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Designs architecture. Writer and blogger. Also a freelance architecture and fashion photographer.




Today I finally made it to Gibbs Farm with the team at Architecture for Humanity Auckland. As a NZ art aficionado, it was truly a highlight. Gibbs Farm is a sculpture park of sorts featuring an extraordinary assortment of sculptures commissioned by an obviously very wealthy Mr Gibbs. It brings art from famous sculpture artists from around the world and sets them in a very New Zealand context. The rolling green hills, the pure blue sky and the harsh NZ light brings together this fantastic collection.

Of course, as with all good farms, there are animals abound although these ones were more exotic specimens. Giraffes could be fed near the entrance, alpacas, turkeys, zebras, stags and more could be seen as you wander the site. Having an emu walk beside us at the Richard Serra was all a part of the experience...

Maya Lin

Unknowingly embarking on the walk (read 'hill hiking') around the sculptures, one of my party told me there was a Maya Lin, in which I had a mini moment of excitement. And there it was (visible from the TOP of the hill). Renown for her landscape art, this is still under construction although it looks like they've lumped together enough dirt to farm a small town. The subtle interplay of proportions are the set for whatever this piece will turn into.

Bernar Venet 88.5 Arc x 8

Most extravagantly sitting on the site, and most visible, was Bernar Venet's 88.5° Arc x 8. It was one of my favourites in the collection. It didn't sit on the site as much as it poised, dancing on the hilltop. Seriously, you can't see how the thing is supported. It is a fairly new piece. Corten steel is all the rage these days with architectural works by RTA Studio (eg Ironbank on K Road) being held up high. I actually saw some sculptures from Venet's 'arc' series at Wynyard Quarter (unless I'm very mistaken), and it was nowhere near as powerful as this. 

Anish Kapoor Dismemberment

The most famous sculpture of the farm is Anish Kapoor's Dismemberment, Site 1. I'm a fan of Kapoor's work, the more intimate ones I've seen are, in my opinion, more effective. You felt like you were standing at lip of a giant ear drum and there was something disturbingly anatomical about it. A theme that ran through Gibbs Farm was the striking blue, red, green colour blocks created by a clear sky, red sculptures and the green hillocks.

Len Lye Wind Wand

Good old Len Lye created this Wind Wand and apparently the thing at the top is created by Eric Orr and emits forked electric sparks. Of course, on this fine day you see none of that and even the wind didn't allow us to see the carbon fibre in action. Not that we were complaining.

Neil Dawson Horizons

Have got to say, I am a huge fan of Neil Dawson. There's even one at the University of Auckland campus (Chevron) so I get to walk around it all the time. His work impresses me at every angle (excuse the pun). This piece is named Horizons and is a tangent from his other work. A master of 2D-3D manipulation, Dawson created this enigma that playfully imprints itself on our New Zealand sky like a Lichtenstein print. As we approached it we wondered: is it 2D or 3D? This coming from a bunch of architecture people, we were all tricked by the illusion. You'll have to visit the farm to get the trick! This was one of my favourites.

Zhan Wang Floating Island of Immortals

A strange one was this chrome-like blob that shone from a distance. It actually floated around as we were figuring out what it was. Consulting the guide book, it was created by Chinese artist Zhan Wang, Floating Island of Immortals kind of summarises it quite well. Note how Gibbs really likes his ponds.

Richard Serra Te Tuhirangi Contour

The king of giant sculture art, Richard Serra graced this farm with his great wall Te Tuhirangi Contour which was really stunning, even when seen from the entrance, eclipsed by the hills. I remember the first time I was taken back by Serra's work reading about Monumenta 2008. Mass and scale aside, the acoustics at certain points in the curve enriched the walk with some powerful echos.

I don't think I've had this much of an art orgy since visiting the Tate Modern in London. Needless to say, people, you have to go and visit this gem in the Kaipara Harbour. Just goes to show there are some really great things sitting in our backyard (or at least Auckland's backyard..) so turn off the rugby and see some phenomenal art! You can just imagine Alan Gibbs sitting in his enormous property soaking it all in but what a generous thing to share his contribution to the NZ art scene to the rest of us.

Visiting instructions are available on the Gibbs Farm website. Entry is free although donations to the Kaipara Harbour area are welcome at the door. There are open days once a month.


The charity Cordaid, with the the help of advertising big guns Saatchi and Saatchi, have devised an evocative campaign where first world consumer products are compared to the cost of an essential item for life in Africa. The photographs depict people in high fashion poses with luxury products in their native environment - the juxtaposition is jarring and is strangely alluring in its fakery. The cost of each is compared to essential resources and wow, does it punch the message home. 

The perfect satire to your standard 'stunning model - glamorous product' ad, these photos are making people dish out for the cause.


Eames: the Architect and the Painter. Yet another reason why people shouldn't be bound to merely one creative discipline but branch out and generally just relax a little.

I, for one, really want to watch this doco film.


DMONIC INTENT is an up and coming fashion label, thriving on the enthusiasm and passion of the Woolridge sisters. I paid them a visit at their workspace - a productive conversion of the good ol' garage in Glen Innes.

Max, one of the sisters that make up DMONIC INTENT. After having tried many different creative disciplines, she had a eureka moment when she found her sweet spot in fashion.

Creative workspaces have always been a fascination of mine. My own has always been a bit of a dark cave filled with gigantic sheets of paper, chemicals, modelling materials and a shelf crammed full of books. It reflects my creative practice and this can be said for pretty much any creative person.

In this way, the workspace of DMONIC INTENT is full of an interesting mix of tools and inspiration. A Maori whakairo carving stands in the corner, a sentinel of the space. A little jewellery making desk is full of promise but at the moment is intruded with boxes of textiles. On the cutting table, a huge scroll of brown pattern making card unravels potential. Beyond the garage door, their creative community, including their photographer, sits around a table for a cuppa and a chat.

DMONIC INTENT makes more than just clothes. Their stunning jewellery collections are a force to be reckoned with. There is also a graphic design feel mixed into the conceptual drawings tacked on the walls, probably owing to Max's background in graphic design. I love their fun, easy going attitude to their art and how welcoming they were to invite my friend and I to visit.

DMONIC INTENT are due to be featured in the 2012 NZ Fashion Week in the Miromoda and New Generation Shows. Some of their jewellery will also be featured in other shows so look out for them! Check out their work on the DMONIC INTENT Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.


About a month ago I read an article about a "new creative venue" in Wellington called August that sits off the vibrant Cuba Street. The article touted it as a place for everyone to come together and celebrate craft, creativity and innovation. A collaborative creative space. 

How it actually plays out, I'm not too sure. It definitely will be one of my to-go destinations next time I'm down there. One month down the track, have any Wellingtonians gone there? If so leave a comment below.

Creative space is a tricky one outside of the university/exclusive studio environment. There's so much going on but different groups cling to certain people and areas. Spaces such as August are a great way to air the creativity that exists within lots of people. From where I see it, it sustains itself on a communal coffee shop with creative people using the space or exhibiting there, perhaps like Tea Culture on K Road. Run by the Te Karanga Trust, they have a radio station, gallery space and a fantastic loose leaf tea shop - one of my favourite spots in the area. Once I even went to a live poetry recital there.

In Auckland, there is a creative shared workspace called Tangleball which is intended for like minded people to meet, collaborate and develop their ideas. Another similar venture which is not tied to a particular space is Scribble which happens each week on a Monday. As well as being a great time, usually at a hip bar, it allows new ideas to be bounced off people of various backgrounds who have a vested interest in creativity and innovation. I've certainly found it useful and have enjoyed connecting with these groups.

Leave a comment below if you've been to any of the above or if there are any that you would suggest to the creative community. It would be great to foster more of these creative hotspots which take the creativity out of the private gallery/studio and into an all-embracing making space.


The humble beginnings of the nuclear arsenal used around 1945 were not quite so humble. The Trinity Atomic Bomb pictured above was the first of the USA's repertoire of mass destruction and concentrates a mass of nuclear science, functional design and a will to destroy.

Martin Miller, a photographer who tends to disseminate the grit of mankind, created a visual perspective of the atomic bomb's history with a series called the "Manhattan Project". Reduced to objects devoid of humans, humanity seems to be sucked out of these images yet the subject itself has everything to do with humanity. It is a bare bones view of these weapons of mass destruction. However you see it, whether as an intriguing design or an alienesque calamity that a bunch of humans dreamt up, it is a very relevant topic of today and these images offer an objective look at what has led up to it.


Walking down Lorne Street today, the Gow Langsford Gallery drew me in. Paintings by Pacific artist John Pule hung on the walls, a collection of unbound canvas and spilt colours. He is one of my favourite artists of Islander culture, especially his work that was shown at the Auckland Art Gallery a few months ago.

Inside one of the pieces caught my eye. 'Sun' was just as its namesake, vibrant and affecting. Painted on a large square of canvas, edges raw and curling, the piece glowed with symbols and patterns of significance (an Aztec influence?). When standing in front of the painting, it fills your field of vision with colour like a Rothko colour field painting and I could feel the bright yellow pulsating with my heartbeat.

So I started a short wander around the Art Precinct of Auckland (note my previous post Precinct from almost a year ago). I visited the OREXART Gallery at the top of Khartoum Place, actually one of my favourite, hidden spots for seeing quality art. This time it did not disappoint - I was greeted with a collection of Emily Karaka paintings and a range of contemporary Pacific art to my liking. It must be Pacific themed art month or something.

Irami Buli's large painting was a pleasure to read. Amongst Pollock style bands of chaos, anthropomorphic and ambiguous scenes are both perplexing and give an edge of the freaky. The other thing that is striking is the all seeing eye which feels Egyptian in lineage.

Heading toward the new Auckland Art Gallery, the installation in the mirrored pool outside has changed to yet another gesture to the Pacific. Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi's 'Aotea (Long White Cloud)', a stainless steel, three dimensional piece, sits aptly on the water's surface. The effect is amplified by its reflection and beckons to New Zealand's Maori name - Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.


Every once in a while, I'll be sharing a bunch of my photos from different locations under the title 'Exposure'. This is the first of this series. I always try to find some way new to use my DSLR, not just take a snap of everywhere and everything, but actually finding things that are more unique in it's instance. Having a rather old model of DSLR helps and hinders this goal - the technology and quality is lacking but the semi-retro lenses and old camera body allow me to abuse it a little. When a tool transcends being 'precious', it is when you can fully utilise it.

Westhaven by night. The mid-winter chill sets into your bones. Obviously a lot of long exposure times going on - I set it, I walk away, have a chat, search for more shots and return (old DSLRs have a long processing time after the exposing time). My camera sucks at bokeh so nothing wonderful came from it and all the Harbour Bridge shots landed in the recycling bin. 

Searching into the distance and zooming up close, barely discernible dark areas turned into an aggressive stabbing of artificial lighting reflected on the water. 

And of course, where ever there is sea water, there is a huge amount of erosion and corrosion to acknowledge.

More photos on my Google+ album Westhaven Photoshoot.


I know the movie Inception is old news, but it never fails to sneak into conversations in my circles. That might have something to do with one of the supporting roles being an architect and that most of my crowd have something to do with architecture. So what is the fascination with it? The complexity? How the movie screws with your mind? From my point of view, I think any architect/architect-in-training with a drop of imagination revels in the idea that there could be a boundless creative space that one can make sheer creation. Cue the architects' god complex.

The point is, creativity is defined by its bounds. It is also limited by its bounds. For an artist, it might be funding, what space you can get hold of and how to stay alive in your freezing studio, but that is an influence on the work produced. An architect deals with an assortment of complexities that all have to work together: resource consent, building consent, will the thing stand (if it will stand in an earthquake is another matter) and, quite importantly, with all that in mind does the building still work?

The characters in Inception are stuck in a place where the creative bounds are stretched. The architect has full control over the environment. A forgery expert is like an extremist actor turned identity thief that can become the person he is acting. People can battle without gravity. There's even an avant-garde pharmacologist.

Infinite creativity, stretching back to the creative psychological theories of Jung, is both a theme and an ongoing movement. The movie itself has spurred a lot of thought. Graphic designers have made countless infographics to try to untangle the mental knot that is left after watching it (possibly a few times). Memes have sprung up and it seems to have become a common reference for whenever something is within something else or not knowing how you got to certain places.

Whether you like the movie or not, and beside it's action packed drama, clever motifs and award winning everything, Inception carries a lot of themes about creativity that creative people can relate to.


What is the first thing that comes to your mind with "poetry bombing"? Sounds a bit dubious to me ever since hearing about poetry jams and grammar slams (......). But in fact, poetry bombing actually carries much more weight.

Planes fly overhead and drop thousands of poetry cards down to the city below. The creative effect of it all resounds with the message of peace by reflecting the imagery of war time air bombings. The project is thanks to the Chilean arts collective Casagrande who did this in Warsaw and most recently a few days ago on London's Southbank.

I think it is an extraordinary way to interact with a good dose of poetry and is a sombre, meaningful action.