ART & REALISM founder Jacquie Burke discusses her inclusive platform, offering artists a digital shopfront.

Growing up on a kiwifruit orchard in Kati Kati, Bay of Plenty, Jacquie Burke’s childhood was filled with the joys of rural life. “It was amazing!” she recalls. “We had every kind of farm animal. I picked and packed kiwifruit in the holidays, caught whitebait, fished with my dad and surfed the East Coast. I even had a pet possum named Freddy, until he tried to bite my ear off!” This idyllic upbringing, combined with the rich cultural experiences of her Fijian heritage, laid the foundation for Jacquie’s creative journey.

From a young age, Jacquie was captivated by art. “Ever since I could hold a pencil, I was doodling and scribbling something,” she says. This passion for creativity flourished in her final years of college, where she excelled in Bursary Art, topping her school and New Zealand in painting and printmaking. Despite initially pursuing a career in design, her love for the visual arts never waned.


Jacquie’s professional journey includes a notable stint as a creative concept designer for The Bell Tea & Coffee Company. “I got to create, innovate and lead amazing FMGC projects. Winning a few large accounts and changing their interior and brand presence in the hospitality arena were some highlights,” she shares. These experiences were instrumental in shaping her vision for ART & REALISM.


ART & REALISM, an online platform dedicated to supporting emerging visual artists from New Zealand and the Pacific, was born out of Jacquie’s desire to fill a critical gap in the market. “I’m a self-taught visual artist and know firsthand how hard it can be to take the plunge into the digital space for a commercial presence,” she explains. Her platform offers artists a managed shopfront, providing visibility, income and the freedom to focus on their craft.

The platform’s emphasis on diverse and indigenous artists is a reflection of Jacquie’s own background and values. “I am of Fijian heritage, and I have a rainbow family. It felt right to nurture and support emerging artists who fit within the realms of diversity,” she says. ART & REALISM strives to be inclusive of Māori, Pasifika, LGBTQIA+, disability, mental health and underprivileged communities, creating a supportive space for universal art.

Jacquie’s coming out journey was a pivotal moment in her life. “I was living with my first girlfriend in the late 90s, and after we broke up, I was devastated,” she recalls. When she revealed her relationship to her mother, the response was unexpectedly humorous. “My mum quickly responded with, ‘I knew it – you always wore jeans!’” Despite the initial shock, Jacquie’s family, including her grandparents and sister, were supportive. “At the end of the day, all parents just want their kids to be happy,” she reflects. This experience of acceptance and understanding fuels her passion for inclusivity in ART & REALISM.


The catalyst for ART & REALISM was Jacquie’s participation in the Toipoto / The Big Idea creative mentorship programme in 2023. “The support from mentors gave me the confidence that I was on the right track,” she says. Recognising the need for a platform to bridge the gap between traditional art and the digital landscape, she secured funding through a Boosted Moana campaign, supported by, NZ Arts Foundation and Creative NZ.

ART & REALISM launched in the second quarter of 2024, and Jacquie is committed to its long-term success. “There are so many struggling artists out there who just need a little support and direction from someone who truly understands them and the process,” she asserts. Through her platform, Jacquie hopes to create a movement that not only empowers diverse artists but also fosters a supportive community of collectors and art enthusiasts.

With submissions now open, ART & REALISM invites emerging artists to join a platform that is as much about showcasing art as it is about creating positive, inclusive change. Visit to learn more.

PHOTO BY: Amanda Billing