The most joy in my life comes from being able to share my time and gifts with people who appreciate them; the most misery from when I get tangled up thinking of myself. My spirit and diverse repertoire is seen internationally as precious, commendable and to be celebrated; but alas, on home soil, my talents and personality is not as understood nor acclaimed. This 'acclaim' isn't as you may think in a traditional back patting award sense, it's just day to day being me. Although I adore NZ, I let out a big breath as soon as I board an international flight! My urge and impulse to travel and to move is a necessity because I love sharing my good fortune, but it is also to feel valued in return.
My commitment to my artistic development was proven over the MOXIE .:':. JAPAN indiegogo crowdfunding endeavour. Not only did I fulfil my aims and objectives, but I exceeded them and publicised my achievements through regular detailed updates on my blog. Upon returning to NZ via Canada, I created and self funded a solo show of new work and then returned, again self funded, a month later to Japan as Artist in Residence at MeiPAM Gallery.
I discovered, nurtured and developed this opportunity and it is a testament to my follow through and devotion to my dreams. Finishing up in Japan late 2015, I then again took the bull by the horns buying a one way ticket to London and subsequently on to the Netherlands via Spain, exploring creative directions, networks and new cultures. I met an incredible group of intellectuals in Amsterdam which had a profound affect on my decision to come home and extend my skills to those around me. This is not the start of something new, but another chapter in a book thick with sharing my gifts with others, either at home or abroad. New networks and experiences don't just impact upon me, they affect whoever I touch next in a positive and productive manner. Encounters shape and refine how and what we think, feel and behave like, and when these are demanding and stimulating, they challenge us to change and grow. Relationships forged by sharing time together are tremendously powerful- we can’t forget those we laughed, dined or adventured with, but we sure can dismiss an email.
I am extremely proactive towards exploring avenues for investment including applying for grants, approaching galleries, crowdfunding, auctions, online sales, selling all of my possessions and completely altering my lifestyle. Conditioning myself psychologically, physically and with more skills to be ready for different situations takes commitment and dedication. I am constantly doing things and doing them differently to keep on edge and learning. My journeys are hard work. I source work, budget within parameters and constantly reevaluate situations within what is presented and available at the time. I have always garnered a great sense of satisfaction from bringing about amazing results out of a bag of limited resources, but since Japan, I have pushed this much, much further by purposely refining my avenues and techniques. I find it is extremely rewarding to confront myself with need v want, assess my presumptions and ignorance and subsequently reevaluate my thoughts and reasonings. I never waste an opportunity and I live with no regrets.
I am unusual in my travel methods. A one way flight and first two nights accommodation organised is how I like to start. I push myself to use this level of trial as an advantage because it makes me make the most of where I am and what I see. It lets me interact with people I meet along the way and make decisions based on these encounters. It is me living by my advice to ‘go-with-the-flow'. Plus in this day and age, why not? We have so many options available it’s a smorgasbord selection.I am open and transparent in my ambitions to create achievement from adversity and inspiring others to do the same.
Missing out on one of the 10 grants up for opportunity from the Asia New Zealand Foundation specifically for artist residencies was challenging. Especially as they were to support ‘new relationships’ between Japan and New Zealand- My application was declined as AsiaNZ did not ‘know’ MeiPAM Gallery. I had previously applied for support prior to my first trip to Japan under their 'Contestable Arts Grants'. These are 10 grants of up to a maximum of $2,000 each, per grant round for arts organisations and arts professionals to support projects that contribute to New Zealanders’ understanding of Asian arts and culture. This application was also was declined.
Grant applications, funding opportunities and networking through Creative New Zealand takes an enormous amount of time and resources. To some, my approaches may be unorthodox but my genuine nature, authenticity, honesty and work ethic is not. I value, respect, appreciate and cherish the people & organisations that support my undertakings, and I am privileged to have these qualities reflected back to me. My level of discretion, honesty and privacy may make me unusual to some within the industries I work in, but it is also precisely why I am able to meet and work with exceptional and unique individuals- I treat others how I would like them to extend their respect in return. I do what I say I am going to do to the highest standard and I do it fast. If there was an opportunity to be an ambassador for championing the creative arts and creating new relationships internationally based on practical knowledge and professionalism, I would be fighting for that role... actually that's why I am making a role.
I give back in many ways with my time, with my open availability to share my knowledge, through my writing to inspire others to explore, facilitating and conducting creative workshops, and by providing gifts of art to my sponsors and those who help me. My friends, references, former employers and associates can all vouch for my diligence, heartfelt investment and willingness to share my insights and develop further with enthusiasm. I am passionate about living to my fullest capacity doing what I love and encouraging others to do the same by broadening our horizons and sharing fresh impressions with those around us, and the world, through expressions and interaction. I also demonstrate that the 'old' one-on-one way of meeting people still works wonders, and although 'harder' work (is it when we love it?!), I would argue these relationships are faaaar more meaningful, precious and enduring. I don't need 100's of people to do amazing things; quality over quantity works exceptionally over many fields in my life. I motivate others to have the courage and tenacity to establish and substantiate their ambitions on their own terms, and help hands on with valuable and relevant strategies, skills, networks and perspectives. Where there is a will, there is always a way, and I love proving that those can be varied and different.
Creating art is a small portion of the creative enterprises I have in production. I am working on much more complex projects with societal and community influence, and these trips; this exposure to other cultures, directly impacts upon these. New Zealand is a distinctive and diverse multi-cultural society with a unique cultural repertoire and capacity for creativity- but there are gaping holes in the support available for those who want to undertake developing these talents without sacrificing their morals, integrity and virtue or to get access to capital for unusual, ambitious and ingenious personal developments. One project, very dear to my heart addresses this issue and another our access to the building blocks of what is needed to keep minds healthy and happy in order to be able to think outside the box, combat anxiety and be productive. This commercial endeavour is about establishing a creative hub within our urban areas- a market and galleria of-a-type but muuuuuuch more. Bringing back to our communities a place where people feel comfortable to choose quality products at a fair price, learn new ways to use them, meet with the local artisans and producers who make and develop them, and interact with other people while doing so.
Mental health and wellbeing is greatly influenced by interaction; as technology infiltrates further into our daily living (NZ being at the forefront internationally with this), it is becoming increasingly important that people have situations encouraging them to connect with their neighbours and surroundings. This combats feelings of isolation, detachment and loneliness; emotional responses which are becoming increasingly prevalent within our population- yes, it's a much bigger picture than just getting your goodies. Developing the qualities of usefulness, self respect and good citizenship requires imparting the skills to success at the basics- when physical and mental health is in flow we can move onto taking the next step up on ladders towards these attributes. In addition, I aim to have New Zealand artists and designers fully interconnected within the production process through label designs, packaging and manufacturing- creating opportunities for graduates, established creatives and those without formal education but incredible aptitude to gain exposure of their talents. If this piques your curiosity, please do not hesitate to contact me.