Born in Auckland, Straka studied sculpture at Elam Art School but has largely made paintings since graduating. She looks from a different point of view. Her second major body of paintings were of old fashioned mens urinals, their cracked creamy porcelain surfaces evocatively stained, damaged even. A secular Pakeha, she has made paintings of Lindauer inspired Maori chiefs with bleeding hearts and Catholic imagery, in finely brushed paintings on cotton stretched over board. As the figure began to dominate Straka's practice, the photography of models has assumed more importance. Photographs become the starting points for paintings - be Burqa clad, jacketed, variously tattooed, or painted simply from the back. Increasingly too, the body feminine has become her milieu. Sometimes tough, sometimes provocative and sometimes downright sexy.