Tell me what you do?
I’m a visual artist – I did a degree in visual arts and a post grad in fine arts and over the years my work has gone from figurative to a more abstract style. It’s happened quite systematically – there are drawings I’ve broken up and broken down to get to where I’m at now with my painting. My main background was drawing and that led into printmaking and then I started changing it up and went back to drawing and now I’m painting.
So what exactly is it that you paint?
I paint figures – they’re not really figures – they’re more just shapes that overlap continuously. I came up with a concept called ‘held space’ where I looked at how we hold on to the past through memories, music or photographs or writing, and how we run that alongside with the present so my paintings are an intuitive process into doing something in the present while still thinking of the past.
That makes a lot of sense…
Yeah, it began when I did honours in printmaking – I was looking at early European etching/recordings of the pacific and how they often weren’t an accurate portrayal of what they saw. That started the process for me and it’s really been a long process.
How are you finding being at Toi Auaha?
It’s really cool – there are other artists there that I know and it’s great to be able to come out of your space and talk and then go back into your space – at home you tend to work in isolation. Being in a shared space means you are continuously extending people you know. Before this I had a number of studios in town – I had 4 that were red stickered. I think that the earthquake and having old Christchurch in my head comes out more in my work than what I consider.
I have also been teaching Art for quite a few years at both Ara and some excellent high schools. Last year I got cancer and had to leave teaching and then this opportunity came up and now I can focus on my art and having the studio means I have the space that my art demands.
I’m sorry to hear about your illness – How are you doing now?
I’m doing good, it was brutal but now I’m okay. In a way, it helps focus your mind. You know, we’re only here for a short time -we’ve got to get shit done.
You have a show coming up – tell me about that.
It’s on at Chambers Art Gallery from the 1st of March. The show is called ‘Overlap’ and it’s all paintings. Some are quite large works – around 1.2 square metres. I wish I made smaller works that would fit in my car. I am also a finalist for the ZAFAA award. That show opens from the 11th March in Ashburton.
It’s interesting you say that you ‘wish you made smaller works’ – do you find that your work shapes itself rather than you shaping it?
The paintings demand their own things. A work will have its own expectations from me if and when I’m in the process, practicality seems irrelevant at the time. It’s a consistent theme in my practice to make ridiculous sized work – this show is no exception!