Celeste Sterling grew up in Northland, Aotearoa and in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne, Australia. The ecological themes in her artwork had their genesis in early experiences of the New Zealand and Australian native bush.
Celeste graduated from Auckland University with a Masters Degree in Art History with First Class Honours in 1998. When the internet was in its infancy she researched the origins of the internet and its implications for New Zealand artists and galleries as part of her Masters degree. Time spent working in Dublin, Sydney and London as an artist and graphic designer deepened and expanded Celeste’s knowledge and experience of art history, design and contemporary art. A trip into the rainforests of Costa Rica in 2003 was a pivotal turning point in her artistic development and the start of a journey to explore biodiversity and environmental themes in greater depth.
In 2009 she returned to Auckland to study painting and began a series of abstract paintings about climate change. The desire to incorporate ecological concerns in her work in a more direct way led to the development of the leaf paintings. These use a nature printing technique whereby foliage is painted and printed by hand onto surfaces. In 2020 she completed a Certificate in Floristry at Manukau Institute of Technology and continues to explore ways of making art about our environment with plants and flowers.