For Judy Cockeram, art is something an artist simply has to do.
    Trained as an architect before lecturing at her alma mater, the University of Auckland, for 20 years, she brings an academic sensibility to her work.
    ‘‘What, for me, leads a lot of my arts practice is that research-led idea, where doing the work is that way of working something out,’’ she said.
    Her work encompasses ceramics, fabric art and most of all, drawing, which she has always done.
    ‘‘The simplest pigeonhole is that I draw. I draw threads, I draw lines, I draw all sorts of things.’’
    Many of her drawings can be viewed from different angles and on closer view one sees different aspects and even subjects than at first sight.
    That sense of looking beyond first view was also apparent in her conversation, as she riffed on the theory of faciality, the difference between looking and seeing and how we first interpret faces as children.
    She said art was ‘‘a really basic part of the human mind and psyche’’ and she did not think people fully understood how art operated in culture.
    She found art all-consuming and was quite happy with that.
    She was also fascinated by the idea of personal practice — ‘‘it doesn’t have to be public practice or a commodity’’.
    In contrast, she was thrilled to be part of the Indigo group, an informal collaboration of eight Central Otago artists who curated and mounted group exhibitions of their work.
    ‘‘They have enabled me to engage in that discussion of art practice
— doing art and putting it in front of people.
    ‘‘It’s work that I find worthwhile trying to work on and understand.’’