Monday, June 30, 2008

When Sculpture Meets Fashion

Bennett/MildRed collaborations, Dunedin ID Fashion Show 2007 & 2008. Images supplied
When well known Christchurch sculptor, Graham Bennett joins forces with leading Dunedin fashion designer, Donna Tulloch of MildRed, the creative sparks fly. The result is a stunning selection of body sculptures designed to compliment MildRed’s unique sculptural garments. The two have collaborated previously for both the 2007 and 2008 Dunedin ID Fashion shows and now they are creating works for “Latitude/Attitude,” consecutive exhibitions of their works to be shown at Galerie Paris, in Yokohama, Japan - Bennett from September 26-October 7 and MildRed from October 10-17th, 2008. Variations of Graham’s large scale sculptures will be used as a point of focus for the fashion show; and smaller works created in collaboration with Donna, will be shown as body sculptures and accessories in the MildRed fashion show. I LOVE artistic collaborations of any sort and when it comes to the cross-over between the fashion, art and jewellery worlds, I’m always slightly surprised and disappointed by the dearth of collaborations. This one is a breath of fresh air!

Flushed with Excitement

Bay Espresso, Hastings. June 2008. Ajr
Firstly, let me state that I don’t intend starting a photographic series on toilets, despite the fact I know of plenty of interesting examples. This one however, did make me smile. I discovered it at Bay Espresso, a great café and organic/Fairtrade coffee roastery between Clive and Hastings.

Art Deco Favourite

National Tobacco Company Ltd. Ahuriri, Napier. June 2008. Ajr
The National Tobacco Company building in Ahuriri, Napier is everybody’s favourite example of Art Deco. Designed by architect Louis Hay and built in 1933, it is one of Napier’s most elaborately-detailed post-1931-earthquake buildings. It is seen by many as Hay’s tour de force for the way it combines elements from Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Chicago School. Decorations on either side of the front door feature raupo (native bulrush) and roses and its brass banisters, ornate lamps, marble foyer and spectacular stained glass inner dome (featured here a few days ago – you’ll find it if you scroll down), combine to make it one of the most photographed buildings in Hawke’s Bay. I’m not going to confess to how many photos I took of it but I revisited it several times.

Green as Grass

Taylors Mistake Beach, Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
This is my favourite holiday bach at Taylors Mistake Beach just over the hills from Sumner.
I love its 'ramshackle' garden and the way its green weatherboards blend so seamlessly with the plant cover.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Clinging to the Cliffs

Hobson Bay, June 2008. Ajr
Another of the cute holiday baches clinging to the cliffs at little Hobson Bay, just around the rocks from Taylors Mistake Beach, near Christchurch

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Table Art

Esther Diamond napkins. June 2008. Ajr.
Staying here at Esther's Place in Napier I am surrounded by stunning products from the Esther Diamond Collection. These are some of the table napkin range - with designs by top New Zealand artists like Dick Frizzell and Martin Poppelwell.

An Avenue of Trees

Clive. June 2008. Ajr
I slammed on the brakes as I drove through the little village of Clive yesterday.
Just to get a photograph of this striking avenue of winter trees.

Supermarket Art

Napier, June 2008. Ajr
There is a level of creative excitement here in the Hawke’s Bay that has both inspired and exhausted me. I find myself over-excited, over-stimulated and wobbly with enthusiasm. Even the local supermarket has taken on an art theme! Not high art I’ll admit but I always love to see art of any sort being integrated into a community. It makes for a much livelier sense of place.

Art Deco Shopping

The Art Deco Shop, Napier. June 2008. Ajr
It’s virtually impossible to visit Napier and not be drawn in to the whole Art Deco thing; and to get the best overview, you really need to start at The Art Deco Shop – which fittingly reflects its Art Deco neighbours in its front window. It’s from here that a whole set of terrific Art Deco Walking Tours set off – bus or vintage car if you’d rather, guided or self-guided if you’d prefer. Over 23,000 people do the guided Art Deco walk each year, learning everything there is to know about the massive earthquake that shook the Hawke’s Bay in 1931, destroying the heart of Napier, damaging over 200 buildings in Hastings and killing 256 people. Within two years of that disaster, Napier and Hastings had been rebuilt in the distinctive Art Deco, Spanish Mission, Stripped Classical and Prairie style architecture that it is now so famous for. The Art Deco here is unique for its inclusion of Maori motifs and the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School in the work of local architect, Louis Hay.

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 23

"Felis in Winter."
Another visual treat from our favourite printmaker

Friday, June 27, 2008

Art Deco Daze

Art Deco Detail, Napier. June 2008. Ajr
I'm still in Napier and I've now photographed so many Art Deco buildings I'm dreaming in pastel colours!

For the New Millennium

"Ecliptic" Napier June 2008. Ajr.
This photo looks a bit dull - yesterday's light was queer and temperamental - but I loved this sculpture "Ecliptic" by Napier designer, David Trubridge. It was placed on the Napier beachfront by the Napier City Council to mark the beginning of the Third Millennium. To find the point where the sun rose at the start of the new millennium, you follow the line from the rock in front (it looked ugly so I cropped it out), through the centre of the arch to the horizon. That's Cape Kidnappers you can see way off in the distance by the way.

Cool Cars - 10

One fabulous hot pink Imperial - spotted outside Te Pania Hotel in Napier

Sumner Revisited

Sumner Beach. June 2008. Ajr
Like any beach environment, Sumner provides a wealth of photographic opportunity.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In......'the Devil's Workshop.'

I visited the Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery this morning and was very taken with their giant word – museum (no surprises there) emblazoned across one side of the building. I could hardly use the excuse that I was late because I couldn’t find the place. No surprise either, that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs inside, which is a pity because I’d love to show the set of works that I was spellbound by. They were on display as part of “Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop” – and were a series of large suspended banners by the late Lilla Esam, a widow who lived in Hawke’s Bay, raising her family and running an orchard until her death in the 1940s. Beautiful in their subtlety and detail, they depicted a wide range of scenes and images and…wait for it….. they were made entirely of postage stamps stuck onto linen banners to create a mosaic of image and pattern. They give stamp collecting a whole new meaning! I adored them and a walked away wondering how many other ordinary New Zealand households are repositories for astonishing feats of creativity. The show is on until July 20 so if you’re in Napier and you fancy yourself as a philatelist – or even if you don’t – make sure you see them.

The New Wave

Napier. June 2008. Ajr
And speaking of signage and art, I was immediately drawn to this window slogan for the Judith Anderson Gallery – a great addition to Napier’s art gallery scene. Formerly of Auckland, Judith has taken up residence in Napier and her terrific contemporary space is bound to shake up a few of the locals. She’s part of the new wave of bigger-city dwellers heading for the quieter life of the provinces and, fittingly, her current exhibition is called “The New Wave.” Works by artists Darryn George, James Robinson and Niki Hastings McFall were my personal favourites.

Art Deco Gone Mad

Taradale, Hawke's Bay. June 2008. Ajr
In an idle moment this afternoon I found myself drifting out of Napier city and into the rather bland suburb of Taradale. I had free time and the sun was shining. I needed no other reason to wander aimlessly. And so it was with some surprise that I found myself parking outside McDeco McDonalds!! Yes, you read that correctly. If my memory serves me correctly, this is the only McDonald’s restaurant in the world (or was it one of two?) housed in an authentic Art Deco building – for which we can be truly thankful! Formerly the Taradale Hotel, it is at least a prettier setting than most of the chains eateries.

Art Deco Central

Glass Dome, National Tobacco Company, Ahuriri, Napier. June 2008. Ajr
Here I am in one of the world's major Art Deco centres - Napier, New Zealand.
I thought I'd tempt you with this glorious glass dome in the very beautiful National Tobacco Company building in Ahuriri. Now surrounded by warehouses and railway operations, it's nonetheless a stunning building - and when the famous-sun-I've-heard-about comes out, I'll take a decent photo of it.
In the meantime, there are other things to explore.

Aerial Geography

From the air - snow on the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges.
A few hours (by road) north of Christchurch.
The whole South Island had been hit by an icy southerly blast.

White Mall

Here's another in my 'Coloured Mall' series.
A little photographic exercise to prove that not everything about shopping malls is ugly.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

Esther's Place, Napier. June 2008. Ajr
This is the gorgeous bed I am going to sleep in in Napier tonight!
At the very divine Esther's Place, a waterfront apartment stylishly put together by the Napier design company Esther Diamond, Millar Road, Napier providers of seriously stylish accommodation and Eon Design Store, Auckland.
Sleeping among these divine little rabbits - created by Napier artist, Martin Poppelwell for Esther Diamond - is something I'm very much looking forward to. www.esthersplace.

Ice Cold

A sensible warning at Christchurch Airport this morning.
When I left the city it was 1-degree and my car doors were iced shut.
When I landed in the famously sunny Hawke's Bay on the east coast of the North Island, it was just that - sunny and 13-degrees.
And Napier is as lovely as ever.
But more on that tomorrow!

Winter Alps

Christchurch Airport. June 2008. Ajr
And this is the scene I flew away from this morning - snow on the alps viewed from Christchurch Airport

Window Shopping

Chirtschurch 2nd Hand Store. June 2008. Ajr
The weirder the mannequin the more excited I become.
(Photographically speaking that is).

Inner City Reflections

Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
My camera is never far from an architectural reflection.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Meet the People - 11

Photo by Dominion Post, Wellington; Supplied by Zest
Another in the Series Meet the People - Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders doing Interesting Things - Susan McLeary and Catherine Cordwell are both dedicated food lovers passionate about the great food, wine and coffee experiences that Wellington has to offer, so it made sense for them to join forces and start Zest Food Tours. That was back in 2004 and leaving their respective marketing and public relations consultancy businesses behind, they have since introduced thousands of people to the capital’s hidden food treasures. They delight in showing visitors “the real Wellington that locals know” – hard-to-find places easily missed if you’re not familiar with the city. “We felt Wellington’s vibrancy as a culinary centre was under-rated and we wanted to change that.” They’ve been so successful they’ve since expanded their food tours to include the Wairarapa region. Their tours are a must for all food lovers.

"Eat, Explore, Indulge, Relish"

Photos Supplied by Zest
That’s the motto at Wellington’s Zest Food Tours and it’s easy to do when you end up at places like Mojo Coffee Cartel (top).This is where Zest gives you an introduction to the capital’s buzzing coffee culture. You get to roast the coffee with staff and taste the different local coffee styles. Mojo’s owner, Steve Gianoutsos is a second-generation café owner and his father, Lambros, is Mojo’s chief coffee roaster and blender. Another of Zest’s tricky-to-find food gems is Moore Wilson Fresh Market, which is a regular highlight on all their Wellington food tours. Here (bottom photo) visitors from England and America are tasting a range of regional cheeses, apple juices and seasonal fruits and vegetables. One of the best things about a Zest tour – their Walking Gourmet Tour at least – is that by walking the streets, you get an up close and personal feel for the city. It’s a feast for all the senses!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Australian Notes

A page from my Adelaide sketchbook

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 22

"Small Bore Shooting"

More from the Master Printmaker

Down Back Alleys

SOL, Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
I caught this great little building reflection down a back alley off SOL Square a day or two ago.
When you look UP there is so much more to see.
In this case, a delightful intersection of architecture and building materials

Late 'Bloomer'

Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
This is one tree that refuses to acknowledge the arrival of winter.
It's still busy dropping its autumn leaves.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Small Moments of Beauty

Unseasonal beauty
Peony Pink
On a Shelf

Posters & Art

"All What Trucks" (top) City Alley, Christchurch. June 2008.Ajr
Christchurch artist - and one of New Zealand's most highly regarded - Philip Trusttum is dominating the city. Not only is his show "All What Trucks" been showing at COCA Gallery, as a film clip at Rialto Riccarton and on giant city Billboards, some of the works are also keeping company with posters - all over the place. I like the way these sophisticated works merge so seamlessly with street art and advertising graphics. It goes a long way to making contemporary art more accessible to the man in the street.

Cafe Graphics

June 2008. Ajr
An upstairs cafe window.
I like the way the interior lights take on an apple-like form behind the sign.

The Spaces Between - 11

SOL Square, Lichfirled Street, Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
Another in one of my favourite photographic series - the alluring narrow spaces between inner city buildings

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Art on Wheels

Photographed supplied by Ben Pearce
And here's another
great little sculpture
by Napier's
Ben Pearce

It's a Sign

Near Levin, North Island. 2007. Ajr
This would have to be one of the most photographed compositions in the country.
I've seen numerous images of this very same truck&sign taken by other people.

Late Afternoon Shadow Play

Christchurch Art Gallery, June 2008.Ajr
Interior Architecture

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spring Fever

Correct me if I'm wrong
Hasn't winter only just started?
And yet the roadside stalls are already
selling spring flowers!

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Chocolate?

Temptations at She Chocolaterie, Governor's Bay. Christchurch. Ajr
Have you ever considered the possibility of going out for the night and doing nothing but eat chocolate? I did – on Wednesday night; and I didn’t make the decision lightly!
Suffice to say I came home feeling three stone heavier, albeit with a smile on my face.
Declan Scott and Oonagh Browne over at She Chocolaterie in Governor’s Bay (over the Port Hills from Christchurch), have found every possible way to tempt you – and it’s no good pretending you don’t like chocolate. By the time you’ve been through one of their Chocolate Extravaganza tasting evenings, you’ll be convinced there’s no healthier vice to have.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Art After Dark

"Blue" by Bill Culbert, Christchurch Convention Centre. June 2008. Ajr
I know I'm pushing my dear little camera to its absolute limits -and maybe I'm not doing Bill Culbert, the creator of this terrific neon sculpture, any favours either; but I loved this slightly wobbly, frenetic interplay of lights and reflections that I snapped last night outside the Christchurch Convention Centre. The work - "Blue" - was commissioned by the Christchurch City Council in conjunction with Art & Industry in 2000. Which reminds me - the 2008 SCAPE Christchurch Biennial is now winding up for an exciting city-wide art event from September 19 onwards. "Wandering Lines: Towards a New Culture of Space" will see the city streets come alive with some of the world's best public art. But more on that another time.

Capital Arts

Images supplied by Flat Earth
I’ve said it once and I’m happy to say it again - Wellington is my favourite New Zealand city. For one thing the city has the most progressive public art policy in the country and because of its compact layout, the city is easy to discover on foot. Flat Earth has cottoned on to the capital’s potential as a vibrant arts and cultural centre and they offer the best range of small arts tours in the country. So don’t leave it all to the foreign tourists – join Mark Rogers and his team for the Capital Arts Tour (my personal favourite), which will introduce you to artists’ studios, leading contemporary art galleries, architectural icons like the Old St Paul’s Cathedral and to some of the many fabulous public sculptures including ‘Fruits of the Forest’ by Paul Dibble; ‘The Albatross’ by Tanya Ashken; “The Water Whirler” by Len Lye; “Ferns” by Neil Dawson; and ‘The Wellington Writers’ Walk,’ which celebrates the work of people like Katherine Mansfield, James K Baxter, Denis Glover, Maurice Gee and Bill Manhire.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heading South

Dunedin Stairwell. 2007. Ajr
Almost everything about the southern city of Dunedin is interesting.
It's funky, intense, climatically challenging, artistically aware.
I LOVE it.
They even make their stairwells visually arresting.
Yet another example of how an everyday space can be enlivened by pattern and colour

Blue Lagoon

Sumner Beach, Christchurch. June 2008. Ajr
Between winter tides

Dressed in Her Best

June 2008. Ajr
Also at Sumner - this demure mannequin dressed in her best 1950s winter outfit


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