B O K E H is the artistic alter-ego of New Zealand raised, Berlin based audiovisual artist, Chloë Lewer. Spending her formative years working as an actress in Auckland, Chloë ended up ‘on a whim’ in Germany in 2011.
At age 22, she decided to seek new inspirations and fell accidentally into making music, playing the ukulele and singing on the streets of Berlin to get by. This ended up becoming a touring band of 6 to 10 members called ‘Charity Children’, with two albums under their sleeves ‘Fabel’ and ‘The Autumn Came’, plus a third currently in the making,due for release in 2020, and a decent following in Europe, particularly Berlin.
In 2016, while ‘Charity Children’ went into hiatus, Chloë decided to start her own musical odyssey. In the midst of a quarter life ”haze”, B O K E H was born – an audiovisual art project which brings together all her various creative interests.
“She’s an artistic outlet for my vulnerability and my strength. A step inside the duality of my imaginaire and a glimpse at the beauty and the pain I’ve experienced, from the deepest trenches of myself that I never intended anyone to see.”
Chloë, now 30, is also a director and producer for her own film production company, ‘Ramona Ramona’, with which she has created all her videos for B O K E H.
Here are some B O K E H’s weekend favourites and more
What is your favourite weekend brunch place to visit?
I live in Berlin, Germany. But whenever I’m back home in New Zealand, I love to visit ‘Homestead’ in Auckland for brunch- http://www.pahhomestead.company
. It’s run by my friend who is a chef, Sam Mannering, which is rather convenient (for me).
What are your favourite weekend activities?
To escape the city and head for the sea and salt. If I’m in Auckland, I’d venture out to Karekare. If I’m in Wellington, I’d hide away in Worser Bay – which is where I grew up.
What is your favourite part of the weekend?
Since I’m a freelance artist, I don’t keep regular working hours, so ‘weekends’ as such don’t really exist for me. I guess you could say, I choose my weekends. For instance, I love getting into a Sunday mood on a Wednesday. Sleeping late, playing jazz while I cook up some veritable feast-for-one, going for an aimless stroll through the city for hours, ending up perching in Myers Park, overlooking the beautiful palms, listening to a whole record on my headphones with a sneaky gin soda within reach.. So also avoiding the police and pretending to be a German tourist if they approach (‘it’s legal there…’). So yes, basically having a real nice date, but with myself.
What is your favourite weekend night spot?
I have a nostalgic soft-spot for Winecellar on K Road. I spent my formative university years hanging out there. I also sung for one of the first times in the cosy live room. I lived across the street at the time, next to Mercury Plaza (RIP), which was also convenient / dangerous.
What is your favourite weekend getaway destination you have visited?
Great Barrier Island. The most beautiful place on earth. Hands down.
Are you a beer, cider, wine or cocktail person?
I’m a whiskey soda or gin soda lover. But I couldn’t ever turn down a Pinot Gris.
Share three of your favourite attributes of your home town with us?
I grew up in Karaka Bay in Wellington, with the sand on my doorstep, but I also spent quite some time on the West Coast of the South Island in Granity and I lived in Auckland for five years. As it goes, It wasn’t until I moved overseas that I really began to appreciate New Zealand. It’s so easy to take it for granted when it’s all you’ve ever known. When I come back to visit, I feel so fortunate to be from such a beautiful country. I often feel like an excited tourist in my own country! I love how friendly and chill people can be and how connected people are to nature. I love the creativity of Wellington, the quirky corners of Auckland and the utter isolation of Granity.
Do you have a hidden talent?
Yeah, but you have to find it… (such a dad joke, sorry!) Ps. I love you dad.
At heart are you a city or country person?
I’m so torn in between! I feel so inspired but anxious in the city, and then I feel peaceful but claustrophobic in the country. I think I need to be greedy and say both.
What would you like to learn if you had the chance?
I just started learning pottery and I love it so much! Although anytime I ever mention this to someone, it’s usually met with the response, ‘have you seen that scene in Ghost?’ NO, I HAVE NEVER WATCHED IT.
Your favourite teacher and why?
I have had many wonderful teachers in my days, but the first one who inspired me to pursue an artistic life was my high school drama teacher, Denise O’Connell. She once said to me, ‘if this is what you want to do, then fine. But know that by the time you’re in thirties, your friends will be stable and financially successful and you’ll still be struggling to pay your rent’. I guess she was also a fortune teller as I’m 30 now and this is certainly my fate. But I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Where is your favourite place in the entire world?
Berlin (where I have lived since eight years now).
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I’d quite like to float, so gravity.
Take a listen to some very cool Sunday listening here
Watch this space for what B O K E H is going to share with us in 2020!