which made up for it!”

Kimbra spent three years in the beginners swimming group because she couldn’t swim a length of the pool.  “They finally gave up on me, as did my maths teachers.” “I was a good gymnast!” 

When asked about sports teams. Kimbra replied “Very poor at team sports. They had a dreadful system where two selected leaders would choose their teams. I was consistently last chosen because I was small and didn’t have the strength to lift the baseball bat, let alone swing it.”

“Fortunately, my more academic friends were chosen last as well so though it was humiliating I did have support. I played violin in the orchestra and sang in the choir. My friends used to want to sit next to me because I could sight read music by some bizarre miracle.”

Major Achievements at College
When asked about her major achievements at college, Kimbra replies proudly “Winning the Art prize every year and coming first in German in the 6th form. Being selected in my 7th form year to attend the BNZ art workshop, where 15 students were chosen from NZ to stay in Wellington and be taught by practising artists. Brian Carmody was one of them.”

“One of my paintings was chosen to go in the advertising brochure for the following year.”

“I also won a secondary schools art award in Wanganui that same year. Before learning the violin, I learned the trumpet because my older sister had learned the French horn. I couldn’t play it and one day after trying, I saw a marble on my bed and dropped it into the trumpet. It wouldn’t come out and we eventually had to take it to a garage who blew it out along with all the trumpet’s valves. I never played it again.”

Tertiary Study
Kimbra spent one year at Art School in Canterbury.

 “I didn’t work, too many interesting boys around and so failed the sculpture/photography components.”

“You had to pass everything to get through. I was on a studentship and so decided to go to training college, which I didn’t enjoy but am glad I went.”  

She then taught at primary schools in Wanganui for three years then did the Visual Communications Diploma at the Wellington School of Design. (Now Massey University) “I worked very hard and won an award for being in the top three students. $100!!”

Working Life
Kimbra worked at the Evening Post as an illustrator, where she did weekly caricatures of businessmen in the city to illustrate articles written by a journalist there.

“Many of the business men bought their caricatures.”
She worked at Ingles Wright advertising agency as an illustrator and was offered a job as an art director but left to go freelancing.  “I became an illustrator for a publishing firm. I illustrated many children’s books.”
 “I did the fashion drawings and ad design for Carter’s fashion store and worked for the listener and various advertising agencies as an illustrator and storyboard visualiser, It was fun, challenging and at times stressful because I had to be at peak performance all the time with very short deadlines.”
“I look back on it with satisfaction. I stopped to raise my two sons and became a full-time mum.”

Currently Kimbra is a Freelance teacher and artist. She run’s private classes for adults teaching them to draw and paint from scratch. She also paints, exhibit’s and sells her wonderful works. 

I asked Kimbra what she does outside of work?
“Gi Gong - an ancient Chinese movement and meditation form for health and spirit. I play bongo drums to accompany my husband who plays guitar and sings. We host the Kapiti Live Music club at our house - sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, I sing.”

Her Achievements to date include

  • Winning the Gordon Harris best painting award in 2009. 
  • Becoming a finalist in the 2010 Adam Award and having my painting tour the country. 
  • Being a finalist in the 2014 Parkin Award and winning a merit award at the Mahara gallery. 
  • Doing a demo at the 2016 Watercolour society’s 2016 exhibition - Splash. 
  • Getting a merit award in the NZ WEA best teacher awards.

When asked about what the future has in store Kimbra replies

“More of doing what I love and sharing it. I would like to take my learnings round mindfulness and creativity into the business world.” “I feel very privileged to be doing what I love and having the opportunity to connect and share it with more people. It is the result of hours and hours of work, at times doubting myself, experiencing rejections and failures, making many mistakes but above all, never giving up!”

There is a great lesson for everyone in Kimbra’s summary statement, I hope you enjoyed her story as much as I did.

For more information on Kimbra’s business and work please visit