new zealand’s young art stars reflect on the year that was

We spoke to some of our favourite kiwi creatives about the past, the present and what the hell is happening tomorrow.

by i-D Staff
19 December 2016, 2:05am

With the last few breaths of 2016 escaping us, it's natural to turn our thoughts to the year that was. For the young artists in New Zealand's vibrating scene, the thinning days see them reflecting on their own work and how their practice impacts those around them. We decided to take advantage of these echoing inner monologues to catch up with some of our favourite new talents and talk about what they're taking from the past 20 months, and what they're happily leaving in their wake. 

Rea Burton

Why make art?
For me, it was something I grew up around. I need to make art for personal reasons and to make sense of problems that are important to me

What inspired you in 2016?
Handbags, nature and the "female animal".

What's the first thing you ever made that you really loved?
A mermaid mobile made from driftwood and clay.

Who was your hero this year?
I love Paula Rego and her Dog Women series.

Who is your hero always?
My mum.

What's the biggest or best lesson you learned?
My practice is largely based around female pleasure and one of the biggest lessons I learnt this year is just to have fun making.

What advice do you have for other young artists?
For other painters, it would be to try not to create work for your audience, or to even think about your audience.


Logan Buchanan

Why make art?
Why have Weetbix without milk?

What inspired you in 2016?
The green grass in New Zealand, along with the blue skies with puffy long white clouds.

What are you most proud of?
My mum.

What's the first thing you ever made that you really loved?
Made my bed and lunch on my first day of primary school, but I don't think I've got to a point where I've made something I really love. Every project is my best one, but craft and inspiration are always changing in my mind so it takes me a couple of weeks then I'll be on to the next one. I really love making espresso martinis at work which will never change.

What's the biggest lesson you learned this year?
Do shit and pay for the consequences.

What are you excited about?
In all honesty, I'm excited for low rider jeans with whale-tail G-strings to make a comeback.


Chris Hutchinson

Why make art?
Because it's mean (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

What inspired you in 2016?
I went over to Melbourne for a short trip earlier and was able to delve a little bit into their zine scene and meet a couple artists. It makes me want to travel more but at the same time it really makes me want to try and make Auckland cooler and more creative!

What are you most proud of?
Setting up Inky Palms on K Road.

What's the first thing you made that you really loved?
Maybe this zine I made called TAKEAWAYS which was about my experiences working at a fish n chip shop.

Who was your hero this year?
We had Toby Morris join us in the studio at Inky Palms this year. He's always been someone I've looked up to as a comic artist and illustrator and it's awesome to get a bit of a sneak peak into his process. He's produced some of the raddest gig posters in NZ I reckon.

Who is your hero?
Forever inspired by the vibrant colour ways and bold line work of Keith Haring. I stumbled across one of his murals in Collingwood, Melbourne this year which was real cool for me.

What advice do you have for other young artists?
Make heaps of prints and zines and fun drawings of weird stuff and give them to heaps of your friends!

What advice do you wish someone gave you?
If you're still at design school, go way harder on using the screen printing and bookbinding supplies because you're already paying for it!


Alma Proença

What inspired you in 2016?
Auckland, Lisbon, Dublin and Dingle —the people, the buildings, the artwork and the music. Gabi Bowden, Betty Scott Molloy, Lilly Peacocke, Kairava Gullatz (ceramics teacher) and every artist who's tattooed me this year.

What are you most proud of?
My bedroom, it's beautiful and gets amazing light in the afternoons. And my friendships, I have the coolest, kindest, most creative and tasteful friends you could ever ask for.

Can art make a difference?
Absolutely. Personally it gives me a sense of purpose. Before I figured out this was what I'd be keen to do for the rest of my life I was just kind of floating. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with floating, but I didn't feel useful. Now I feel excited everyday and I look forward to working hard. It all sounds super cliché but art made a considerable difference in my life and the way I live.

What's the first thing you made you really loved?
A plate I made and gave to my mum for her birthday this year. It's pretty far from perfect, but since leaving high school and up until I collected that plate after its final firing all I'd really done was emulate other people's styles and copy artwork I'd seen online. This was the first time I'd made something that was 100 percent me.

Who is your hero?
My bff Betty, I've never met a harder worker...and my mum.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
My uber rating, I deserve five stars.

What advice do you have for other young artists?
Never ever get too comfortable in a style, I need to work on that myself. Look to expand, take inspiration, but don't copy.

What advice do you wish someone gave you?
Never give your heart away to a skater.


Pippi Nola

Why make art?
It's addictive and important.

Can it make a difference?
I think people are lazy and want to find something that will make a big change for them so they don't have to do it themselves. Art can inspire change but you still have to do the work.

What's the first thing you made that you really loved?
When I pimped out my Nintendo DS.

What are you most proud of from 2016?
My bedroom.

Who is your hero?
My mum and Lil Kim!

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Can I do more than one? I'd put power in younger, less bigoted hands and have everyone born with the same privileges and opportunities. I'd also make all buildings utilise the beautiful plants that were growing naturally and build around them so we'd have tree houses and could climb around everywhere.



Text Wendy Syfret
Photography Imogen Wilson

imogen wilson
chris hutchinson
alma proença
logan buchanan
pippi nola
rea burton