Thursday, June 4, 2015

Waving Flags in Space

 During my time in New Zealand (3 years), any attempt to gain some momentum or attract even the slightest bit of attention often felt akin to waving a flag in space. So, it was kind of funny to see my name in the New Zealand Herald nearly 2 years since leaving. 

Thanks is due to my old studio mates for the mention. It is good to see them get some hard won attention at last (see below or click here)....
(Ok, I'm in Z├╝rich not Berlin but who's quibbling)?

From Three Kings to the world

By Wayne Thompson City Life wayne thompson@nzherald co nz
5:00 AM Tuesday Jun 2, 2015
From left to right, Jane Thorne, Susan Thomas (front), Raewyn Walsh, Amy MacKinnon and Jo Dalgety (back). Photo / Brett Phibbs

From left to right, Jane Thorne, Susan Thomas (front), Raewyn Walsh, Amy MacKinnon and Jo Dalgety (back). Photo / Brett Phibbs

Art is blooming in an Auckland warehouse, where a group have made a creative retreat from their day jobs, snatching precious hours as often as they can in the hope of improving and creating a masterpiece.
A self-storage company's customers come and go at the industrial complex but upstairs, 10 artists share a sense of purpose as they work in a light-filled part of the building.
They formed Dornwell Studios - named after its street address in Three Kings - to get on with creating art for sale.
Seven of the artists have other jobs. One of them, Susan Thomas, an abstract painter, works as a magazine designer.
"Even the most talented artists struggle to make art pay, so when your passion is for painting, your destiny is to draw, how do you pay the rent and put food on the table? You moonlight," she said.
"We have day jobs which are interesting, creative and diverse and, at the same time, we are supporting a creative community and trying to get work out there."
The shared studio has been operating for six years.
Members rent studio space from $25 to $60 a week and exhibit and sell their work separately. But they come together for an annual studio open day and a Dornwell Group show every two years. This year's show at Railway St Studios, Newmarket, runs from June 19 to July 7.
Matthew Browne, of Browne School of Art in Grey Lynn, is a former member.
He is an enthusiast for shared studio space - and for artists working at other jobs.
"When students leave art school or a place of study they are left alone and they can assign themselves not to make art anymore.
"People will go off to try to work on their own but it's very difficult outside a network, or they will find a studio with other people in a building but not bump into anybody.
"However, in a co-operative, self-supporting structure, artists work alongside each other, helping to encourage and support each other to keep working, and it's in a convivial atmosphere.
"There have been studios that do it from time to time but Dornwell have been consistently doing it."
Mr Browne said being part of a collective allowed artists who were not represented by gallery dealers, to encourage the public to come in and talk to them - and perhaps buy their work.
And he said artists who had another job seemed focused.
"If you have less time in the studio, you make better use of time when you are there."
Former part-timer Raewyn Walsh has stayed at the studio despite her jewellery career taking off - she shows her work reflecting contemporary concerns with Masterworks Gallery and is part of an international mentor programme called Handshake.
Three former members are now overseas - in Germany, England and the US and they are doing well with their art.
One of them, Chris Dennis, is working in Berlin and is exhibiting his paintings in St Gallen, Switzerland.
Part-time artists
Susan Thomas
Paints abstracts based on the "fragility, chaos but ultimate joy of humanity".
Day job: Magazine designer.
Amy MacKinnon
Paints highly intricate abstracts with hints of surrealism and fantasy.
Day job: Cartoonist, tutor, graphic designer and illustrator.
Jane Thorne
Painter, drawn to bugs and beetles.
Day job: Illustrator of children's books, teacher's aide.
Jo Dalgety
Painter, with an affinity for landscape, particularly the history of places.
Day job: Owns Webtrix, web design.
Mark Bosley
Surrealist painter.
Day job: Electronic engineer, works on projects overseas.
Trevor Bayly
Landscape painter.
Day job: Photographer.
David Peterson
Short film music composer.
Day Job: Software programmer.
By Wayne Thompson City Life wayne thompson@nzherald co nz
- NZ Herald

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