Featured Artist



Oleg Polounine

1. How and when did your art journey begin?

I have been interested in art since childhood, however, it was just a few months before my final master’s exhibition that I figured out the visual language that defines my art.

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

I start off with drawings, then I make cardboard models which have to be in a one-to-one scale, as the composition usually doesn’t like being scaled up. A large part that drives me as an artist, is that I really enjoy the process of making and learning new skills as I go.

3. What was a challenging time & a time of highlight in your journey as an artist?

Art can be a struggle, and you do tend to suffer for your practice, so it is always a highlight to be in a community that is there to offer advice and support.

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

If I was a linguist, Alberto Giacometti, the quintessence of an artist, then Donald Judd whose art has always inspired me, and one of my earlier inspirations, Salvador Dali.

5. Where/what/who do you draw inspiration from?

The process of making can be quite inspiring in itself, as my practice often requires research of new tools and techniques which I enjoy.

6. What are 5 most important items/tools in your creative practice?

Hobbies, as those are often other expressions of creativity, being in nature/exercise, reading, talking to likeminded people, looking at art.

7. How can young emerging artists like yourself be better supported?

For me it was important to have a space to work, having a group of people to make proposals for group shows in artist run spaces, and being part of critique groups. It would be better if there was more information available for artists that are just starting out and better support from the government that caters for those individuals.

http://olegpolounine.co.nz (website)

Oleg Polounine – Selected Work 2015-2020 – Depot Artspace (Exhibition 22 May – 2 June 2021)



Wendy Pettersen

  1. Could you briefly explain the rationale behind the exhibition title “What if?” for audiences?

To invite people to imagine an urban/suburban environment that included wild creatures- and in New Zealand that would be the birds. New Zealand is thought of as the sea bird capital of the world

  1. This exhibition advocates for nature & wildlife. What are some personal experiences/events in your life to spur on a passion for this?

Our trips to Miranda to photograph the godwits, knots, stilts, oystercatchers. Watching the flocks of birds preparing for their long flight north is breath taking. I grew up in an environment in which there were so many creatures- insects, birds and mammals and we are losing them to our detriment

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

I take photographs of landscapes and birds. Once I have an idea I draw from them; in this instance I would first choose the birds then decide on a suitable habitat, I do many drawings from these photographs so that I understand the proportions of each species and how they move. Then I experiment with different compositional ideas. I use thin washes of oil almost like water colour. In this instance it is to reference pre-colonial painting.

  1. What was a challenging time & a time of highlight in your journey as an artist?

Never having the time to fully realize an idea when I was teaching.

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

I would love to spend an evening with Joseph Banks to learn what New Zealand was like, Ralph Hotere and Fred Williams. I love the richness of Pierre Bonnard’s colours and his oblique viewpoints. Actually I would like to have dinner with Buller and serve him an incapacitating concoction.

  1. From your experience teaching art in high schools, what advice would you give to a younger artist starting out in the creative industry?

Find people who inspire and challenge you and build a community that sustains your development

  1. What are 5 most important items/tools in your creative practice?

Camera, phone, very fine brushes, dark wash pencil, fine smooth canvas

  1. You previously held a solo photographic exhibition at the Depot; what visual mediums do you use in your art practice and what is your relationship with each one?

In the solo exhibition I did multiple black and white film exposure so there was an element of serendipity. However I prefer the control of paint and painting is a lovely way to spend the day.

 

Wendy’s exhibition “What If?” will be showing at Depot Artspace 20th March – 7th April.

See link for full details: depotartspace.co.nz/event/wendy-petterson



Trixi Rosa

Trixi Rosa is a listener/learner/poet/artist from Punakaiki, Aotearoa, currently living between
Tāmaki Makaurau and the unceded Kulin lands known as Melbourne. She works for local
non-profit organisations, collaborating with other artists to co-design community arts and
cultural development projects with youth.

double-knotted shoelace, Trixi Rosa’s first published collection of poetry, is grounded in both
her experience & observations. Growing up in a small, isolated community in Te Tai Poutini, Te
Waipounamu (West Coast, South Island), it touches on her connection to place, bloodlines,
grief and loss, generational trauma, gendered violence, mental health, addiction, shame,
and intimacy.

Trixi Rosa has had work published by literary bodies such as Hunter Writer Centre (AUS),
Genre: Urban Arts (USA), Maternal Journal (USA) and Verity La (AUS). She has performed and
exhibited work locally and internationally at First Site Gallery, Emerging Writers Festival,
Melbourne Writers Festival, The Bowery Poetry Club (NYC), Chopin Theatre (Chicago),
Footscray Arts (FCAC), Seven Sisters Festival and The Wheeler Centre. In 2019, she undertook
the Emerging Cultural Leaders residency at Footscray Arts and also completed a Masters of
Socially Engaged Art at RMIT, receiving the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Academic
Excellence.

Trixi Rosa’s work is a tender and restless unravelling of self. She uses personal narrative to
carve an awkward inquiry into the intersections of identity and endless pursuit of place.
Moving through word, body, matter and space, she shares stories of stillness and fluidity,
resilience and vulnerability.



Sayed Ali Karam Jawhary

How did you start Nastaaliq Calligraphy, and what drew your interest to this art form?

I started in Afghanistan; the alphabet is similar to Nastaaliq calligraphy. So, I guess my interest started at seven years old in school. However, I had to flee the country due to warfare. Thus, I left and moved to Iran at 17/18 years old and saw an opportunity to take a Nastaaliq art calligraphy course, and my interest grew from there.

The Nasstaaliq calligraphy you create rotates around a particular poem or passage from ‘Ancient Persian Poets.’ What do you think is more critical the visual Art or the written words?

I don’t think it is possible to separate the two; they both go hand in hand.

What has been your most treasured art piece?

Perhaps the one I use on my business cards. Inspired by Rumi ‘Raise your world, not your voice.’

Ali, you have a very interesting/traditional way of crafting your art pieces through using a bit of bamboo as a pen and ink; where do you get your art supplies?

I usually get the bamboo from a park near my house and the ink I found in an art shop.

What’s the process of your art /how long does it take?

The process of my Art depends on my psyche that day and how I’m feeling. I usually listen to the famous Persian singer Shajarian. Though calligraphy, unlike other art mediums, you have to start again if you make any mistake. Though going back to how I’m feeling that day, it can usually take an estimation of between one day and two weeks to finish.

How do you hope to inspire others wanting to get into Nastaaliq calligraphy?

Well, they have to be absolutely madly in love with their Art as I am.

What does the future hold for you, and are you planning another exhibition?

Yes, I am, though it was supposed to sooner than now called ‘To be One Heart’ and to continue to teach and educate people through Art, as I believe that’s my duty and to quote Rumi, “we came to make this earth beautiful.”

Excerpts of interview article by Lee Lee Williams featured in Auckland Life  (12/11/20)



Tina Frantzen

1. What are Ley Lines?
Ley lines refer to straight alignments drawn between various historic structures and prominent landmarks

2. This exhibition is very personal to you. What is the main motivational factor for you in creating this exhibition?
As I have lived in Devonport for 50 years, it seemed a fitting time to reflect and celebrate that in my creative works. It is also the place of my first exhibition after completing my painting courses. I am very grateful to the Depot Artspace for then offering me a solo exhibition at Satellite, their gallery offshoot, thereby launching my art practice.

3. What’s your usual art making process/inspiration/how do you work?
I work very much by intuition, attempting always to capture ephemeral moments be they in words, in paint or in my camera. It requires a level of awareness and receptiveness which in turn helps to keep me grounded and in the present. I meditate before commencing painting and form my poetry in my head as I walk.

4. What was a challenging time & a time of highlight in your journey as an artist?
Following a diagnosis of cancer and some complicated and arduous treatment, I was unable to paint for quite some time. I missed that ability to be able to lose myself in my painting, however my camera was my constant companion and I was still creating images daily to document my journey that difficult year. The highlight in my painting is the exciting moment when a work just evolves in a way that totally surprises and delights me.
Another is the moment when a buyer falls in love with the painting that is really meant for them, none of which can ever be planned! I love to know that my works are re-homed with people who feel they really need that particular work.
Being selected as a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards in 2015.

5. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with?
Rembrandt whose works I love and who has been my inspiration, Leonardo da Vinci, who is a polymath and a genius in so many fields beyond his painting, Kandinsky whose paintings are free and joyous.

Rembrandt: “Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.”

Kandinsky: “Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”

6. What advice would you give to a younger Tina starting out in the creative industry?
JUST DO IT! Be true to your own work which is your own fingerprint and avoid self judgement and doubt. Become part of a group of like minded creatives who support, encourage and inspire each other. Every so often experiment and play with totally unfamiliar materials. Happy accidents can happen that may spark a different direction.

7. What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?
To develop a consistent coherent body of work that challenges me and continues to evolve, surprise and delight me.

8. What are 5 most important items/tools in your creative practice?
Apart from the obvious i.e. materials it would be: my camera, my resources for my mediation, particular music, a space that provides solitude and finally my much highlighted, post-it noted, well thumbed go-to book for inspiration, reassurance, problem solving and all round wonderful assistance for any creative.

Tina’s exhibition at Depot Artspace: depotartspace.co.nz/event/tina-frantzen

Tina’s Website: tinafrantzen.co.nz



John Horner

  1. Tell us about the title of your show “Plein Air & More”
    Plein Air painting and sketching have been a way of life to me on my travels. And ‘More’ refers to works developed from these studies in the studio.
  2. If you could master one tool/skill, what would it be?
    The skill of capturing atmospheres and experiences in paint is key to me.
  3. What’s your usual art making process/inspiration/how do you work?
    I work in short periods of intensive energy. If the creative juices are flowing run with it  if not I quickly do something else.
  4. What are some challenges and perks of being an artist?
    A perk is always having something to do, in retirement and lockdown. Challenge is to stay motivated and positive.
  5. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with?
    Colin McCahon, l wish I had talked to him more at art school.
    Max Ernst, zany character.
    Henri Matisse – a great inspiration but I would have to learn more French.
  6. ​What advice would you give to a younger John starting out in the creative industry?
    Have confidence in yourself and take opportunities. Teaching is a good way to impart knowledge.
  7. What would you like to achieve within the next 10 years?
    Travel a lot and exhibit every couple of years. Stay alive.
  8. What are 5 most important items/tools in your studio?
    Full bodied quality acrylics, screen printing squeegee, watercolour set for travel, good range of brushes, Schminke pastels (brilliant).
  9. What excites you the most about your upcoming exhibition?
    Its the first time I have exhibited plein air sketches in my career, also looking forward to the Depot Artspace as a great venue and being back on the shore.

John’s exhibition at Depot Artspace: depotartspace.co.nz/event/john-horner

John’s website: JohnHorner.co.nz 



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



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

 

 



Michelle Male

Michelle Male is a Devonport based artist working on watercolour and oil.  Born in Manchester, Michelle began drawing at an early age, studying life drawing and art as a teenager. She immigrated to New Zealand in 1995, and under the guidance of master painters Rob Campion (oil) and Brian Millard (watercolour) she has been learning to master her chosen mediums.

The expression of animals has become the focus of Michelle’s work, resulting in a body of work that captures magical moments of dogs on local beaches. Michelle collects study-photographs on early morning walks around Devonport with her golden retriever, Rhubarb, which is possibly the most painted dog in Devonport! She enjoys painting in a large, realistic, energetic style – reflective of the subject matter.

Michelle is currently compiling an extensive collection of oil and watercolour paintings with a view to a full exhibition in the next year.



Dasul Lee – Sculptor

“Familiarity, stereotypes or preconceived ideas often prescribe our impressions and perception…By manipulating materials and objects that everyone has experiences of, or are familiar with, viewers are invited to reconsider the value and the power of the mundane object, and to realign our relationship to objects and their relation to the world.”

Originally from Korea Dasul Lee moved to New Zealand in 2004.  In 2015 she gained a Masters of Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts.  Dasul draws inspiration from artists such as Tom Friedman and Tony Feher, who strive to re-articulate and reanimate mundane household items and challenge the states of being and meaning in their existence. Her fascination with ‘everyday sculpture’ stems from her time as a freelance graphic designer, and her natural affinity for observation and interpretation.

“One day I was in my studio and looking at some juxtaposed stationery items on a desk,
when I selected only the black linear items among them to place them in order from small to
big. It was a simple gesture but the way the lined objects show similarities and dissimilarities
caught my eye and I suddenly thought, ‘I get it now. I just made a sculpture out of everyday’.
Then I started to expand my artistic endeavors on the sculptures that play with and
challenge perceptions of the objects and space with daily familiar materials by applying
questions like “What If and could everything perhaps be completely different, what else
could this mean?”

Dasul had an installation at our Woven exhibition in February 2018. You can connect with Dasul via Instagram @dasul.lee



Kauwiti Selwyn – Opera Singer

“Ko te ohonga ake o taku moemoea, ko tera te puawaitanga o te whakaaro”

“The awakening of my dreams, is the blossoming of my aspirations”

-Kauwiti Selwyn-

Kauwiti Selwyn is an opera singer and painter originally from Kaikohe. A proud Maori Cook Islander, Kauwiti has performed opera extensively around New Zealand, including opening for Sole Mio. As a painter he was under the tutorship of Theresa Reihana,  a close relative to Jermaine Reihana.

“From the moment Kauwiti Selwyn begins to sing O Sole Mio (in Neopolitan dialect) onlookers are spellbound by the young tenor’s confidence and poise and captivated by a presumably professionally trained voice of undeniable maturity and quality. It’s staggering to discover he’s only just turned 16. If a comparison is made (and quite a few make it) this young man sounds like the nearest thing to Luciano Pavarotti to be found in the Antipodes.” – New Zealand Herald, April 2014

Kauwiti performed at the Woven opening event and displayed 3 paintings in the Woven exhibition in February 2018.  You can stay connected with Kauwiti via Instagram @atiu_prince



Pascal Harris – Pianist & Photographer

Pascal Harris started playing the piano at the age of eleven and soon became immersed in music on acquaintance with the work of Bach, Mozart and other great composers.  You can see a preview of his performance style with this video we filmed of Pascal rehearsing on the Depot Sound piano.

From 2001 to 2005 Pascal studied classics and piano at the University of Otago. During his studies he won several significant New Zealand music prizes including the Simon Gibson Memorial Prize, for outstanding Honours students. After graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Piano Performance under Terence Denis, he continued his studies with Gordon Fergus-Thompson at the Royal College of Music, London.

Fascinated by Japanese culture, he then moved to Tokyo, Japan where he lived as a pianist since 2007. During his time in Tokyo he received kind advice from pianists such as Vladimir Ashkenazy and Jörg Demus. In 2013 he returned to New Zealand and has since been based in Dunedin.

Pascal performed a piano set alongside projections of his photography at the Woven opening event in February 2018.

Stay connected with Pascal via www.pascalharris.com or follow him on Instagram @pascalharris



Vanessa Wood – Freelance Photographer/Fashion Stylist/Digital Artist

“Fantasy has always been my inspiration, because as a child it fuelled my imagination, enriched my soul, forged friendships and made me forget my troubles… and it still does; only now I use my skills to transform others and create art from the photographs I make. Now with a child of my own, I am all the more aware of how true the saying is, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”

 

Vanessa is a freelance photographer, fashion stylist and digital artist who specialises in fashion and fantasy portraits. She does both commercial work and private commissions. 

Prior to becoming a photographer, she graduated with a Diploma of Fashion Design from the Fashion and Interior Design College of New Zealand. Vanessa also has a Performing and Screen Arts Degree from Unitec, with a major in camera and lighting.

In 2009 Vanessa started her own company called Suede Studios, which is the only photography studio in New Zealand to offer fantasy portraits to children of all ages.

Vanessa exhibited photographs in Woven: The Exhibition, February 2018. Stay connected with Vanessa via @suedestudiosnz on Facebook and @suede_studios on Instagram.



Moe Laga – Performance Artist

Moe Laga is a Performance Artist from South Auckland. Her practice includes movement and activation and a large number of stage and screen productions, as well as collaborative visual arts work that has been shown in Australia and at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China.

Moe has a diploma from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts and recently completed her Bachelor of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology. She is also part of the LGBT arts collective FAFSWAG (since 2012), as well as the Mother for the house of COVEN.

Moe performed at the Woven Exhibition opening event – February 2018. Stay connected with Moe via Instagram @Mistress_supreme