Home' Greymouth Star : June 12th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
West Coast Arts
Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 7
Alison Hale, painter, was born in Westport and grew up beside the
Buller River. Now Reefton-based, her subjects are drawn from her life
working in the rural West Coast and her creative practice is firmly
grounded in the history and culture of the Coast, its land and, at times,
its indigenous wildlife. Her works, usually in oils, are often realistic and
raw with emotion and texture.
A wave from
A wave from
A “wave” of West Coast artists is heading “over the hill” next week to showcase some of the region’s art at the
inaugural Christchurch Art Show from June 19-22 at the new Wigram Air Force Museum events centre.
Honeycomb Gallery in Westport has taken the lead to promote established and emerging West Coast artists.
The 14 selected artists to represent the West Coast in person are Alison Hale, Anoushka Szybowski, Colby
Smith and Stephen Tschopp, Karyn Roberts, Fiona McDonald, Mark Haldane, Rhys Hall, Robyn Jacobs,
Rory McDougall, Ruth Vaega, Sole, Staci Offwood, and Tony Manuel. Art from Andris Apse, photography;
Anne Daniel, flax weaving; Jeremy Leach, illustration; Lance Kerr, painting; and Mark James, ceramics, will
also be in the display. One third of the show will feature art from the West Coast.
Colby Smith and Stephen
Colby Smith and Stephen Tschopp at
Safran House at Camerons, work in a range
of media from illustration and painting to
design, screen-printing and tattoo.
Smith grew up in a highly creative family
in West Virginia, USA. She studied art at
university level before travelling around the
US and Europe painting, sculpting, creating
comics and 3D characters. Now she is a
full-time tattooist and works on various gig
posters and screen-print based art projects.
Born in Switzerland, Tschopp immigrated
to New Zealand as a child and was immersed
in art through a Rudolf Steiner school.
Through study for a bachelor of science in
conser vation forestry, he developed a keen
eye for plants and botanical drawings. After
some travel, he enrolled in a design course in
Switzerland and studied graphic design and
screenprinting in London.
Ruth Vaega, artist, art educator,
and museum studies enthusiast,
says art making enables her
to incorporate a variety of
personal interests into her artistic
Advanced study of design,
printmaking, sculpture and
ceramics and obsessive drawing and
design have led to experimentation
with different materials.
The smooth surface of a ceramic
tile as a drawing and painting
surface is as challenging to her as
the resistant scraping on canvas.
“ In obser ving vulnerable native
bird species on the Orowaiti
Estuary where I live, my artworks
frequently take a birds’ eye view of
Rhys Hall, stone car ver, has lived on the West Coast since 1999.
“Initially jade enticed me, but I now focus on utilising easily found
resources, free of restrictions. I was always a fossicker and for me,
gathering beach pebbles is almost as important as making.
“ I preser ve what I can of the original form and surface of these
pebbles so they retain their links to the environment which created
them, adding exotic materials such as wood, shell, pearls, glass, metal
and gemstones to provide contrast. Pounamu still holds a special
Recurring themes are minimalist abstraction, the use of found
materials, vessels and containers, combining diverse materials and an
interest in highly detailed traditionally-inspired works.
Mark Haldane, painter, has always
been interested in art and it was his
main focus at school. He then worked by
day as a landscape gardener, producing
commissions and portraits and his own
pieces in his spare time.
He exhibited in Nelson but was really
inspired when he moved to Greymouth
and began to paint full-time, now as part
of the Whiteroom Gallery and Studio.
A fan of modern street art and graffiti,
Haldane fuses the starkness and texture of
the urban environment with the vibrancy
and colour of the natural flora and wildlife.
“ I like the different influences I get
from my English background and my
New Zealand life, the contrast of concrete
and hard landscapes of England in
comparison to the vast soft landscapes of
Karyn Roberts is a part-time
Westport artist, car ving hard stone,
creating contemporary jewellery and
small sculptures, using a variety of
stones including jade, but especially
“There’s just something about it. I
enjoy the physical process of car ving,
transforming a chunk of raw stone
into a beautiful object. ”
She also draws, using mainly pencil,
pen, charcoal and conte.
“Portraits and seascapes seem to
dominate my work. The natural
world is an obvious influence. I love
texture and form and fossils, leaves,
birds, feathers, water, fish.”
Rory McDougall, Kaniere painter and
sculptor, was born in the Scottish highlands
and was always “arty”.
The book, Keltic Art — Methods of
Construction, by George Bain, brought
a new depth to his work, giving an
understanding of patterns and symbols.
He produced Keltic-based illustration and
paintings, and started to experiment with
During extensive travel, he learned
metal craft and blacksmithing, then stone
masonry including large sculptures in steel,
stone, wood, glass and ceramics, with two
consistent themes, the study of molecular
structures as the building blocks of plants
and animals, along with the quintessential
elements of life, especially water.
Robyn Jacobs, assemblage artist, has always strongly desired to create art,
exploring a range of mediums.
After adding 3D elements to painting and looking for ways to fuse multi
media such as painting, woodwork and sculpture, she was influenced by
artist Michael de Meng.
“These assemblages are studies of life to death to rebirth, from new to
old to renewed, from construction to destruction to reconstruction, created
from pieces of junk-treasure, chosen because of their separate beauty, their
unknown history and their symbolism. I aim for works that portray humour,
intrigue and transform the common into the sacred.”
Fiona McDonald, Coast
Road-based painter and jeweller,
grew up in a creative Auckland
household. After working as a
props maker on Lord of the Rings
and other features, she developed
an interest in jewellery design
and silversmithing, creating a
combination of hand-fabricated
and cast pieces.
With a young child, her spare
time is spread over painting,
jewellery design and manufacture,
and her small home-based
business, Fox River Bath
Tony Manuel moved to Greymouth as a child and explored painting
from a young age, developing techniques with acrylics, pastels and oils,
using the colours of the West Coast.
In the early 1980s, he began a car ving apprenticeship under his
brother Riki Manuel at the Riki Rangi Car ving Centre at the
Christchurch Arts Centre, producing a range of paua, bone and wood
car vings for stocking Riki’s store.
He then focused on combining car ving and vivid painting in a
contemporary and somewhat controversial manner, using traditional
whakairo designs as a reference.
Now, he balances painting and car ving along with workshops for
schools and the community. The resulting car vings and murals are
highly visible in Westport and Greymouth schools.
Staci Offwood, photographer, came to the West Coast as a teenager,
and returned with her first camera after living in Australia.
She sold cards and prints through the Westport cafe where she worked,
then stocked a regular stall at local markets. In 2007, she and her
partner bought and upgraded an old building, living out the back while
establishing Whanake, a coffee shop and gallery.
She now lives at Cape Foulwind, surrounded by bush, with sea views, so
does not have to look far for images to capture.
Westport-born Peter Howard, ‘Sole’,
discovered his creativity through
photography. Study at The Learning
Connexion, was focused on painting
and design, then creating posters for
various protests, activist groups and
The medium of stencil art, using
multiple layers and intricate designs,
opened up opportunities in graphic
design and mural work. He continued
painting, and expanded his artistic
range for the branding and interior fit-
out of J’s Cafe, and began his Birds of
the Long White Cloud series.
Last year, he opened the Honeycomb
Gallery for West Coast artists and is
the initiator and leader of the project
to take A Wave from the Coast to the
Christchurch Art Show.
Anoushka Szybowski, illustrator
and teacher, says that being
surrounded by nature on the West
Coast, it is easy to be inspired by the
ever changing beauty.
Born in Israel to a French-Israeli
father and a New Zealand mother,
she mostly lived and went to school
in New Zealand but has also spent
time in Israel and France.
With a strong interest also in
marine biology, she eventually chose
to focus on art, and for her art and
design degree, worked in mixed
media, painting and printmaking.
She has been teaching at Buller
Links Archive June 11th 2014 June 13th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page