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
This is a whanau illustration, of my maternal grandfather, Tawhairiri. He was one of the last cowboys. A real legend, in his grand daughters’ eyes. The first picture is a portrait from 1993, at his last family Christmas with us. Papa Tawhai passed away in 1994. I named my son after him, Tawhairiri. Or Tawhai, for short. While I was growing up, he lived in a converted school house at Bartletts (about 30 km south of Gisborne). His father is buried in the family cemetery there.
This was an experiment in pop art portraiture. Hopefully more Johnny Romeo than Andy Warhol. The colours were inspired by the land and seascapes around Whareongaonga, Tawatapu (Bartletts), Wharerata and Muriwai, all south of Gisborne. For more information about the whenua and moana, please visit Te Iwi o Ngai Tamanuhiri on their website or facebook page.
A framed digital print featured in the tribal exhibition, Toi Tāmanuhiri, at Te Muriwai Marae in 2013. It’s shown in one of the photographs, alongside art pieces made by my older brother and sister.
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
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.
Well, weren’t we all about the Turbojugend at this time of year? You’d almost think it was Christmas!
This is a t-shirt design that I worked on in 2012, specifically for Turbojugend Aotearoa U-666. It’s something that I started a while ago, and is basically a reworking of the mask face I painted a few years ago. You can look at that here.
This time, I got all fancy and vector-fied it in Adobe Illustrator. Inspiration for this shirt came from the Hinematioro pou that visited the Tairawhiti Museum earlier this year.
Hinematioro was a high-born lady who was alive around the time Captain Cook ‘discovered’ New Zealand in 1769. There’s plenty that has been written about her, follow the link on her name and learn yourself some East Coast history.
I wanted to use pre-European Māori art and use it to tell a story from contemporary times, with plenty of contemporary touches, of course.
I looked at the facial structure of the pou and the lattice-like work around her.
I imagined that the lattice structures were really small manaia working their way around the face, but attached, like hair. Mmmm, writhing hair pieces…
Then I added the Turbojugend peak cap, some makeup and ANA!
There she is. Baleful one-eyed glare and all. I used purples and greens on a navy shirt to get that whole underwater feeling, adding a few highlights to try and mimic the way sunlight bounces off objects in the water.
But what are the manaia getting up to? They look like a bunch of mischief, madness and mayhem…! A bit like the Turbojugend…
So here are the photos. They are all of the shirt itself, there were no prints made of this design. I have included some pictures of Yours Truly wearing the shirt at the Turbonegro gig in Melbourne this year. ROCK!
You can purchase this shirt from my Print Mighty store.
The link is here: http://aotearoa666.printmighty.co.nz/products/turbojugend-aotearoa-u-666-ladies-navy