Article from the Bay Weekend
(Dec 24 2015) featuring Adrienne Body
Science and art a combination for success
ADRIENNE Body will be best remembered in the Eastern Bay dressed in hat and gardening clothes pushing a lawnmower – however, since moving to Perth in 2012 she has not only found her dream job, but has also produced her own series of children’s books.
The books cover a range of subjects, from counting in te reo Maori to science, but all feature Body’s friendly and simple illustrations, which reflect an unconventional sense of humour.
The Tauranga-born and raised artist came to live in Whakatane after having studying art history at Victoria University. Together with partner, Kawerau-raised John Lees, Body operated a lawnmowing business in the Eastern Bay for five years. The couple moved to Perth looking for work and have both found success there.
Body describes her work at the not-for-profit organisation Scitech, a science education centre in Perth, as her dream job. “I work with a really amazing bunch of people,” she said.
While mowing lawns in Whakatane, she was also studying extramurally to become a qualified early childhood teacher, which led her to her new job in education. However, her first love is art. She says she has “always been drawing”, ever since she was a child herself. After some luck with selling her art on Trade Me she decided to try creating her own books.
Her first book, A Sheep Named Breakfast, she had printed with the help of Whakatane Printers while she was living in Whakatane.
Since then she has produced [seven] others, all of which are available via Amazon or through her website, which operates on a print-on-demand platform.
Worldwide, she said she had sold about 165 books altogether [at time of interview, 180 at time of print]. “Not bad for not having not done any marketing.”
Her work at the science education centre has clearly been an inspiration for two of her books. S is for Science follows the conventions of a traditional alphabet picture book, but instead of A is for apple and B for ball, uses quirky, scientifically-themed words which increase in length and difficulty throughout the book.
She said it was inspired by “lots of really bad science puns in the staff room.” It was intended to encourage people to look up the words with their children in books or on Google or go out and find things out for themselves. “I received quite a bit of feedback about it,” she said, including requests from parents asking, “how to I explain this to my children?” This led naturally to the follow-up companion book, How Do I Explain That?
Her most recent books are counting books that feature a range of New Zealand animals. It is available in both English and Maori.
Body is in Whakatane visiting friends and family for two weeks over Christmas and told the Bay Weekend she found creating her books profoundly rewarding.
“I enjoy creating them and at the end you have got that product that families can share. It is really rewarding to think I have played such an important part of their lives, not just learning life skills, but sharing that special reading time with their parents. It is really lovely to know that I have contributed to those sorts of moments."
Body and her books and other artwork can be found on Facebook or visit her website, sweetadz.wix.com [sic].