My work has always had a narrative focus, if not within an image itself then as a way to research visual techniques that could be applied to a narrative project. Starting around the end of high school, I saw the huge potential for images to tell stories, later realizing stories that enter popular culture can have a strong effect on the mindset of a large group of people and are a good way to effect positive change.
I often like my work to have personal significance, and as a result find myself somewhere between Fine Art and Illustration—each community telling me I’m better classified in the other. I will often swap between roles and styles that have different mindsets, depending on the goal of the project, resisting the pressure to choose a single technique or aesthetic label. One of the things I enjoy most about art is the sense of discovery that comes with experimenting with visual ideas and techniques.
As a descriptive tool, I classify my work into four categories: Exhibition work, which focuses on research of visual techniques and thinking; Illustration, which tasks itself with communicating the subject or idea; Concept Art, the design of aspects of a larger project like characters for a story; and Sequential Art, images in sequence to form narratives.
I have always been very self-directed with my work and like to be involved in the entirety of a project from the beginning. After my degree in Pictorial Design at Auckland University of Technology, I set up a studio with other young artists. We ran exhibitions and worked closely together full-time for two years. I then moved to London to gain commercial experience and quickly got a job at Unit9 as an inhouse Concept Artist and Storyboard Artist for digital advertising projects, often involving the Oculus Rift. Shortly after, my portrait ‘Tim’ won the New Zealand Adam Portrait Award, of which I am the youngest winner.
A year later, I am working for myself again, mostly on new personal narrative projects while painting portrait commissions and taking on freelance storyboard work here in London. I work from home in a communal converted warehouse, with 17 flatmates, most of whom also work in our massive workspace in varying creative fields.
I look forward to returning to New Zealand’s long white cloud and to the amazing community of artists, some of whom are featured in this inspiring book, at the end of 2015.