Life is all about collaboration. At SUKU, we are all about finding balance and inspiration through the connections shared with those we love. Artists Ophelia Mikkelson and Ryder Jones are partners in life and art, and their work is a homage to the beauty of creative and conscious collaboration. Drawing inspiration from the landscapes of both the home and of nature, they approach everything they do with tenderness and authenticity. We loved chatting with Ophelia and Ryder about how they share their lives, their inspirations and dreams, and their creative pursuits.
Beach or forest?
Ryder: Beach, definitely.
Ophelia: The beach— we have arranged our whole lives around the ocean. It is important for us both to be near and in it, as much as possible.
Early mornings, or late nights?
O: Early mornings— we love to watch the sunrise and I love to be in bed by 9pm.
R: I like early mornings, when the sun is rising. Good clouds, and if there are none, we watch for the green ray.
What’s your ultimate breakfast in bed?
O: Toast, please! There is already sand in the bed, there may as well be crumbs too!
R: A cup of tea, looking out the window.
How would you describe what your partner’s practice?
O: His work, to me, is electric. It is both refined and playful. Ryder has such a strong dedication to his practice that I have long admired. The thoughtfulness behind each work he makes and the stories they hold are deeply considered and indelible.
R: Effortless, sporatic and graceful. While working in different disciplines each work she makes emits the same tone that I recognise as Ophelia. Something pure about it.
What did you think of Ophelia/Ryder when you first meet?
O: I heard his voice, walked straight up to him, locked into his eyes of blue and thought- here is my blonde Seth Cohen.
R: I noticed she had no shoes on, and I noticed the ease I felt around her. And she is beautiful, so I’d seen her around.
You are both creative souls, how do your areas of creativity come together?
R: They exist in the same house and in each conversation we have.
What do you find most inspiring about New Zealand’s landscape? Do you think that reflects in your creative pursuits?
R: There is a rock formation where we live that looks like a scary lighthouse, the arrangement of rocks is like something in a Casper David Frederic painting- gothic and slightly ominous, but also luminous. The sun rises next to it and so does the moon. Ophelia and I draw it often.
Ophelia, when did you start knitting? What do you love most about it?
O: It was when I was studying my Masters. I was thinking about the space of the home and simple comforts of things that keep us warm.
What are you listening to first thing in the morning at the moment?
What was the last thing that made you feel Zen and shut off your busy brain off completely?
R: Going swimming, reading, and watching a storm.
Do you have any current mantras or rituals that you are practicing?
O: We are trying to do stretches every day.
What do you dream of for your life, when you dream big?
R: To thrive.
O: A house that we own looking over the ocean, an overgrown and wild garden with old fruit trees heavy with fruit. A life made from making artwork. Our hands soft with age, intertwined. Long grey hair and deep set smile lines.
Photography // Courtesy of Ophelia & Ryder