Blog moved

Hi all of you at NMIT… I have moved my blog and changed the address in the student blog directory!

You can find the new blog here


I am Surreal…

You Are Surrealism

Dreamy and idealistic, you’ve created a world that is all your own.
It’s very likely that you’ve either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.
You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.
You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.

That’s me folks! Although I believe I am actually a cross between a surrealist and expressionist who wears a postmodern hat occasionally…

Highlights of the Show

Yesterday we viewed all the mural presentations. It was a great morning, and time flew by.

The first PowerPoint by Group Two was one of the best PowerPoints I have seen, I really do need to become aquainted with this tool as people in college seem to like it and use it a lot. I shall endeavor to get over my Microsoft thing! Last year, Edwin, my fellow would be castle dweller and scripting teacher extraordinaire, introduced us to Prezi. Prezi was fun, but now we are back to MS and PP ! So, inspired by today I shall get better, and learn to love that P-word.

Group four’s mural idea blew me away. I absolutely loved it and I want to be part of making it happen, in Nelson in August. The concept was to celebrate the anniversary of gay marriage being legalised. The image is a pair of wings made up of hundreds of male symbols, ♂ like this. It works! Although the final image presented was a mural, they had originally thought about a light projection.  I love this idea, I can imagine those wings being projected all around town huge and tiny. It is such an amazing concept, the wings of freedom and equality, flying over Nelson.

They were partly inspired by muralist and street artist, David La Mano,. La Mano uses repeated images or symbols to make up a bigger picture. I like the way it speaks of one thing and when you get up close you see the real story… I wonder if your viewpoint is changed?


Also a special mention for group five… the video of the stream was a touch of mastery, and I would love to see that building decorated…

All the projects were really well done and thought out, we had an oil rig in a stunning blue sea, a giant pair of hairy feet, lazy workmen doing nothing, a dark and dingy tunnel, and seagulls pooing over Countdown… (tic).

Great comments in the critiques session, although I felt that there should be a little more room for praise too. Ok, so we proved we know how to critique,  we have no fear of letting it all out. BUT… there has to be balance. Credit and praise where it’s due. There was some bloody awesome work shown, and I was very happy to say so in my very British, dominant voice :o) The tutors also, were admirable in their encouragement. We are blessed with some great leaders in our team.

Sometimes the whole serious side of  ‘ART,’ can get a little too heavy, but there has to be light in order to see the shadows.

Image by David La Mano retrieved from:  on 12/3/204


Up Against the Wall…

So we have presented our slideshow, and it was ok. I have learned a lot from this project and that is what it’s all about.

The presentation could have been better, more arty.  I am inspired – especially by group two’s gorgeous presentation, to play with PowerPoint and get over my mental block!

Morgan made a comment which was invaluable, he suggested that our image could read the opposite way to that which we intended, ie the workers were smashing the beautiful landscape instead of unveiling it. I can see that totally. I think in future I would get someone like Morgan or maybe Staju who both think in very different ways, to give me their opinion on something, it is good to get input from all angles. When you are in the middle of something of your making it can be very difficult to step back and be truly objective.

Other comments were subjective, and more about the painting of the scene itself than the concept, which is fair enough. But as they were quite diverse and people were saying the opposite of each other,  we let them go.

Another useful comment was that the workmen did not look like workmen without their orange vests and yellow helmets. This got me thinking about why Banksy’s policemen worked but our workmen didn’t…

Kissing Coppers

The ‘Kissing Coppers’,  have changed very little in colour in the stenciled version. The handcuffs and truncheon make it obvious that they are policemen too. Our workmen lost their identity by losing the colour of their vests and helmets. I thought the pick axe made it obvious, but as Morgan says, it could have been any vandal!

I learned too, to read and check off every little detail of the brief. Make sure it is clear exactly what needs to be in the presentation, and what goes elsewhere. Last night having believed I had finished,  I had to reduce the PowerPoint size by 100 MB!  Although I had kept my half of the PowerPoint small I had forgotten to tell Jemarve. Sadly his wonderful Google Sketch movie had to be left out of the submitted PPT, although viewers did see it. I am wondering if the size  is why it kept crashing the computer yesterday!

The other thing I had to do last night was produce a full proposal from all our combined research and images etc! I thought that the proposal only had to be in the PowerPoint and our individual stuff, and then I found another forum for proposals *ahem*!

So, although I am happy to have done this, and it was a valuable experience, I am glad it is over. Group work is challenging and can be more about administration and politics, than making art, but then that is the nature of real life.  Our group situation was particularly fraught as we lost two of the original members, and other commitments in and out of college made it difficult for us to to meet up all together.  It may not have been what we would have done, had we had more time. However,  given that we were left with three members, a half inherited idea, and one week to do most of the work, I think we stepped up and performed very well. The group pulling together is a big part of an exercise like this, and we triumphed in the face of adversity!!

Cheers to Roxy and Jemarve and all of the other groups who were part of this project!


Photograph retrieved from: 12/3/2014

All this and Autumn Too…

Tomorrow we have to show the PowerPoint presentation… it is ready… just! Jemarve and I did it between us, he is great at the animated stuff, and he made the most *AWESOME* 3D model of our building in Google Sketch. I just finished adding the final touches and getting the colours in theme.

I have never been a fan of PowerPoint and I wish we could use Prezi, or stop motion video for presentations, but maybe I just need to get better at this Microsoft stuff.

In the meantime I have been thinking about the next group project, (Light Nelson), and I have ideas brewing already. Something I would really like to do, with Leigh and whoever else wants to play. If it can’t fit into a group theme, I may propose it on my own…

Oh and I believe that we start a new individual project tomorrow…

All this and autumn too…



Group Happenings…

Our mural group started with five members. On the second day there were only four, and now we are down to three. With the people issues, and because I am doubled up class wise on Mondays, it hasn’t been an easy project at all. But we have worked on and I have grown some spectacular bags under my eyes by staying up until the wee hours everyday. It feels that we finally have gotten somewhere in the last two days.

The wall was chosen before I joined, but it’s a good wall, and thankfully, given the shortage of people and time, it is small and manageable. We looked at the features and the surroundings and then measured and photographed the wall, and brainstormed some ideas.


We all agreed on giving another perspective to the  pedestrians walking towards this wall, and because of the cracks in the wall itself we thought about a hole, with another world beyond. This will hopefully change the visual, and mental perception of the viewer. This shows there are other possibilities, changes to be made, and beauty to be experienced for free.

We liked the idea of two ordinary workmen breaking through the wall, and leading the pedestrian into another view. Having one of the workmen step out of the scene helps to bring the viewer towards it. Roxy drew the workmen and then we chose to make them in a black and white stencil effect. so as not to detract from the view beyond the wall. Also we wanted to show that ordinary people, especially workmen who are often the target of a grumbling public, can change the city, as much as a council official can.

The scene beyond the wall is another part of our concept, that of bringing the outside in, the mountains and hills around our city and the gorgeous South Island rivers. It is a celebration of the beauty of New Zealand and the fact that we are never too far from that beauty, even in an urban area. The scene appears to flow out from the hole in the wall at the bottom, because that is how nature is. Nature wants to grow and flourish, and sometimes it is hard to stop it. This is highlighted by the tiny pink flower that we found growing out of the wall. The flower was actually a big part of our inspiration.

Having a katare, (New Zealand native kingfisher), as part of the mural was Adri’s wonderful inspiration. When we were playing with it in Photoshop I liked the idea of it appearing to be flying out of the view beyond the wall and into Hardy Street. This adds to the three dimensional effect. And yes… it is larger than life, because nature is larger than life and bigger than us!

I took the drawings of the scene and the workmen and played around with them on a photo of the wall that I took recently. We had to make a decision today, as much time has been wasted and we only have a week left. So, this is what we have decided on…

Drum roll please…


I had the idea of adding fragments of broken mirror to the water flowing in the river to give the mural some movement and life. The mirrors will catch the light and give a moving water effect, but this is hard to illustrate in Photoshop. I did make a mirror fragment brush but I had to leave the Mac lab quickly because of a class, so I may try and get it and experiment on Thursday if I have time.

I did half of the PowerPoint last night, and this evening I did costings. I am now looking at theorists, and urban art. Jemarve has been looking at some other mural artists, apart from Banksy, who inspired the stenciled figures. We are meeting later in the week to put our group proposal together and to finalise the PowerPoint. Jemarve is doing his part of the PowerPoint this evening, and he has made a fantastic three dimensional model of our building in Google Sketch.

So, now for all the other bits… and hopefully we will be all ready by Tuesday to do our presentation. Group work is so challenging. The worst part is that everything seems to take ten times longer, and there seems to be a lot more work than if you were working alone. It has been a valuable learning experience though. I think the most important lessons I have learned, are to get ideas thrashed out very early on in the process and to ensure that everyone knows their task. Having said that, I still think we did very well in the circumstances, and everyone pulled their weight.

Photographs and Photoshopping by Bobby. Drawings of workmen, and scene beyond the wall by Roxy.


Warped Reality

Looking around the web I found some incredible trompe l’oeil murals in cities around the world. I really like the photographic and digitally produced ones.  Some are quite phenomenal, like this building shown below. They can really warp reality to the extent that you could start to feel dizzy when walking towards them. It looks more like something you would see reflected in a lake than standing on a busy Parisian boulevard.


These two images are of the Beecker building on Avenue George V in Paris. This effect was created using digitally manipulated photographs
by artist and photographer Pierre Delavie. The installation was created to hide the construction work going on behind the facade and was only in place for a year or so. Imagine coming across this after a few glasses of vino… or maybe not!


Images sourced from:

Flowery inspirations…

In an earlier post I showed this photo of a tiny flower growing at the bottom of the wall, between the cement and the tarmac on the footpath.


What if the flower became like the magic bean in the fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk?  Imagine the whole wall suddenly covered pink flowers and green leaves…


I really like this, I think it’s because of the splashes on the floor that brings the wall out… or  takes the viewer in! It’s bright and fun and I am sure it would bring a few smiles! Also it is inclusive, most people could paint something like this, from 3 to 103.  I believe that a big function of art should be to inspire others to create.  If the distance between the viewer and the art is too great then this cannot happen. So although this does it in a slightly different way to some other ideas I have had, it could still change someones thoughts about their environment and themselves. The viewer could become part of the change by actually going and painting their own garage wall or something.