I grew up in New Zealand where I spent much of my childhood building huts in the bush-clad hills of the Waitakere Ranges, painting colour compositions and sketching people. My Dad was a huge influence creatively and artistically – he being a self-made architect and artist.
After schooling, I spent a year traveling Europe. I pavement painted and drew portraits on the streets in London, France and Italy to fund my travels and to save for my next adventure through Central America. After several months traveling from Texas to Costa Rica, I returned to London and found myself working with the artist Nick Bashall as an apprentice. For one year I learned to paint and draw in his founded school Lavender Hill Studios.
I then applied to the Rhode Island School of Design where I completed my BFA alongside a five-year degree in architecture (B.Arch) in 2015.
With a passion for tramping and painting, I am about to embark on a 4-5 month walk across the length of New Zealand (Te Araroa trail) where I will paint one landscape each day. Exhibition in Auckland to come.
I don’t know my grand view on architecture yet. I do know, however, that it’s the most incredible medium for working creatively. I like to think about it very simply. Architecture as enclosure. Simple. Architecture that makes the world more comfortable to live in. Architecture that gives beauty to the landscape precisely by adding something not naturally existing.
The most interesting question then becomes that of beauty. Not because enclosure and comfort are simple to achieve, but because beauty is so vast and so subjective. When I paint, I don’t need to paint for everyone. But when I build, it will affect many; someway somehow. How can I find a language that survives over time? A language almost beyond beauty? Something deeper than form, colour, shape, material. Something that can be different every time, yet each time, as honest as the last. For me, architecture begins with place. If a structure can stand in its own environment either in contrast with it or in compliment, it is beyond the debate of yes or no. It simply is.
Art is a way of looking and seeing the world. Then, it is a matter of transferring that information onto a page or a canvas via the hand.
I use charcoal for its incredible sculpturability. I work it with my hands only – no stick or smudging device, no chamois and rarely an eraser. My fingers are pencils and erasers alike and they move the charcoal efficiently into and off the paper. I use watercolour when moments are fleeting and I don’t mind the chance mishaps of pooling blues or muddying yellows. With watercolor, it is not so much about being out of control, as letting go. Finally, I use oil on canvas when I need to capture the richness and the depth of what I see. Oil paint allows a continual layering and building up of the light tones. I can play with opacity and translucency in a fast and direct way.