Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Hang in there

Four skilled artists give EastLife a glimpse of how they coloured or sculpted their world with creativity during lockdown, and what they look forward to this year.

Melody: Art teacher and artist


“Covid for me has had a major impact commercially on my art work … however it has not taken away my great pleasure in painting.

The creative juices still flow and, if anything, I have been able to create more throughout this time and focus on the positives but am learning to work online ( which is a work in progress) no matter what the future holds I will still continue to create new and unique pieces of art.”


Jorge Wright: Sculptor

“During the lockdown I truly found my passion and honed my skills in creating the 5-meter large scale corten sculpture titled `Head Within’ at Sculpture on the Gulf, an outdoor exhibition at Waiheke Island,” says the Clevedon-based sculptor who grew up in a creative household with two artist parents.

“I have been very humbled by the response to my work. ‘Head Within’ aims to prompt a conversation on mental health in Aotearoa among visitors to the 2022 sculpture trail.

“Mental health remains a serious issue in our country and around the world. I want my work to keep the conversation going about a topic which is often shied away from,” says Jorge who spent a few years at Massey University exploring a design degree.

“This has further motivated me to reach for new heights and continue to make a mark in the world of sculpture. On one level, the sculpture conveys the feelings of confusion and self-estrangement that often accompany mental health struggles; nestled into one another but facing in different directions, they illustrate a mind turned against itself with feelings of doubt and insecurity.

The openness of the figure, however, encourages those struggling to ask for help. By being transparent and allowing others to enter our inner world, it suggests, we can also let some light back in. I want to remind those going through dark times that there are brighter days ahead.

“I envision a long career where I can inspire and create change through the messages my works will deliver,” says Jorge who is now teaming up with All Blacks legend, Sir John Kirwan Foundation for mental health.

Amber Adams: Artist and art teacher

“My artwork has always meant the world to me and Covid has had a major impact on my art,” says Amber Adams who has been teaching art at Uxbridge for 12 years and also runs home-based classes.

“Before Covid, exhibitions were plenty and we constantly had places to showcase my artwork which I took for granted. Covid has taught me I needed to take positive action and show my art in other ways and rely more on online marketing and galleries,” says Amber who is known to design pieces that tell a story.

“My art has taken a different direction and I have started to use a lot more colour and vibrancy throughout my work. My style I feel has become a lot more free.”

Amber’s latest series is inspired more by pop art using fluorescent colours and words. “I love faces of the past and the stories they tell, and being able to learn and bring them into my art. I hope to explore this a lot more in the near future,” she says.

“It is the most rewarding career being able to create—to start from just an idea and being able to transform it into something special.”

Sue Collyns: Wildlife artist and Photographer

“I often photograph my art and create a panel for displaying in the garden. I get to keep the art I paint whilst allowing others to enjoy it also,” says Sue Collyns who has found the perfect way to combine her artistic talents and passion for photography to create a unique business – Wild on Walls Outdoor Garden Art. The award-winning wildlife artist says her business is about creating artworks that can live happily outside in all-weather conditions, while photography is the main focus.

Whilst she missed interacting with people during lockdown, the silver lining was that Sue’s website took a huge leap. “It was one of my busiest times. I decided to run a competition in Omana Regional Park for the locals out walking.”

The talented artist hid one of her native bird outdoor garden art panels ‘Baby Ru Ru’ amongst the trees, and posted clues on where to find it each day on the local grapevine.

“I began to receive photos of local children standing beside the panel when they found him; it was amazing and such fun for all! Eventually the winner of the panel was found. I received a beautiful thank you text from a young lady telling me it was her favourite bird and how much she enjoyed hunting for him.”

Now Sue looks forward to travelling overseas. “There are so many amazing places to photograph,” she says.

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