Ideas of the Year – Manifesto

As a painter I have spent the majority of my time in my studio throwing paint around but for a while now I have had the urge to try moving image, and with this project I had the opportunity to dive in at the deep end. Don’t get me wrong, the idea to use video was secondary to my concept, I never think that far ahead I’m afraid. The idea comes first then I worry about how I’m going to make it happen.

In this case the project ‘Ideas of the Year’, meant writing a personal manifesto and then creating a graphic representation of said manifesto, to be presented to the class at the end of the project.

The written manifesto got off to a rocky start but after making several drafts I decided on a written statement of intent which I feel accurately describes my position and interests as an artist. The graphic image flowed on naturally from the written form, paint moving backwards, towards the beginning, an artist is always beginning, while key words from the written manifesto appear and then fade out, the end is the beginning a blank canvas.

This was my very first attempt at creating a moving image and I was very surprised at how the video turned out, it’s not perfect but I was really happy with the outcome. And in a way the imperfections suit my notion of the unique quality of painting, humanity and the human touch, therefore I decided not to change anything about it but to take what I have learnt through making it onto the next video project.

I found the creative process challenging but very rewarding and it has given me the bug to create more videos, stay tuned.

The Manifesto.

Wikipedia quotes Tristan Tzara’s ( explanation of the manifesto (Feeble Love & Bitter Love, II) as capturing the spirit of many manifesto’s.

“A manifesto is a communication made to the whole world, whose only pretension is to the discovery of an instant cure for political, astronomical, artistic, parliamentary, agronomical and literary syphilis. It     may be pleasant, and good-natured, it’s always right, it’s strong, vigorous and logical. Apropos of logic, I consider myself very likeable.”

Yes! I too am likeable!!!!

Well if there’s one thing I don’t like to do its talk about myself so I consider myself challenged to come up with a manifesto thats bright, positive, punchy and brilliant… Its entirely possible, I think… umm

So to start I went back to the beginning, we were asked to look at influences and yes I have to acknowledge my parents, Margaret and Pone Utumapu. From very little resources they made so much!  worked multiple jobs to keep us kids fed and clothed, returned to school to get ahead but importantly it was the things money can’t buy that were the most valuable tools that they passed on to me.

  • Respect others and they will respect you
  • work hard, and never give up
  • ask questions, be curious, never stop learning
  • be kind
  • be honest always
  • work hard and never give up
  • live life to the fullest
  • family is everything
  • feed everyone who comes to visit!

I think you get the drift here but mostly I was brought up with the attitude that everyone is equal and if I wanted something badly enough I only had to work hard and I could achieve my dreams.

Well thats what I’m doing now, I don’t want to be famous or rich, but it would be good if it happened.. all I really want to to be able to paint and produce works that bring joy to someone else.

There are two components to this project, the written words and the graphic representation, I’ve made a start on the words and I have an idea or two about the visual… so keep tuned for more…

Just because I hate to not have a beautiful image I’ll leave you with the link to an amazing women artist who embodies the word tenacious! and beautiful and amazing etc.. an incredible story.



Carmen Herrera (b. 1915), Blanco y Verde, 1959. Acrylic on canvas, 68 1/8 × 60 1/2 in. (173 × 153.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2014.63 © Carmen Herrera; courtesy Lisson Gallery, London.

The interview.

On Thursday 5th March I (along with Jeff Robertson) interviewed Wellesley Binding with the intention of gaining an insight into his creative practice and studio processes. The interview lasted for over two hours (including breaks) and a range of subjects were covered, but while I learnt a lot it would be fair to say we only scratched the surface.

This interview along with notes taken from several other sources such as informal discussions while working, studio visits, observations of an artist at work provided the bulk of the material used for all four tasks of the internship.

The interview itself was engaging, interesting and informative, from the beginning we agreed to allow for a certain amount of spontaneity so while I had some set questions, the flow of information was ‘controlled’ by Wellesley. A narrative started to emerge which flowed in myriad directions but all with threads of commonalities and connectivity, it felt less like an interview and more like a conversation.

In a way the ‘interview’ reminded me of my process when I am painting, I start with an idea and then as things start to happen on the surface a conversation emerges and I find myself doing things differently. This spontaneity, or if you like, conversation with the materials and surface, are a key component of my creative practice. Ideas are generated by research and drawing but until I start to actually apply the media to a surface I am never really sure of what is going to happen.

Back to the interview and without going into detail, the key points I gleaned from our conversation are bullet pointed as follows or in some cases I have placed an image that represents key ideas, subjects, and interests.

  • Determination
  • Do the work
  • On Building Bridges, Colin McCahon.
  • Sacrifices
  • Diego Velásquez, Painter (c. 1599–1660). French Impressionist Édouard Manet described the Spanish great as “the painter of painters.”
  • Ivon Hitchens (3 March 1893 – 29 August 1979). English painter, he is particularly well known for panoramic landscape paintings created from blocks of colour.
  • John Olsen, ‘The Spanish Encounter’.
"Spanish Encounter" John Olsen. Retrieved from

“Spanish Encounter” John Olsen. Retrieved from

  • New Zealand landscape
  • Somewhere between the abstract and the figurative
  • Routine
  • Performance
  • Writer
  • Paint everyday
  • Truth
  • Energy
  • Romantic
  • Professionalism
  • Reputation
  • Openness
  • Dedication
  • Stamina
  • Brett Whiteley, “Painting is an argument between what it looks like and what it means.”


The Brief.


Wellesley Binding. Image retrieved from

Wellesley Binding. Image retrieved from

Acting as assistant to Wellesley Binding has allowed me a crucial insight into how a current practising artist maintains a creative practice, generating ideas and seeing them evolve into physical art works through a robust and well run studio process.

As part of the Formal Report for the Internship project we were required to write a brief in collaboration with our employer (Wellesley Binding) which also provided a framework around the mechanics of what we would be doing over the 10 weeks (approx) of the project.

The following is my brief as described in one sentence and then a break down into a summary on each task. Further, each task is then broken down into how, why and what as well as a timetable for delivery, (documented in separate future posts).

The intention of this internship is to support an established artist (Wellesley Binding) through material investigation, a review of their creative practice, and lay the groundwork for development of his branding.

1. Carry out material investigation of texture for Wellesley Binding to use in his works about WW1 in an exhibition at the Hastings City Art Gallery.

2.Create a moving image that critically evaluates and documents my journey as an Intern to an established artist (Wellesley Binding).

3. Research Wellesley Binding’s creative practice and studio processes and create a visual and written representation of this.

4. Critically evaluate the creative identity of Wellesley Binding, summarise this in a form relevant to the creation of a website, logo and branding materials.

During the internship I discovered a great deal (just scratched the surface) about Wellesley’s practice, what makes him tick, how he works to keep the ideas and art work flowing as well as the challenges, the highs and lows of maintaining a successful art practice.

And in return I would discover things about my own practice that were both surprising , challenging and reaffirming.

The following posts document the internship with Wellesley, what I have learnt, the challenges, successes and the lows.

Internship with Wellesley Binding

Back in 2013 I remember starting at Ideaschool as a level 5 student in the Batchelor of Visual Arts and Design programme. It was a warm February day and although I knew a few people from my time as a student in the certificate program (2012), I was knee knocking scared, so many questions and doubts about my place at such an amazing place, I was in hyperdrive with equal amounts of excitement and dread! And then came the ‘getting to know you’ exercises, OMG it was horrible! For someone who is basically a bit of a loner, shy and awkward around a lot of people, I was suddenly thrust into a group of peers at the same stage or further along and in the company of an unknown tutor/teacher, I was petrified.

That was the day I met Wellesley Binding, if I had been scared before that then I was in for a shock, this terrifyingly intelligent and sharp man made me realise that worse was to come. Unfortunately for me I tend to talk too much about nothing when I’m feeling stressed and I reckon if I made a scratch on his conscious then I’m sure I would have been referred to as the ‘idiot’! At least for that first year we didn’t have a lot to do with WB (as I started to call him). But for me it made a huge impression and I was sure that if I had to have him as a teacher he would quickly realise what a fraud I was and kick me out of art school with a swift boot… now I realise that it’s good to feel like that, it made me rise to the challenges faced over the last two years and has made me a better artist and even a better person. I can’t deny there have been others that have impacted on me as an artist and person but it’s WB who has over the last six weeks challenged me to consider what kind of artist I really am and where I want to go after I leave Ideaschool.

Six weeks seems like an inappropriately short amount of time to come to such a point but reflecting back I can see that the previous two years have been leading up to this moment, I knew what I want to do and why but articulating that was hard. Becoming an intern for WB has been priceless and I will always be grateful for those who considered me worthy of such an opportunity, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So here we are six weeks into the first project of the year and in the middle of a term break, besides working at my paying ‘job’ I have plans to catch up on school work and try to continue my own painting practice. From tomorrow I plan to catch up on documenting the internship but for now I have a couple of images to share with you all. Images of a painting I started on over Christmas and New Year 2014/15, prior to returning to school.

This piece is a subconscious rendering of my deepest feelings and thoughts about what kind of artist I am and how I express that to others. If I may, then by returning to the core of my creative practice I began to make marks that express restraint and repetition while emphasising the materiality of paint, and the connectivity between the paint, surface and myself, a sublime moment/s that was both quiet and powerful. My expectation or plan was not to paint a ‘finished’ piece but to place a brush in my hand and let things happen in an instinctive and organic way, hence there appears to be several ‘paintings’ vying for supremacy.

Finally I finished in something of a rush and to date the painting remains in my studio at school, covered by a drop cloth, I had plans to hang it in order to ‘listen’ to it and consider things but for some reason it seems too overwhelming to hang. Like it would swamp the things I’m currently doing in my studio for the internship… I still look at it now and then but only when I’m alone. Anyhow I have started another painting, at home, it seems quieter and has a very different feel but (dare I say it) I think an equally intense being, more on that later, keep posted.






What I’m reading/sketching November 2014

Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances by Arne Glimcher

The first and only complete career retrospective publication of the visionary painter, Agnes Martin







What I’m drawing,







Colour is important to me and I’ve gone back to basics, mixing and experimenting with different types of paint, the following is an exercise using gouache. Loving the darker tonal qualities, earthly and rich with depth and intensity.





Feeling inspired!




Year 2 Batchelor of Visual Arts + Design pop-up exhibition 2014.

Thanks to everyone who supported us in our end of year exhibition and to all my fellow students who made this year so exciting and successful. And to all those unseen friends and family who support us all year but never get the recognition, Thanks!

I’m sure I’ve mentioened this before but apologies to my friends who follow my worthless blog, I haven’t been a very good poster of interesting Happenings so here is a small recap of the last project.

Exhibition Methodology drew together everything we had done over the past ten months or so, from putting together an artist statement to choosing a piece/s of work to exhibit. As well as launching the exhibition from start to finish our group, level 6, BVAD, had to work together in small teams to complete tasks in an assigned area. So for me that meant being in the student do-management team with input to the catering, hosting, sponsorship and digital recording teams, fun!

The main thing I learned was how well everyone worked together and that was confirmed by how successful the outcome was, it was a fantastic exhibition.

Unfortunately I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted, the opening night was hectic and we were only open for a few days, but the following are just a sampling of the amazingly talented people I get to work alongside.

Gabbie Milne-Rodrigues, Pathological plastic OBJECTS, 2014. Static Performance. Materials retrieved by the artist from the Marine Parade foreshore, Napier, New Zealand.

Gabbie Milne-Rodrigues, Pathological plastic OBJECTS, 2014. Static Performance. Materials retrieved by the artist from the Marine Parade foreshore, Napier, New Zealand.



Vicky Reisima. 'Tales of The Bodhi' Series', 2014. Mixed Media.

Vicky Reisima. ‘Tales of The Bodhi’ Series’, 2014. Mixed Media.


Otago Lambert, Untitled, 2014. Paper, bones, wood, charcoal.

Otago Lambert, Untitled, 2014. Paper, bones, wood, charcoal.


Harley Poultney, 'The Man Who Left His Studio', 2014. Mixed media.

Harley Poultney, ‘The Man Who Left His Studio’, 2014. Mixed media.


Chloe Reid, 'Imprint', 2014. Ink on transparency projection, overhead projector.

Chloe Reid, ‘Imprint’, 2014. Ink on transparency projection, overhead projector.


Mary Sullivan 'WW2', 2014. Acrylic on unstressed canvas, clips.

Mary Sullivan ‘WW2’, 2014. Acrylic on unstressed canvas, clips.


Leanne Morrison 'Quantum', 2014. Acrylic and oil on canvas.

Leanne Morrison ‘Quantum’, 2014. Acrylic and oil on canvas (Margaret Utumapu).