The Book Project

Earlier this year, I visited my two wonderful friends, Mon and Ben, in Palmerston North. While I was there, Mon had a little book and asked me to fill it up with drawings during my stay.  And I did!

I decided to continue with this wonderful idea, and upon returning home I resolved to make this Book Project.  It appealed to the bibliophile in me. This time, I chose a theme and painted a page a day, then photographed it using Instagram.  This enabled me to share it on my Tumblr and Facebook feeds.  Well, that was in mid-January and I finished the book a few weeks ago.  I have just finished putting together a slideshow of all the images I have painted.

The book is all based on karakia, which can mean prayer, incantation or spell, in Te Reo Maori.  While I was studying at the University of Waikato I came across many different types of karakia, and have applied that here. It’s good for me to keep up my reo, a little bit a day helps!

Karakia are meant to help you feel at one with the atua (gods) who are really personifications of the natural forces/elements in the world. It’s about acknowledging the other things in the world about you.  They are good resources of poetry and prose in Te Reo Māori as well.

There are many different karakia inside. Some are to Tane, some are to greet the day, a prayer for children, an incantation for strength, and one for Tangaroa as we bade farewell to summer. Then there is the finishing karakia, right at the very end.  Here are some of my favourite images:

This book project also combined my native language with art, one of my other favourite things.  If you are a creative soul, and you know how difficult staring at a blank page can be, I totally recommend a daily art exercise like this.  Painting or drawing a little each day really helps to warm up and get you started on your other projects.  And it’s a good way to learn some karakia too!

I am planning on creating another book, and that will probably begin sometime next month.

Mauri Ora!

Know Thyself

Early next year some of my work will be in a group show.
It is called ‘Know Thyself’ and is an exhibition with 3 other women artists.

The show will be held at ‘The Winemakers Daughter’, a local cafe and winebar at 88 Grey Street right here in Gisborne.

We will be previewing the show on Friday 6 January 2012 at 6pm. Wine and nibbles are provided so please feel free to come along.

Ma te wa, have a very Merry Christmas and I will see you all in the New Year.

Nga mihi o te wa me te tau hou.

Mauri Ora!

Turbo Maori

This is a painting I did a little while ago (last year in fact) and it’s taken me this long to put it online.  It’s already the face of the Turbojugend Aotearoa U-666 Facebook page (oooosh lookit me squeezing those links in!) so this little breather has been on the nets for a while.  But you all want a closer look at it – and even better – a chance to buy it don’t you?!?!

This picture was inspired by my love of all things Turbojugend and my Māori heritage.  This makes it Turbo Māori! I’ve based the koruru (face) on Ngāti Porou carving forms that I’ve looked at over the last couple of years.  If you study them you see their likeness to the people; the large foreheads, piercing stare and sharp, sometimes forked, tongue.  Tāngata like those deserve to wear a peak cap, haha.

The picture uses 3 colours; a warm blood red ground with thick black linework and white highlights.  Red, black and white, the ‘traditional’ Māori colours and also those used on the Tino Rangatiratanga flag.  Layered on top of an old placemat, varnished with polyurethane and mounted on a wooden block with a painting hook. 29cm x 21cm x 5cm (roughly 8 x 10″)

If you’re interested in buying this creation, contact me at mel@aotearoa666.com.

 

Skull Flower

“Why don’t you paint some nice flowers” I thought to myself one day, “that’s something nice” So I set about painting a nice flower.  Oh! let’s make it blaack! I added.  And a nice skull in it. Yeah, I like them types of flowers!

I pondered this greatly as I worked on this small canvas. It is a blue black flower (he pua) with a skull (he tohu o te tangata) in the centre, blossoming upon a vivid blood red background.  As I daubed away at the skull in the centre I asked myself “Geez – why do I like skulls so much?”

Is it all the doom and gloom? A symbol of death?  A morbid fascination with the darker side of life?

 

 

 

Yeah fuck yeah!

 

Ha ha – you thought I was going to say no, didn’t you?

Well, over the last six years I’ve lost a few friends and family, for various reasons.  I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid of what will happen to my son if I should shuffle off this mortal coil before he becomes an adult.

And ever since this started happening, I started drawing skulls.  Lots of them.  Skulls are the ultimate symbol of humanity.  A skull could represent anyone.  It could be me, it could be my son. It could be one of my whānau who have passed on.  It could be you! :O! Nothing represents my essential love for humanity like a good skull.

You can check out photos of the painting in the making on my tumblr or facebook page.  (And while you’re down there, chuck us a like or a follow please? Ta!)

This painting is 8 inches by 8 inches, painted using Golden acrylics and a nice medium as a finishing varnish.  This painting is also for sale! as it is small enough to ship.  I have paypal and can also accept bank transfers.  If you are interested in purchasing this painting, contact me at mel@aotearoa666.com.

This is my first post in Spring! Spring has sprung (at least here in Kaiti, Gisborne) and a merry sneezing season to you all.  I have included some photos of the plum tree blossoms, just in case some of you wanted an actual really nice flower.  Hehe.

The Shed

Part of our glorious Kiwi culture involves sheds.  They are important places to have. While I was growing up The Shed was a place you could clear out and have birthday parties in.  Paint cars. Fix cars.  Store tools. Build things in.  That sort of thing.  So it’s little surprise that I like to use mine as a studio space.

This wasn’t always the way with Shed.  Oh no. Shed had become a storage space for items last seen in Island Bay in the early 1970s.  Record players that used to belt out ABBA tunes to keep four year olds amused.  And then the records, and everyone else’s unwanted records.   At the start of this year, my brother returned home from Australia and he cleaned it all out.  It was amazing.  I helped some, well, very little actually, but I am incredibly grateful to my brother for completing this momentous task.  Thank you!!

So here is a small collection of photos of things I keep in my shed.  Please excuse me while I ruminate some …

I’ve got the rest of my Ngā Moemoeā (Dreams) series hanging along the western wall.  The first one in the set was sold to the H.B Williams Library here in Gisborne.  Then there’s a photo of a collage that used to be on the fridge in Queens Ave (my old flat in Balmoral), and the next photo shows a clock I added frilly bits to and an old photo from The Blooding.  Haha, what is the time indeed.  Next, a nun and her drunken goat army (because every nun needs one), positioned right next to Maleficent. The evil Disney Queen from Sleeping Beauty.  Mmmmm… feeling goth-stalgic yet?

Because I am.

Then there is Cernunnos.  I had him made for me, and he watches over All.  At his feet sits Elvis, a surprise gift! Then there is an old bottle with Siouxsie lyrics on it. You can see some old paintings in the background.  And finally, the Hank Poster from Black Chrome‘s first gig.

So there you go – a quick twirl around the shed. If you fancy a real dance one night, come over for a visit.

Mauri Ora!

He Hono Tangata

You may or may not remember this painting from the previous post about Skulls.

Well, back then this painting was a work in progress. Now it has been finished and sent to it’s new home in Auckland.

The rerenga on the red ribbon reads – He Hono Tangata E Kore E Motu

and is taken from the whakataukī that says:

He hono tangata e kore e motu; ka pā he taura waka e motu.

Nā, ko te tikanga o taua, kāore e taea e ngā hononga te tāngata e whati.  Engari ki ō rātou whakaaro.  Ko tēnei whakataukī e whakamahi ana ki ngā kōrero e pā ana ki tētahi mārena.  Ki a au nei, ko te mea nui e pā ana ki tēnei taonga, ko te kōrero, ko te tikanga rānei.  Tērā pea, ko te tūmanako rawe hoki.  Ae, ko taua te mea nui e mauria ana e tēnei taonga.

The reo pākehā translation of this proverb is

A human bond cannot be severed, unlike a canoe rope, it cannot be severed.

This speaks about the permanency of marriage and betrothal, the closest western proverb I can think of is ‘the ties that bind’.

These loveskull paintings are absolute joys to paint.  Despite my tough, rough n guts exterior (lol) I’m a big softy and love love love! to hear that my friends are shacking up and settling down…  Life. I fucking love it.

So the idea and hopes and wishes behind this painting is to wish my two friends all the best for their marriage and a very long, loving and prosperous life. Two skulls pressed together to form a heart, all wrapped in a big red bow.  Ta daa!!

Mauri Ora ki a kōrua!

Black Number One

This is a piece exploring the colour Black in different mediums. It was inspired by Jo Tito’s Painted Rock of the Day called Paru.  I read about the black mud and how dense and oily it was… and I thought “wow – I want some of that!”

Knowing me I would probably try putting it in my hair.  Mud is awfully good for hair you know. I used to buy this African Mud stuff from the Body Shop and put that in my hair. It was heavily perfumed and processed of course, but still, silky black mud? I’d give it a whirl.

Anyway. Back to Black.

I wanted to experiment with some gloss gel I had just purchased – it has a very nice sheen to it when dry, so I added some black acrylic to it.  Mmmm shiny black.  I drew a star (cos I like stars, as well as skulls) and built up the gel around the edges.  I stained the wood with Indian Ink.  Then I used one of my old stencils and sprayed the words Mauri Ora on it.

Now, if any of you art knobs out there are thinking – “dude that’s pretty Ralph Hotere” (but in a more complicated lexicon of course), then you would be Correctamundo! as the Fonz used to say.  Ralph (I don’t know him personally I just always refer to Him as Ralph) is a HUGE influence on the art I like to make. I don’t think I’m anywhere near as good as him and it’s a bit art school to admit your influences these days, but his black paintings are FUCKING COOL.  Alright, that’s the Ralph rant over.

Black Planet.
Yeah so I like black. I love all the things I associate with it, but don’t care for other’s interpretations.  Leather, denim, latex, rooms, velvet, cardigans, hair, lace, night, warmth, goths,  teddy bears, sad pandas, nuns, goats, Chrome, cats, witches, deep space (9, ho ho), Darth Vader… no wait, I don’t like black metal very much.

Even Blacker!
To me, the colour black also represents peace, and the realm of Te Pō.  I read Cleve Barlow‘s take on Te Pō, where he described it as a place of ignorance (presumably because it is dark).  I don’t like this reading, I thought it was too heavily influenced by colonial ideas of black being negative and white being positive.  And I’ve heard enough of black being the bad guy.  Te Pō is the birthplace of the gods, the actioning of ideas, the place where life continues to grow.  Where things take form and set you on the path to Te Ao Mārama.  But you can’t have one without the other…

Back in Black.
So all these ideas were running through my mind as I layered on these different mediums. I enjoyed the experiment and the process gave me plenty of ideas for more creations!

The Man In Black.
I swapped this small piece (it’s about A5 sized) for the Paru rock, which is now next to my Perfectionism one, under the watchful eye of Darth Vader.  Because I picked up Mr. Paru on the anniversary of Peter Steele‘s death, I called him Pita Paru. (Pita is the transliteration of Peter!)
Peter Steele wrote this wonderfully sardonic song called Black No. 1 – about goths dying their hair….black! So that’s what this post is named after, as well as my rock.  Thanks Pete, you will always rock! hyuk hyuk.

Black Celebration.
After I dropped this piece off, Jo created a black rock and wrote her kōrero about Black. Awesome! Check it out here.  I get a shout out too.  Kei whea mai!

 

Wooden Heart

Treat me nice, treat me good, treat me like you really should…
So sang Elvis in Wooden Heart.  I thought of that song while I was painting this, but the whakataukī I used has an entirely different meaning!

Last year, in my teaching work we were using small A5 sized pieces of ply and drawing on them in pencil.  I took this idea a little further when I came home and sketched a picture of a heart (I have a medical model of one at home, a gift from a friend many years ago).  I added the ribbon and whakataukī He kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea.  This is the last part of the Māori proverb that runs –

He kohonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea
The corner of a house can be seen, but not a corner of a heart.

Basically I understood this to mean that you can never know someone’s intentions, or what’s truly going on in their heart, or what their motivations are.

Acrylic paint on plywood, private collection.