Tuesday, September 27, 2011

design for a change

Changes on a global level have kept me occupied lately. To showcase New Zealand design today seems a contrast, yet I find Shane's work both crossing the boundaries of Art and his personal heritage interesting: Shane has Danish, Chinese and Maori ancestors. Isn't it wondrous how we human beings travel the globe and embrace other cultures?

I have been a fan of Shane Hansen's work ever since I came across it several years ago visiting the Gallery The Poi Room in Auckland. I have to find the NZ wood pigeon below as it really speaks to me.
Te Karanga Pitoitoi
Korihi ake nga manu
Takiri mai te ata
Ka ao, ka oa, ka awatea!
Tihei mauri ora
The birds call
The day begins
And I am alive

A bit of background on how Shane works: "Shane Hansen likes a strong, clean line. He has drawn constantly for as long as he can remember, but has never indulged in intricate doodles dredged up from the dark recesses of the mind. Instead, his creations spring from a world of bold colours and optimistic clarity, a pop-art invitation to a feel-good New-Zealand celebration." (source Shane's website: here)

"Shane studied art at high school but began his professional life as a fashion designer. He commandeered the sewing machine on which his mother had worked from home churning out nylon jackets and created the label Vampire. (..) He then trained as a graphic designer, eventually combining these two disciplines at Fly, where he was co-founder and creative director, carving out a niche creating innovative marketing and design strategies for corporate clients and retail stores." (source here - Gallery De Novo)

The scrummy bovine series is both hilarious as it is captivating. Shane used to make quite a bit commercial work whereas nowadays he works from home and focuses on his Art.
The bike must be son Nikau's one I imagine!

"The environment Shane grew up in was rich in culture. The walls of the Hansen family home in Manurewa were covered in paintings by Shane's grandfather and great-grandfather, both of Danish origins and both amateur water-colourists. Shane's grandfather took his descendants on painting expeditions that actively encouraged deeper contemplation and appreciation of the landscapes and objects around them.

His mother's side of the family is a mixture of Chinese and Maori influences. His grandfather emigrated to New Zealand from China's Guangdong province and established a market garden in Pukekohe before starting what became a family of 14 children with Shane's grandmother, a woman of Tainui descent. Creativity seems to run deep on both sides of the family" (source: Shane's website)

Shane work is definitely colorful and has a clear identity. It is expressive and focused. Its boldness and presence for me are very much linked to the relative young country that is New Zealand, the ruggedness of the mountains, the clarity of its waters and the brave attitude of its people.

An in depth interview with Shane can be read on a different blog: here.

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