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Raewyn Harris

raewyn-harris-aotearoa-artistKORU CREATIONS

By Matt Mortimer

We are spoilt across our wonderful country with such natural wonders and beauty right on our doorsteps – or a short drive away. Napier-based artist Raewyn Harris utilises this, camera in hand, to be reproduced later as beautiful watercolour paintings. 

“My creative soul is driven by daily walks on the beach, around our local estuary, walks in our native bush and in forests, enjoying our lakes and rivers, mountains and spectacular landscape features in New Zealand. All the while I’m challenging myself to learn new techniques and skills. My camera is always with me when out and about and the photos I take provide a rich source of ideas for my paintings. Trips overseas also provide photographic opportunities.” A natural ability and experimentation with materials shine through with accolades coming as early as her pre-teens. 

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Sue Laursen

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TURNING THE LIGHT ON

As the first thing Sue Laursen thinks about when she wakes up and the last thing she thinks about when she falls asleep, the urge to create has always been very strong for her. “I very quickly realised art was connected to my mental wellbeing and as I was brought up in a generation where I was not allowed to show my thoughts or emotions, by the age of 16, I was using my art to tell my story.” 

When she was 16 she was a member of and had her work accepted at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. “This, I recall, some people seemed to be a little amazed about. At the time I didn’t really appreciate the significance of it, but I do now. As the years went on, my style of painting changed and I drifted away from the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, and did my own thing, as the academy no longer liked what I did. Such is life.” 

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Mike Brown

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FULL CIRCLE

Mike Brown, a bone carver born in Pukekohe, now living in North Taranaki, says his art flows directly from his reflections on life.  Carving has become a means of communication about what is important to him - speaking without words. “As a kid, art was important to me, but as the pressure went on at school and university, raising a family and working long hours, art became peripheral. Now, in my senior years, I have found more time and space. As a result, my desire to create has blossomed once again – I’ve gone full circle – how cool!” Mike shares his journey with us.

I am a thoughtful and reflective artist with a particular interest in people, their connections, relationships and spiritual journeys. Belonging is key. “You are never alone – you are part of something bigger than yourself.” For me there needs to be meaning to the pieces I create. I ask myself “why am I making this”? What does it mean? What is its significance? And if a commission, who is going to be wearing this? Each piece is unique in design and meaning. 

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Sarah Pou

Sarah Pou - Aotearoa Artist - The New Zealand Artists Magazine

COLOURFUL AFFAIR

Studying Visual Communication at Unitec in Auckland from the early age of 17, Sarah Pou went on to have her art showcased in several high street art Galleries in Auckland and then later in London. She met her husband when she was travelling in England and her artistic career was put on hold in favour of consistent income.

After the birth of her first child she painted childrens nursery artwork and one of her customers proclaimed that she was an ‘illustrator’. This resonated with her and after returning to New Zealand and having their third child, she felt an overwhelming desire to create again, which she could not ignore. She started to develop her style whilst working and looking after her young family. “Time was very limited so I carved out time in the evenings. Although it was tiring, I felt fulfilled and content when I was creating.”

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Lucia Laubscher

Lucia Laubscher - Aotearoa Artist - The New Zealand Artist Magazine

Lucia Laubscher was born in South Africa and carved an impressive career there around her painting. She immigrated to New Zealand in 2017, and battled with the adjustment of living in a new country with a different culture and set of rules. She started building her career from scratch again and has done exceptionally well in those four years. She tells us her story

When I was five years old, my first grade teacher looked at a cartoon elephant I drew and exclaimed “You are an artist!” This stuck with me throughout my life and my love for creating grew stronger with every passing year. When I was 12 years old my parents ordered me my first oil painting kit in the mail and it arrived with four small canvasses and instructions on how to paint four different artworks – trees, buildings, still-life etc. I enjoyed drawing and experimenting with paint and have always been creative and would find myself doodling all the time.

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Melanie Corby

Melanie Corby - aotearoa artist

ZONING IN

Melanie Corby has an unusual claim to fame: her painting is the first thing people see when entering the Wellington Police HQ holding cells. “I just hope when people walk through, they’re inspired that there is hope and the world is full of colour and brightness. They can grasp a little straw of that and know they’re here for a reason and a purpose,” she said.

I used to love drawing as a child, and I had an Aunty who used to paint. She taught me to make a notebook out of recycled paper when I was about 12 years old. I filled that little notebook with 100s of drawings of cartoons and animals. I had an eye for detail and being able to look at a large image and draw it perfectly scaled down. I took art painting right up to bursary level 7th form. I wanted to do a fine arts degree when I left high school, but my parents said there was no money in art, so I trained as a primary school teacher. 

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Levin Adventure Park Mural

A huge colourful mural has transformed the wall at Levin Adventure Park’s northern border.

At a ceremony to celebrate the mural’s completion last Thursday, Horowhenua Deputy Mayor Garry Good described it as a 300 square-metre landmark piece of beautiful artwork. “From Council’s perspective, it’s the most amazing mural in New Zealand. You won’t see anything like it in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, anywhere. We’ve set a standard with this here in Horowhenua,” Mr Good said.

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Ira Mitchell

Ira Mitchell-Kirk - Aotearoa Artist

IN THE ZONE

The 2010 Christchurch earthquake irrevocably changed Ira Mitchell’s life. In this article she tells of how she faced the formidable challenges of depression and post traumatic stress and found a new direction and purpose through her art.

I was in a high-rise building in Christchurch when the earthquake struck. That, and the ensuing aftershocks, traumatized me to the extent I still suffer from PTS. I was teaching part time at that point and it made me rethink my life and what I wanted to do with it.

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Keith Grinter

aotearoa-artist-keith-grinterEXTREME ART

It is not every day one meets an artist who ‘renounced’ the relatively calm aura of oil paints and easel for the fiery inferno of glassblowing, but it was enough to make Whangarei-based glass-artist Keith Grinter an irresistible subject for The New Zealand Artist Magazine. Photographs by Diana Rees.

Keith Grinter started work in his own glass blowing studio in Whangarei in September 2013. He recalls: “I had been discussing moving to Whangarei and working with Keith Mahy, (one of the founding fathers of art glass in New Zealand), when he unfortunately passed away.”

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Vinny Thompson

Vinny Thompson - Aotearoa Artist

THE PASSION THAT SURROUNDS

When a fine artist was introduced to ceramics the resultant mix was an evocative blend of genres and bold colours recalling another side to what makes New Zealand what it is. Vinny Thompson talks about her life, work and her passion for clay.

My introduction into ceramics came about while I was attending night classes at Archibald’s ‘The Art Place’, in Upper Hutt where I was learning portraiture painting with Mary Archibald. I booked in for a weekend class doing clay sculpture with Wellington sculptor Di Conway who was teaching us how to make ‘roly poly’ women. In the first 10 minutes of having my hands on the clay, I thought, “Oh I can do this! I like this!”

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