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Deborah Taylor

Never having had any formal art training, Deborah Taylor attempted an online course a few years ago but found the deadlines and stress of it all too much as well as working full time. Other financial constraints had left her feeling inadequate and floundering and after being diagnosed with bipolar, she found art to be cathartic and a means with which to express herself. With a level 5 in Academic Writing, she also likes to write and compose poetry.

“I have always been interested in art since high school especially, my art teacher Mr Hebley was a great teacher. I did unfortunately muck around a lot and never passed art as a subject but I always kept on painting and creating art whenever I could. When my children were little I would always have art stuff set up for them to express themselves through drawing and painting or making salt dough craft. I started painting again when my children were older, as a hobby.”

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Caitlin Johnston

caitlin-johnston-aotearoa-artistSELF-TAUGHT BY THE SEA

By Matt Mortimer

It is said that if you make a job out of what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. For self-taught artist Caitlin Johnston, this saying is her reality.

Being self-taught brings forward a love of creating things, having to channel your inspiration into your work. Whether it is our surroundings or environment, our current state of mind, or our emotional state. Having to be her own teacher is clearly not something that has held Caitlin back, and she offers this advice for those thinking they have to attend a school to get better, instead instilling a solid work effort in the creative space being more advantageous.

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John Dumergue

John Dumergue - aotearoa artist

BELIEVING IN BALANCE

An active family man, at age 71, John Dumergue has the balance right in his life. As a member of the oldest team in the Half Ironman in Wanaka, the swimmer being 72 and the cyclist, 82, his most important advice is believe in yourself. “This is what my running coach would say to me as I lined up for, say, an 800m race. I believe this applies to anything you do in life.”

When John was in his fifties, he spent five years training in the martial art of Kung Fu, with elements of Tai Chi. He became an instructor, enjoying the tutoring of beginners classes. He still runs regularly and counts the benefits as endless. He says art was never a career choice, it was just something he did during his spare time. Although, clearly John’s artistic abilities were part of his career choice after all, as he is also a carpenter by trade, having built his own house at the tender age of 21. Art comes in many forms and what will out, will out. Incidentally, he also has a diploma in writing. A multi-talented man. Now that he’s retired from his job as a Certified Kitchen and Bathroom Designer, he paints about four times a week.

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Chris Emeleus

Chris Emeleus - aotearoa artist

PAINTING WITH PAPER

After successfully completing two years of study at Ilam School of Fine Arts - 1989-90, Chris became ill from exposure to pesticides during a summer holiday work experience. As a result he  experienced acute Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which lasted twelve years making him unable to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. “My artistic development was very much put on hold during this period however, since making a full recovery, the tangent of my artistic development has been plentiful with many unexpected discoveries.” Chris has gone on to achieve a BA from the University of Canterbury, majoring in Sociology, which he finished in 2005.

A bit of a ‘magpie’ character, Chris collects discarded materials, old magazines and children’s books. His inspiration comes from the potential aesthetic beauty of our transcient/throw-away culture as well as ecological awareness. The likes of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol have much of Chris’ admiration due to their ability to use mundane objects and squeeze artistic beauty from them. “I am very indebted to Picasso and Braque as they were both pioneers in integrating collage into their works and helped raise awareness of collage as a serious art form within western art.”

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