I am hosting a solo exhibition called Tiki Stardust, at the Tairawhiti Museum. Here’s a blurb:
Tiki Stardust is the beginning of an adventure. Tiki is a Māori girl. She loves drawing, books, cats and sitting up late to watch 12 O Clock Rock. This exhibition is a prequel, a heraldic vision of rock n roll glory, originally glimpsed through the television in the 1980’s.
Six illustrated panels tell the very beginning of Tiki and the invasion of the White Devil. S/he is a glitter clad, gender ambiguous rock god/dess that explodes into Tiki’s life. And changes everything.
These vector drawings are the product of an unfettered imagination and Adobe Illustrator. And a very good printer.
This exhibition is based on a very simple backstory of watching (far too much) late night television in the 80s. I used to watch a lot of rock gigs and um, I still do. I think the last one I watched was ‘It’s Alive’ The Ramones in 1977.
If you wanted to get serious for a minute (a very brief minute), then you could describe it as an exploration into bi-culturalism, colonialism and pop culture. All described in pop surrealist terms.
Wow, that was a lot of big words. Sorry about that, I’ll try not to do that again.
Tiki Stardust opens on Friday 9th October 2015 and closes Sunday 12 December 2015.
There are a limited number of catalogues for sale at the Museum.
Another lady, imaginatively called May 1973. She is named after the month she was vectored in. Another month, another t-shirt. With the year ‘1973’ tagged on afterwards. 1973 is a special year, not just because I was born then!
Yes, this one has a song attached to it
There’s this kick ass song called STAR WAR by Supershit 666. It was also recorded by the Backyard Babies. The lyrics go something like this:
I don’t need no doctor
No one’s got the cure for me
Cause i’m a heartbreaker
And a soulshaker
So watcha waitin’ for?
Awesome rock anthem, great to jump around to. I may tend to over-identify with it.
I drew May 1973 in my sketchbook (I have a whole lot that never make it to vector stage). She was part of the plan to keep working in the style of Doris and Angie. She’s got a big heart and shiny blue hair. The May 1973 design is on my t-shirt store here. This one is for all the Queens of the May. If you know a special lady who was born in May 1973, or even 1973 (mint year that it was), this shirt is just the thing! Ahaha, blatant selling gimmick 🙂
You know that song “Angie” by the Rolling Stones? Yeah, this one. I love it. I guess it was only a matter of time until I named a lady after that song.
I usually sing it to guys named Andrew. Especially if they hate being called Andy. I’m good fun like that.
Angie was drafted up at the same time as Doris. Doris may be in the gutter, but Angie is staring at the stars. I put the two ladies together on the front of a hoody. They’re partners in crime.
The original quote came from Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan”;
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
Obviously I fucked up the quoting verbatim bit and used ‘staring’ instead of ‘looking’. I’m an artist, I can be creative like that. Lol.
If you like Angie on her own, you can purchase the t-shirt here.
For you TJ sailors, the hoody is for sale here
Tekau means Ten in Te Reo Māori. There are ten brushes in this picture, one is black, with a bright slash of magenta and a blob of faux ink in the right hand corner. This picture, and the brushes, illustrate my whakapapa (genealogy) on my father’s side.
So, what is this? It’s not a skull, or a pretty rocknroll girl. It’s a brush, this is my brush, this is how I want my brush, one of my favourite tools, to look. My Māori brush – styled in the form of a taiaha. This is my ultimate weapon of choice. This drawing was originally done in pen and ink, then developed in Adobe Illustrator.
It featured in the Toi Tāmanuhiri exhibitions in 2013. There are 4 prints in total. All have sold except one. If you are interested in buying, please contact me.
Gnosis was a group exhibition featuring work by Mary MacGregor-Reid, Math Kabryn, Melanie Tahata (that’s me!), Joel Bradley, Jared Holland, Abby Helasdottir and Steven Johnson Leyba.
It was held at at Nature: Art + Design, Newton, Auckland, from 18 October to 16 November, 2013.
Gnosis basically means to develop your own mode of deep critical thinking, maybe investing time in some esoteric or occult theories. Anyway, I was invited to be a part of this exhibition, by old friend and fellow Art School Girl of Doom, Mary MacGregor-Reid. I produced 3 large posters for the exhibition. They were all done in the style of the star skulls that I posted about here. This post is packed with photos, so I’ll stop blithering and get on with it.
Pics of the prints at home, hanging in the gallery in Auckland and a glimpse of my artists’ statement. A post about the Goat skull design is here.
This is where the Nature gallery was, on St. Benedict’s Street in Newtown. Beautiful Auckland, days like that made me miss you.
This is obviously the fun bit. Hanging out with friends, old and new, was really awesome. Thank you to everyone who came along, Mary for being awesome and Jared at Nature for currating the show.
Introducing Doris, the first of her name. The lead-in lady for a series about rocknroll women that I’ve been wanting to draw for ages. I wanted some strong looking wahine to go with the Turbojugend koruru shirt design. They could stand on their own as strong identities or together as one unified piece. And our Doris is the first of these.
She’s a green lady, with long flowing hair. I don’t necessarily want to reinforce female stereotypes (far from it), I like drawing long hair because there’s lots of lines. And I like linework in vectors. They’re really relaxing to draw. Doris is comfortably seated on the back of a manaia, swathed in a red ribbon that reads ‘In the Gutter‘. A nod to the Black Chrome song ‘Free Peep from the Gutter‘, and a bit of Oscar Wilde, too.
Doris is an old nickname. My punk rock gutter mates would use it to describe a certain type of girl who loves to do her hair and put on loads of makeup. Cough cough splutter. This was referred to as ‘Doris-ing about’.
“Has Mel finished Doris-ing about, yet? Better pour us another drink, mate”
‘Dorises’ show up at your regular DIY punk gig, loaded with cider and ready to hear some fucking great music. It had better be fucking great, otherwise we’re going back to the toilets to put on more eyeliner!
Here’s some photos – of Doris the digital file, Doris the Print, Doris the Shirt and Doris the Shirt being worn at a gig by Jamaine Corpse in Black Chrome. Doncha just love the way these things go round in circles. Thanks for your support, mate!
Black Chrome photos are by Alex from Long Nights, Short Fuses, and are used here with his permission.
If you want a Doris Shirt, visit my Print Mighty store. If you want a Doris print – I have the last of 3 – please contact me.
Almost exactly a year ago, I drew this design to celebrate Matariki. (I’ve been furiously blogging a storm up in June 2014 to try and get this site up to date with my work – but have back dated everything).
Matariki, for me, is generally a time to reflect on those who have passed on, and the new year that awaits us. Unsurprisingly, it happens in the middle of winter, pretty close to the Winter Solstice.
So of course I thought a nice skull was in order. With eyes. One possible translation of Matariki is ‘the eyes of God’ so I took this literally in a pop-surrealist way. There’s seven wrapped in this ghoul’s hair, representing each star of the Matariki (Pleiades) cluster. And some blue frosty breath, leading to more representations of stars up above the banner. I like stars. I use one as a logo. Ahurr. The banner says Aotearoa 666, because well, why the hell not. Probably more user-friendly than Mel RULZ, innit.
Just to reach back in time again, I ran a giveaway on my Facebook page. And I gave away this hoody (which I photographed first before I sent it off to the winner in Australia) for Matariki! Awww, ain’t I nice. I usually like to do things that coincide with my birthday or Matariki. Something for everyone. It used to be having a gig, but now it’s all about the art, baby! Any excuse for a piss-up. In the spirit of totally contradicting myself, I’m not bothering to do a Facebook giveaway this year. I’m waiting until I get over one thousand likes before I start handing out the treats again. Seems like a worthy goal, plus I can procrastinate over what to give away for the rest of the year.
Here’s some pics of the final design, and the hoody blowing in the wind. You can get an idea of how the printing process translates into fabric. It’s still something that’s a bit mysterious to me, pretty sure a visit to the printer would cure my curiousity. If you’d like to own of these – and I’m confident that you will ROCK IT – you can check out my t-shirt store here
Nga mihi mahana
Poster Ghouls – chicks who are skulls with hair wot have flames and hearts and were built (for speed) to go on rock n’ roll posters.
I always thought my Deathpunk Ghoul looked a little lonely, so I drew some friends for her.
The first one is Tweeti Pai – a Maori transliteration of Sweetie Pie. She’s purple, she’s in love with the world and she’s not just wearing her heart on her sleeve. They’re in her hair, her eyes, or floating beside her. She was a lot of fun to draw, after a caffeine fuelled weekend, I believe. I tried not to go toooo overboard on the skull detailing, because I thought she might look like she had stubble! (Sorry DPG, you’re still beautiful in my eyes). If you like the look of her shirt, you can buy one here.
Her friend is the Flame Ghoul. Yes, I did listen to Firewoman by The Cult rather a lot while I drew this. And the colours were definitely inspired by Flame Princess in Adventure Time. What would Flame Princess look like if she was a skull ghoul who listened to The Cult? Look no further. I gave her a Maori name too – Hana for Flame. You can find her here.
That got your attention. Please take a gander at this goat skull design.
Once upon a morning we went on a whanau walk through the whenua at Tawatapu, to hunt goats. I was armed with my camera! Anyone who has driven around the Wharerata Ranges knows that there are a fuckton of goats in the forest up there. I love goats. I could look at photos of them all day. This is probably why I never get much work done. Goats will be the new cats of the internet, mark my words! And please don’t get me started on cats.
We saw a baby goat skull on the train tracks. It was sad – where was it’s Mum? Where was it’s whanau? What happened? These sorts of questions swirled in my head. Those sorts of questions are also one of the reasons I’d make a crap farmer. So I took a photo to remember the moment.
The photo forms the basis of this design. The Aotearoa 666 logo is used as a brush to bring the goat skull out of the darkness. Don’t ask me how the extra face popped up the top there, it just did that. Stuff happens. As Lemmy would say.
This is one of my personal favourites; the photo comes straight out of Tawatapu, also known as Bartletts, where my grandparents lived.
This design featured in the Gnosis exhibition and yes, it’s also available as a t-shirt here.