About the artist:
“I was born and raised in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. After leaving high school I trained as a hairdresser, and worked in the industry for seven years before gaining an opportunity to work for Weta Workshop in Wellington. Work for Weta included props manufacture, miniatures construction, prosthetic make up, moulding, casting and set work which led to my role as workshop supervisor for four years. I ran a team of up to 100 artists and technicians, completing 12 major films including, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series, District 9 and Avatar. After ten years working within the film industry reached a crossroads and felt I needed a change of focus. I was presented with an opportunity to take up a teaching position for WelTec in Wellington.
One of the many benefits of teaching was the ability to create time to develop my own art practice. I have always had a passion and deep admiration for traditional Maori and Pacific arts, particularly whakairo (carving). Stacy Gordine, a reknowned Hastings carver, craftsman and close personal friend whose work I greatly admire and respect, provided support and guidance to further my personal skill level. This enabled greater insight and direction to refining my personalized design concepts, establishing a body of work that has grown exponentially over the last few years, improving my craftsmanship and creative expression.
Following exhibitions of my work in 2012, I was approached by Victoria University to supply them with Taonga they could gift to graduating Maori studies students. This has lead to producing a range of smaller works with quite specific Maori based design iconography with more in-depth research, discussion and collaboration with other artists and carvers.
The collaboration and synergy of traditional Maori adornment motifs with the natural forms and elements of nature provides the creative inspiration when working in traditional processes with contemporary technology. Drawing from a wide cultural base and understanding these concepts that are unique to New Zealand and it’s natural habitat is a context I enjoy exploring.
My growth as an artist will be grounded firmly within a Tuakana-Teina context. My peers and mentors allow this growth, as I allow the growth in my own students. I teach within a project based envioronment and totally believe in its importance and relevance. I have a huge passion and enthusiasm for the work I do, and am hungry to learn more.”
– Gareth McGhie.