Top Art Exhibition - Painting

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Faiyeung Szeto, Wellington College

My plans for 2015:

I'm studying Engineering at Canterbury University in Christchurch. Looking to specialise in Mechatronics, which is Robotics.

Information about my work: 'Superheroes in the Flesh'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

Superheroes have been a big part of my life since I was small. Initially the folio was an excuse or a way in which I could spend time developing and bringing the superheroes I had made up in my head truly into the real world. It was also a labour of love to fuel my nostalgia of the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons. But now that I'm older I've realised the real problems or even trivial problems that superheroes would have to face if they really did exist. I wanted to explore this throughout the folio.

Superheroes exemplify the capacity to do good. I could say they were my role models. The morals of right and wrong and the selfless sacrifice in serving others encouraged, inspired and captivated my younger self. But as I grew up I realised the world wasn't black and white, and superheroes were completely unrealistic. Never the less, I still continued to love them, it must have been because of nostalgia, and maybe I still wanted that world of innocence; of simple black and white. To assume a childlike state of mind where I was uncorrupted by the selfishness of society, the greed and apathy.

I wanted to be a role model to those around me, I wanted to be a superhero in my community, in my school and in every aspect of my life. The folio portrays the struggle between assuming the side of me the conformed to society, when I gave into my own selfish desires and the side of me that still wanted to be the best I could be, to express myself and serve others. I decided to remove the heads and hands of the superhero to show that anyone could be a superhero, and I chose to only continue with Red Alert so that I really showed the duality of his nature and the way he saw himself and how both natures interact.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I chose paint so that I could take the superhero out of the context of comic books, movies and TV shows, so that people wouldn't have any preconceptions and that they would see them in a different light. Fine arts and painting is considered quite refined and serious, which helped the tone of the work to show that the idea of superheroes could be taken more seriously.

I took inspiration from comic book artists such as Alex Ross, book illustrators like John Rocco and well-known modernist artists like Edward Hopper. I had limitations form using my acrylic paint instead of oil, gouache or computer colouring that my artist models used, as I couldn't get a smooth finish. However I realised that the gritty, tactile texture of the brush strokes added to the rawness of my art, helping to keep my superheroes and their environments grounded in reality and differentiate itself from comic art. I used a stencil method in order to create sharper lines, especially in the more detailed and small scale objects. I also used collage to differentiate the background with the foreground to create focus and depth.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

It was tedious and time consuming to generate the amount of detail and complexity. Also, I had to make sure my art wasn't becoming too tacky, as it would counter the ideas I was to portray. It was fun seeing myself as a superhero, as I modelled my own reference imagery.

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Hannah Lawn, Rosehill College

My plans for 2015:

Bachelor of Design at Massey University.

Information about my work:

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I studied a wide range of surrealist and surrealist influenced artists over the course of the year, such as Henning Kles, Salvador Dali and Neo Rauch. The ideas in this folio developed as I picked out what I had found most interesting in the works of these artists. For example, the barren settings with scattered objects and figures seen in many of Dali's works. This seemed similar to memory or dreamscape to me, in which we see only the important detail, or that which directly affects us as individuals. This became a very important idea in my folio.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Acrylic paint, pencil, pen and a whole lot of masking tape.

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Fraser McIntosh, Marlborough Boys' College

My plans for 2015:

Studying Engineering at the University of Auckland.

Information about my work: 'Revolution'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I began with a very narrow concept of the idea of 'revolution' and then expanded it by investigating artist models and different contexts. Eventually I incorporated notions of revolution in the circular sense.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

All of my paintings are oil on canvas. I began most of my paintings with an under painting of one or more colours, which can be seen underneath the completed painting.

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Tayla Willetts, Spotswood College

My plans for 2015:

I am studying chemical and process engineering at the University of Canterbury. I will be painting in my spare time.

Information about my work:

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I am fascinated by gore and the complexity of the human body, but I felt I would be held back by a red colour palate. So I mixed gore with something else I love; cartoons. Ren and Stimpy and sick, gross characters.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I developed my own style in the last two boards. I found techniques that were fun and interesting. I tried to be as experimental as possible. I wanted to create confusion, colour, disgust and beauty, all in one board.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

I found it hard to find my style. My first panel was difficult because I didn't know what I wanted to paint or how to paint it. The more I looked at different artists, the more I added to my paintings and the more I enjoyed it.

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Surita Manoa, Northcote College

My plans for 2015:

Study Architecture at the University of Auckland and hopefully exhibit some of my oil paintings in my school's local art exhibition: 'Affair of the Heart'.

Information about my work: 'Deconstructivism'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I gathered several artist models, some that painted buildings and spaces, some that photographed them, and some that didn't paint buildings at all. I explored formal elements that would best convey my ideas.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I took photos from around Auckland city and sourced photos from online of historic buildings. I dissected these images, collaging them together and pulling them apart in Photoshop. I drew from these images and then painted in oil. On my third board, I paint onto wallpaper samples from a design book.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

Figuring out how I was going to travel from dollhouse imagery to exploded buildings and then technical drawings. I realised that these links cannot be planned in early stages. Rather, I came across new ways once I reached a point. An art board always evolves from what you initially thought it would become.

A lowlight in terms of my school at the time was that we had a terrible fire that burnt down our tech block. I have included this imagery in one of my works in board number 2.

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Eilish Marra, Hastings Girls' High School

My plans for 2015:

Victoria University of Wellington Bachelor of Design Innovation, with a minor in Anthropology and Classics.

Information about my work: 'Portaiture'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

The first stage of putting my board together was finding a topic that inspired me. I chose domestic violence, as I wanted to shed light on the issue that so many people shy away from in New Zealand. The first images set the dark, somber tone that carried on throughout the board. Using black and white enhanced this mood. In the beginning my concept was to have the female face represent the manipulative and restrictive side of the domestic violence. However this concept changed as I began to explore the identity of the female. Through boards 2 and 3 my aim was to depict the disappearing of her identity form realistic to mask-like portraits.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Oil paint, Indian ink drawing. Oil paint layered on canvas. Multiple layers used to increase the depth of paintings. Both fat and lean mediums used.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

The low points in this process were mostly due to time restrictions. It became very hard to juggle art with the rest of my subjects, and because of this I did not finish the 3rd board to the best of my ability.

The high point was being able to develop my portraiture skills, which greatly improved throughout the process.

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Vivinne Wang, Burnside High School

My plans for 2015:

I have been accepted into Australian National University to study the Bachelor of Finance, and will be living in Canberra for school. I wish to continue with my painting in my spare time as a hobby.

Information about my work: 'Spirit of Living'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

I developed the story of a tiger and a human being switching half their bodies as one human sets the forest on fire with his cigarette. My figures have turned into monstrous beings and highlights animal natures.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I wanted to create a mystical forest that cannot be fully understood, so I don't properly set the scenes in my painting. I have chosen watercolour because of its flowing texture that can represent spirits of dead creatures. Also watercolour is great for impressionist painting.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

During the making of my folio, I have tried to go down another path, a more shocking, chaotic and noisy world full of monsters. But I have found it hard to keep the scenes looking mysterious and puzzled, so kept the paintings simple and focused on introducing ideas of animal nature.

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Farrell Robertson, New Plymouth Boys' High School

My plans for 2015:

I am off to study Marine Engineering in Auckland and hope to paint in my spare time.

Information about my work: 'Immature Decisions'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

This board is about not wanting to grow up. As I got older, I was faced with making big life decisions that I really didn't want to make. This is about reminiscing on how easy life was back then.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

I mainly used acrylic paints with acrylic backgrounds, but on some of my side pieces I have used old 50 cent place mats from hospice.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

I enjoyed making my work and in the end have a mixture of relief but also sadness. All and all a good experience.

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Laya Mutton-Rogers, Nelson College for Girls

My plans for 2015:

Bachelor of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington.

Information about my work: 'Reclaiming'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

My initial concept was 'nature reclaiming the world from humans', and I looked at a lot of post-apocalyptic artists like Martin Wittfooth as well as digital concept art online. Also artists who paint plants and nature like John Walsh and David Hockney. I started off with bright blues and greens of nature contrasting the grey-browns of manmade things, which eventually pale as it turns to an almost monochromatic wasteland. I initially had mostly small vines and grasses over everything, but then had much bigger trees to show that much more time has passed.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Mostly acrylic paint, but I also used coloured pencils occasionally, and a white pen for highlights. As the board goes on, I experimented with splatters and running paint more to make it freer and more wild and flowing, like nature.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

I had trouble introducing new ideas to make my work go in new, interesting directions, such as the empty space going into the distance at the halfway point, and making the colour less bright. These are both things that I'm not used to, and took me out of my comfort zone, but I am happy with the result.

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Neeve Sew Hoy, Takapuna Grammar

My plans for 2015:

I am attending AUT, completing a Bachelor in Digital Design.

Information about my work: 'Turn your heart to the treasures of your ancestors'

Ideas / Concepts / Themes

My paint board focuses on the themes of genealogy and family history. I have been inspired by my own family history, as I have Chinese ancestry. This side of my family originated from my great, great, great Grandfather, who migrated to New Zealand in 1868 from Guangzhou. He went to Otago and set up a business in Stafford Street as a merchant supplying miners and goldfield traders, imported goods, and invested in gold mining and water-race projects.

At the beginning of 2014 I visited Otago for the first time and finally saw where this side of my family originated. I found the barrenness and beauty of the Otago landscape very inspirational and the many ruins from the gold mining days were constant reminder of a bygone era, which my Chinese family had been part of.

I have explored numerous symbolic devices to suggest my past and without realising it these became metaphors for ideas about 'home and hearth'. For example, the little cottages in the land began to feel intimate and almost idyllic. I extended this idea by making them domestic objects like teacups and teapots. The Chinese style table presents these items to the viewer and eventually becomes a place where the ancestor and myself meet.

Techniques / Processes / Materials

Across my board I experimented with a range of media. My board begins with traditional pencil drawing. Using the process of wiping off oil paint, rather than using thinners like turps, produced the series of landscapes below this. The New Zealand oil painter, Evan Woodruff, taught this technique to my class. I also participated in a watercolour workshop and this resulted in the painting of the Sew Hoy building of Dunedin on board one, which appears to be melting.

On the rest of my board I used acrylic paint. However I also painted acrylic paint onto an old leather suitcase, inspired by Duchamp's Boite-en-valise - or box in a suitcase - as well as an Iranian photographer called Yuval Yairi.

Highs and lows that arose during the production of my work:

I found it difficult to come up with new ideas and ways to portray the theme of ancestry and genealogy, so that each board would keep changing and developing. Also, because some figures I was painting were historical, e.g. my great, great, Grandfather, I had to create my own photographic references based on them, so that I could use them in new contexts, for example the seated man at the bottom of board 3.

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Kelly van der Hurk, Taieri College

 

 
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