Featured Artist

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.

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