Author Archives: Diana Hu



Akiko Diegel



 

1. Tell us about the title of your show “the day before tomorrow”

It is because “today” = the present, and the things that exist in the present may, or may not, remain by tomorrow. The title talks about the uncertainty of the world which we live in.

2. If you could master one tool/skill, what would it be?

Photographic memory of world around me.

3. What’s your usual art making process/inspiration/how do you work? 

Collect information from the world around me such as dismissed events, the mundane, everyday life, forgotten, worn, or abandoned items, and recollection. And from this information, I will deconstruct and reconstruct the concept and images and use this information to create artworks.

4. What are some challenges and perks of being an artist?

I love the big challenges of creating art works from scattered information and new ideas.
Enriching my world through my art practice is one of the biggest pleasures of being an artist.

5. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with?

Ann Hamilton(U.S.A), Ceal Floyer(U.K) , Francis Alÿs (Belgium/ Mexico)

6. What advice would you give to a younger Akiko starting out in the creative industry?

Keep your eyes wide open and don’t stop creating.

7. What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?

My dream is to hold an exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin (one of the most beautiful art gallery in the world in my opinion).

8. What are 5 most important items/tools in your studio?

  • 25 hexagonal ball point gel ink pen from Muji.
  • Double ring note A5 from Muji
  • Impact 3B1 Note Book (32 leaves 64 pages 7mm ruled),
  • iphone 11pro,
  • Mac Book Pro

9. Is there an underlying message you want share through your artworks/art practice?

The most important thing I found through my art practice was actually meeting and expanding my circle of new friends. They enrich my world and life.

 

Akiko’s current exhibtion: depotartspace.co.nz/event/akiko-diegel

Akiki’s website: akikodiegel.com




Survey for Creative Employment Programme




Image: Revolution Creative & Artslab at employment expo

SHAPING CREATIVE EMPLOYMENT IN AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

In May 2020, during Covid-19 Lockdown, the Government announced $7. 9 million to support creative job seekers, building on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) programme.

At Depot Artspace we decided to develop a survey that asked creatives across all practices what they wanted from a such a programme.

Methodology: a short, sharp, accessible survey to encourage participation, allowing for commentary should respondents want to go into detail.
Questions were directed at the components of a programme that would assist creatives to a sustainable practice and employment.

12% of those contacted responded to the survey, which is a good outcome.
There were 6 questions, each one relating to the content and form of the programme components. An outline of the results follows:

1. How important is it to have access to a programme supporting creatives to achieve sustainability/employment? 93% responded it was either very important (75%) or important (18%).

2. All of the listed programme components were seen as very helpful, rating between 65% and 80%.

3. All programme contents also rated highly, between 68% and 100%, with Portfolio, CVs & Cover Letter preparation being regarded largely as ‘somewhat helpful’.

4. Programme service qualities were all regarded as important with empathy being a significant factor in all aspects of the delivery.

5. Of the practical outcomes it was important for respondents to have work that allows them to spend time on their creative practice as a result.

6. All personal outcomes was regarded as important, with confidence and networking featuring as important.

Of the surveys submitted, 66% of respondents took the time to expand on their answers. Many of the comments were positive and others provided the opportunity to add new material to the programme or address issues differently.

 

For further information, this article by Henry Oliver, former editor of Metro Magazine gives you a perspective on what PACE meant to him.

thespinoff.co.nz/politics/29-05-2020/what-the-pace-scheme-did-for-me/




Susanne Khouri



1. How did you get into printmaking?

There was no more room in the painting department at art school (!). They suggested I stay in the printmaking department and also take part in the painting department. But I got hooked on printmaking and stayed.

2. If you could master one tool/skill, what would it be?

To have an ease in drawing people.

3. What’s your usual art making process/how do you work?

 I enjoy my Aquatint plates very much because I can control not only the colour but the intensity of it. Make it strong and deep like velvet or light as a whisper. The screens enable me to add imagery and context.

4. What are some challenges and perks of being an artist?

Challenge: Finding galleries to show my work in. Perks.:… Artmaking is ageless.

5. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with?

Melissa Smith (Australia), Helen Frankenthaler and Nancy Spero.

​6. What advice would you give to a younger Susanne starting out in the creative industry?
As Kurt Vonnegut said “…practice… no matter how well or badly, not to get money or  fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” To study what art can be.

7. What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?

To survive Covid 19, to make and to make and to get better.

8. What are 5 most important items/tools in your studio?

My plates, my printing press, my silkscreens, my water blaster and my inks.

 

Susanne’s Feature Wall exhibition details: depotartspace.co.nz/event/equilibrium

Check out Susanne’s website: susannekhouri.co.nz




Sefton Rani



1. How did you coin up the term “Urban Tapa”?

It was just one of those things that pop into your head and sticks and won’t go away so I figured I should embrace it. As a term it made sense to me as a way to try and separate the work I was making from the traditional concept of tapa and give it a relevance to my environment.

2. If you could master one tool/skill, what would it be?

Alchemy would be financially rewarding but the ability to always stay present would be the skill . Life is short so I don’t want to waste it thinking about the perceptions of the past or the fantasy of the future.

3. What’s your usual art making process/how do you work? 

I create primarily with paint skins that are cast on glass, plastic or objects. These are between 1 -30 layers thick which I collage and layer until a certain visual density is created. I then distress it with combustion, chisels or other implements to give it the wabi sabi feel of the object having a history or having been on a journey. I work 6-7 days a week typically 9-10 hours in the studio each day.

4. What are some challenges and perks of being an artist?

The main perk is my commute to work is walking down 15 steps each morning! I also get to do something that is primordial and essentially human which is to create. The outcome of that creation is irrelevant the ability to make is all that counts. The challenge is once you fully surrender to being an  artist it consumes you. I can’t do or see anything now that I am not automatically analysing colours shapes or form. Also the financial impact of committing to an artistic practice is well known. However I offset that by being an aware that when you know the outcome of something it is an event. I have no idea where my work will go or where it will take me and that is living.

5. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with?

Mark Bradford, Robert Rauschenberg and Ralph Hotere.

​6. What advice would you give to a younger Sefton starting out in the creative industry?

Find your community of fellow artists earlier than I did / am currently doing. These artists are your brothers and sisters that understand the solo war you go through in the studio. Also when in doubt especially before a show (and you always will be) read Martha Graham’s letter which is below. It is advice she gave to a dancer who thought her performance wasn’t good enough. I’m not sure if anything truer has been written in the art world ever. “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

7. What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?

I paint because when I ask how can I make the world a better place the word painting flashes in my minds eye. In 10 years I hope I can get to a place where that is maximised. I trust if I give myself fully and honestly to that and don’t block the flow the universe will get me there.

8. What are 5 most important items/tools in your studio?

My laptop and the stereo connected to it and the 6 speaks that surround me with sound. That way I can control the tempo of the work in the studio depending on what I listen to.

Lighting in my studio. I have a lot of LED tubes to light it up but living in Piha we often have power cuts so when the power stops so does the painting.

My 2 big 2.5 metre long working tables which allow me to work on multiple pieces at once.

A butane torch, it’s how I get the interesting patinas on the paint.

The driveway outside the studio door. In summer it becomes a 15 metre extension of my studio where I can leave the skins out to dry.

 

Sefton will be exhibition his new series of works in the main gallery 15th August – 2nd September. For more info visit: depotartspace.co.nz/event/seftonrani

Check out Sefton’s website: seftonrani.com

 

 




Re-Framing the Future



 

DEPOT ARTSPACE: REFRAMING THE FUTURE

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― Buckminster Fuller

Covid 19 has catapulted us into the unknown. We are trying to make sense of the future and the political, economic and social landscape provides no clear or recognisable signposts. The horizon is so far indistinct and generates insecurity and trepidation. For many of us certainty is more important than possibility, even though it’s littered with the casualties of a flawed system.

Before our need for the known totally takes hold, we should ask how we could reframe the future so that it actually works for this planet and its inhabitants. The world we want began to reveal itself during Lockdown as we celebrated a reduction in pollution, clean air and oceans, less human detritus in the form of cars, waste, less unchecked knee-jerk consumerism, and increasingly more social conscious-ness which includes consideration for others and the environment.

These Covid 19 conditions may be the common denominators of a new world order. To experience peace, goodwill, wellbeing and environmental recovery requires a new vision with creative thinking at its core.

In reframing the future, Depot Artspace, and creative centres like ours may have the edge on other sectors of society. We are acclimatised to the constancy of change, including the unreliability of income and are consequently adaptive, innovative and resilient. We are influenced less by the structured status quo and more by the impetus and inclination of people to find meaning apart from this, for this has been our kaupapa from inception.

In 2002, we wrote in LOUD that ‘wealth is externalised in ownership. Quality of life has become a measurable phenomenon and the human values by which we live are dictated by external imperatives.’

We recognised then that creativity formed the foundation of a new world, and Post-Covid in particular this has increasingly become the view of others.

“Creativity will save the world. People will look to our poets, our artists, our musicians, our dancers, our inventors, our architects, our engineers, our writers and designers to redefine humanity’s purpose post-Covid-19.

Because, at the end of 2020, it will not be business as usual. It will be something completely different. We will have no choice but to adapt to and redefine the changes coming our way, big and small.

But adapt and redefine we must. There will never be a greater opportunity to lead the world forward, and not from a political front but a creative front. It’s not just our job, it’s our existential duty.” The Role of Creativity post-Covid-19, Rohan Reddy

At Depot Artspace, community and sense of place, inclusiveness and accessibility, attributes intrinsic to the environment of support for creatives, are increasingly valued. When other changes may be required because of circumstances beyond our control, they will remain non-negotiably, as the framework of wellbeing in an otherwise fragile world. Under these conditions, creativity will always find form here.

 

Article by Depot Artspace Creative Director Linda Blincko




Vacancy: Depot Sound Manager



Depot Sound is a well-respected community recording studio, based at Depot Artspace on Auckland’s North Shore. Since 1998 it has worked with many artists, from world renowned musicians to emerging aspirants and has a reputation for both professionalism and a cool community vibe.

Depot Sound is looking for a person with a great track record in audio engineering and studio management able to work with a diversity of clients, genres and generations.

Our ideal applicant is well-connected, well informed and keeps current with trends in the music industry.

Depot Sound is part of Depot Artspace, an interactive creative community, with a commitment to supporting the creative sector across all practices.  This is a full time position.  Please contact Lynn Lawton for a position description and for further information about this position.

  Ph 021685737

Depot Sound Website: depotsound.co.nz




COMMUNITY IS THE FUTURE



 

As lockdown passes the halfway mark, what have I learnt from it?

 

A big thing, as I travel around my local bubble and observe signs of a regenerating environment, that I’ll be taking greater care of this living planet which has been so sadly taken for granted.

 

The other thing is, the aspects of life that make it meaningful. A big part seems to be our engagement with others, and also a sense of place, turangawaewae. Distance chatting has become de rigueur, the new phenomenon, with dog life, supermarket behaviour and the weather, good sources of conversation and exclamation. In other words, feeling like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves, but where we have place, which is community.

 

Depot Artspace was built on this basis 25 years ago, and it remains the substance of its life and work. It’s a grassroots community, concerned about its artists and audiences and meeting their needs through keeping its ear to the ground. We believe, more strongly than ever that community is not just important, but is our new future. The qualities we increasingly find meaningful in our lives are the components of community.

 

We have documented this outlook in the many Depot Press publications, and modelled it in our work with creatives across all disciplines. That’s why we’ve created the Love My  Community logo. It represents what is really important in this world and in times to come. Community is a microcosm; it’s the world writ small, and if we live with love in it then we’re making a big difference in the world.

 

We’re going to explore and develop this theme as we move through lockdown and beyond, because we’re committed to being part of a new world. In the meantime, here’s a link to Depot Press where you can see what we’ve been talking about https://www.depotpress.co.nz/

 




SUBMISSION TO THE DEVONPORT-TAKAPUNA LOCAL BOARD PLAN 2020



A Face to the Future: Depot Artspace Perspective on the Creative Community Post Covid-19

This submission to the Local Board’s Annual Plan was prepared before Covid-19 required NZers to Lock down, leaving many community organisations and small businesses uncertain of, and in many instances fearful for their future. It has been reiterated by government and business leaders that there will be a ‘new normal’, although its form has not yet been described. However, prior to Lockdown Depot Artspace had been considering its direction with regard to the changing shape of the creative sector both internationally and locally, in all spheres of practice, employment, service delivery and audience engagement.

Our submission raises these issues as we contemplate a more relevant, responsive and subsequently viable future which is actually synchronistic with the future following the current crisis. In this submission, we address the efficacy of a local focus, built on Devonport’s rich early history, its creative whakapapa, small business infrastructure and strong sense of identity.

This full submission can be downloaded here: LOCAL BOARD Plan Submission 2020




LETTER BY JOHN MINTO



WHEN A CRISIS SIGNALS THE NEED FOR CHANGE

 

We have included this letter on the Arts In Action page, because we believe that alternative views by  people with a long history of involvement in creating a more equitable society need to be given a platform.  John Minto has a significant and respected reputation for actively and passionately working for social justice in Aotearoa.

 

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.  The world needs a new vision of what is possible, ‘that can galvanize people around the world to achieve higher levels of cooperation in areas of common concern and shared destiny.” Buckminster Fuller circa 1965

Nigel Brown. 2012  Exhibited at the Depot during the exhibition, ‘Sum of the Parts’

 

 

23 April 2020

Open letter to government – Redirecting the post Covid 19 government spend

 

We are deeply concerned at government proposals to spend the bulk of our post-Covid 19 investment on large infrastructure projects to match corporate priorities.

Earlier this year before the pandemic, the government announced a $12 billion infrastructure spend with the biggest chunk to go to roading projects and there seems no change in direction with a committee, headed by former Fletcher Construction Chief Executive Mark Binns, to evaluate and recommend which “shovel ready” projects should proceed.

While there are large New Zealand-wide projects which should be funded (eg revitalisation of national and regional rail) it is essential that the lion’s share of the post-pandemic spending be invested in local “public-good” projects across the country.

The corporate sector, representing big business, is desperately keen for New Zealand to return to “business as usual” to ensure a smaller group of wealthier people can continue to enjoy the benefits of economic development at the expense of the rest of us, especially our lowest-paid workers in essential industries.

However, it was clear well before Covid 19 that “business as usual” had failed most of us. Despite the existential threat of climate change, for example, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise year by year as policy decisions have favoured economic growth over human welfare. Similar unacceptable failures are evident in biodiversity, fresh water, rivers and streams, poverty and inequality, health, education, housing, mental health, incarceration rates etc

If we go back to “business as usual” we will simply carry forward the myriad of social and economic problems from the pre-pandemic era, in particular the shocking levels of poverty and inequality which have disproportionately damaged Maori and Pasifika whanau and entire low income communities.

We cannot move forward with people and families on low incomes struggling with high rents while paying a higher proportion of their incomes in tax (through income tax and GST) than those who will gain the most benefit from the proposed corporate-led government investment to “get the economy moving” again.

Meanwhile, local and regional councils across New Zealand are struggling with huge infrastructure deficits from over 30 years of “user pays” policies and privatisation of assets. In everything from sewage to fresh water supply, council rental housing and public transport, to name a few, our local infrastructure is in poor condition.

We have an opportunity with this unprecedented pandemic event to refocus government investment on local “public good” projects which will lead to stronger local communities and sustainability rather than projects which benefit the big end of town and take us in the opposite direction.

The benefits in doing this are many. We can fund projects that are of social benefit at socially appropriate wage rates. These can help future-proof local communities, reduce emissions and pollution levels and take a big step towards sustainability.

Local employment on local projects also brings new opportunities for partnerships with local iwi and urban Maori groups, for example, to dramatically reduce unemployment for those struggling already and who will be hardest hit by the post-pandemic recession.

Many more changes will be needed. Rent controls, a wealth tax and a liveable universal basic income need to be part of the mix.

Without this proposed change to local “public-good” spending priorities, local and regional councils will continue to struggle with rate increases well above inflation and crumbling local infrastructure while at the national level we will be told we must face higher taxes and austerity measures into the future to reduce government debt. It’s time we began reshaping the economy to work for people rather than the other way around.

However, our proposed change in focus for infrastructure spending has an unseen obstacle.

Our biggest political parties, National, Labour and New Zealand First have a heavy dependence on corporate donations to run their election campaigns and will therefore tend to support corporate priorities rather than doing what is best for New Zealand as a whole. We must not allow this to happen.

We need a “new normal” in our economy which focuses on strengthening and empowering local communities to work towards a more sustainable future. It can start with post-pandemic government spending.

 

Na,

Initial signatures:

Annette Sykes – Maori lawyer and veteran human rights activist

Mike Treen – National Director Unite Union

John Minto – Christchurch Progressive Network

Bronwen Summers – Community activist

Joe Carolan – Socialist Aotearoa

Warren Brewer – Community activist

Jen Olsen – Community activist

Andrew Tait – Community activist

Paul Hopkinson – Community activist

John Edmondson – Community activist