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Shapes in Work History Evident in Art

John Dumergue - aotearoa artistBy John A Dumergue

Someone said to me recently that an idea I had was very clever, to which I replied jokingly: “Just as well I stayed on those extra two years at school and didn’t leave until I was fifteen.” This was also the start of my working life.

Many people stay in the same job all their working life which is fine, but for me I had a few jobs but these were all related to the building industry in some way.

Now the shapes in my work history are evident in my art because of the following:Work-history-john-dumergue-aotearoa-artist

• Carpenter by Trade, Self employed Architectural Designer, Spa Pool company,

• Sales Rep with a Timber company, and finally a

• Kitchen and Bathroom Designer. I was also involved as an NZQA Kitchen Design Level 3 Assessor.

While not everyone has a University Degree, having a trade background does open doors to other employment opportunities. Having common sense is another benefit of completing a trade.


Handrail profile abstract painting

While at the Spa Pool Company I was asked to construct the timber surround work for a spa customer, the result is the photo with this article. The round shape is in some of my art, as are the angles in roof designs. Another round shape is also in the black and white photo of a kitchen I designed with table and seating. This was for a kitchen and appliance showroom in Christchurch.

The abstract paintings of angles are from roof pitches as in the angle lounge window in the house I built, also from architectural draughting. While working for a Timber Company I organised the timber for the handrail on the New Brighton Pier here in Christchurch. The pier was still under construction with more work still needed to extend it out to sea. I walked along the completed portion then down a ladder to a temporary wooden platform that swayed slightly.

The platform consisted of thick boards with about 30mm gaps between each and you could see the water below. It was a little unnerving. There were temporary piles beneath to about 5.0m.

The timber for the handrail was placed in a kiln to help the drying so it could be machined to a profile. Fibreglass dowels were used to connect each length of timber. The pier is 300m long, times this by two plus the curved end of the pier is well over 600m of handrail. I used the profile of the handrail for an abstract painting.


TOP Left to Right: ‘Napier’ – acrylic on canvas | Red Shapes – acrylic on canvas | Circles- acrylic on canvas | Geometric – acrylic on canvas. MIDDLE Left to Right: Apartments – acrylic on canvas | Beach huts – acrylic on canvas | Beach houses – acrylic on canvas. BOTTOM: Angles in abstract – acrylic on canvas – each 510 x 420mm

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