From her studio in Christchurch, New Zealand, Nina Cook creates technically exquisite artworks inspired by the people, birdlife, land and sky of Aotearoa (NZ).

Her curiosity and broad psychological and socio-political interests often lead her to communicate intense and psychologically complicated views of her subjects. Nina’s skill at accurately capturing her subject’s true spirit and her high degree of technical accomplishment have been recognized and demand for portrait commissions is growing following exhibitions in commercial galleries.


My work is often about identity, both personal and cultural, and influenced by environmental, sociological and spiritual issues.

I see beauty everywhere, including places many people prefer not to look. I see ugly everywhere – including the places many people look to for beauty. In order to make my work accessible, I aspire to balance the figurative and the emotional. Whilst I believe generalisation is both lazy and dangerous to the individual, the force of popular culture and the fantastic visual signposts it provides, feature often in my work. I am fascinated by, and slightly suspicious of, the processes through which people filter sensory information in order to gain emotional understanding. To this end I try to create images and objects that cause people to expand and/or re-think their world view. My awe and love of nature is artistic, scientific and spiritual. My work celebrates the fact that our understanding of nature is so tiny – from particles and molecules to the universe and beyond – that we are so small, so passionate… so full of potential.


Born in Whakatane in 1967, Nina spent a transient childhood gaining an education from multiple schools throughout the central North Island. In adulthood she attended Christchurch Polytechnic School of Art and Design earning a Bachelor of Design.
Until gaining her degree, Nina was largely self-taught, mastering media and technique through books, experimentation and intense practice. This drive for learning, experimentation and mastery shapes Nina’s practice as does her profound desire to communicate authentically through her work.
After graduating, she was employed to teach drawing at the Christchurch Polytechnic School of Art and Design and taught both there (figure and general drawing) and at Natcoll Design Technology (drawing, art history and design history) for three years. Nina has worked part-time as a Graphic Designer for 15 years and teaches drawing classes at the Christchurch WEA to this day.
In 2007 Nina established a studio in central Christchurch later moving to her current studio in Westmorland, Christchurch. 

Nina’s work is held in private collections in New Zealand and overseas.

  • Solo exhibition, Under the Red Veranda, 2007
  • Solo exhibition, Cultured Gallery, 2007
  • Solo exhibition, COCA (Centre of Contemporary Arts), 2008
  • Solo exhibition, Little River Gallery, 2010
  • Solo exhibition, Little River Gallery, 2011
  • Solo exhibition, Little River Gallery, 2012
  • Joint exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2012
  • Solo exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2014
  • Solo exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2016
  • Solo exhibition, Little River Gallery, 2015
  • Group exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2017
  • Group exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2018
  • Group exhibition, Kereru Gallery, 2019