Taking Toi Maori to Times Square
Chorus and Chameleon partners worked to together to take create this amazing video. It's of my designs as they were shown across billboards in Times Square. Enjoy :-) in September.
Maori Alphabet Blocks in the wild
Wow! The Maori alphabet blocks are finally out in the wild. Great to see them at few of my favourite design shops, ikoiko, endemic world and cleverbastards. Next mission, getting these little guys into kohanga reo and early childcare centres around Aotearoa. Recently, I've also been interviewed about the blocks by three newspapers, idealog mag, and the news programme Te Karere. There is also a nice artle on the Massey website here. Still buzzing from the great response so far. Exciting times indeed.
Times Square Exhibition: Chorus Digital Art Winner
Recently I was chosen as a winner of the Chorus digital art competition. The prize included an all expenses trip to New York, where a number of my works were shown on 34 digital billboards in Times Square. Footage of the event can be found on the Chorus website here. Congratulations to the other winners, Miss Heartbreak and Elsy. And a huge thanks to Chorus and the team from Chameleon Partners. TVONE ran a small story about the event, which you can find here.
Whakarare Typeface: Best Awards Finalist 2012
Some delayed news. In September my Maori typeface, Whakarare, was a finalist in 2012 Best Awards. The Best Awards are New Zealand's most prestigious design awards. Congratulations to all the other finalists and winners. You can find more examples of Whakarare at the Best Awards website, and in earlier posts below. I'm looking to have a commercial version of Whakarare available by early 2013.
In July, Corinne Smth, from Design Assembly also interviewed me about the Whakarare typeface and my philosophy concerning Maori typography. Design Assembly is a New Zealand orientated design website which "serves the New Zealand Graphic Design community by enabling the sharing of relevant ideas, information and inspiration". If your interested in reading the article, you can find it here.
Māori Alphabet Blocks: by Johnson Witehira and Uncle Goose
During the middle of 2011 Pete from Uncle Goose sent me a small email asking if I'd be interested in developing some Māori alphabet blocks with them. Looking at the amazing work they do, I was flattered, and of course emphatically said YES. Slowly, but surely, we've been chipping away on this project. It's amazing finally for one half of it to see the light of day. Here are some pic's of the blocks and some process images. I'll being putting up a more thorough post in the next few weeks outlining the process, some of the design problems we faced, and how I've applied a kaupapa Māori design approach throughout this project. Massive thanks to Pete, and the team at Uncle Goose, and also to all those who've supported this project. Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori, Ka ngaro te reo, Ka ngaro taua, pera I te ngaro o te moa. Those interested in purchasing the blocks in Aotearoa or Australia can do so through The Playing Mantis.
Whakarare: the first truly Maori typeface
In most attempts at Maori typeface design, designers have chosen to digitally revive painted and carved Maori type, or they have simply transposed Maori forms, such as the koru, onto alphabet characters. In contrast to these approaches, Whakarare is built from the ground up with the focus being on the creation of wholly new forms. Thus, while referencing Maori aesthetics and studies of Maori typographic preferences, each letter was created from hand-drawn originals. Maori typographic preferences seen in Whakarare include the use of high contrast between strokes, an emphasis on the vertical stress, and the use of an irregularly high x-height. The use of macrons to indicate long-vowels was also an important aspect of the typeface. As a by Maori, for Maori project, a deliberate decision was also made to restrict the letter-set to Maori characters.
Ko Aotearoa Tenei: This is New Zealand! Exhibition Opening
On the 22nd of June my first solo exhibition, Ko Aotearoa Tenei: This is New Zealand! opened at Toi Pōneke in Wellington. Here are a few pics from the night. There is a little write up on stuff here :-) Thanks to all those who have supported my work and this exhibition.
Rotorua Museum of Art and History: Exhibition Graphics
I created these exhibition graphics for the Rotorua Museum of Art and History while working with StoryInc. The most challenging aspect of this design was that in this small space there was a range of content and objects. Typographically, the use of both Maori and Pakeha languages can also be problematic. However, I’m quite pleased with the how these looked when finally installed. I also worked on a section about the 28th Māori battalion, and will get some images of this up when I can. Big thanks to the StoryInc crew, especially James, Steve and Jo :-)
Recently, I needed to create a range of kowhaiwhai for a design project. After completing mangopare, kape-rua, and puhoro, I began to explore how I could re-interpret these. These final tohu were created as gifts for some of my *Experience whanau. Vinyl prints applied to perspex.
Whakarare Maori Typeface: 80% Complete
Heres a recent sample of the Whakarare typeface. Though I already had a lot of respect for typographers, I can't believe how much work really goes into the development of a typeface. Thankfully, I decided to create only the letters used in Te reo Maori, to empower Maori by rendering the typeface useless in other languages. Now the last challenge is to design the numbers.
Maori Fashion Design: Whakapapa
I finally took some photos of the Whakapapa collection of t-shirts I created earlier in the year. The kaupapa and ideas behind the concepts are in an earlier post below for those who are interested. Thanks to the wahine ataahua from Kawakawa for being my model. Photos of the other two shirts to follow.
The Unglamorous World of Type Design
Over the last 12 or so months I've been working away on my first Maori typeface. Its often grinding, at times boring, but in the end totally rewarding. Heres a few images of some of the progress and sketches. There are too many ideas to write about it in its entirety. Basically, though, its based on the whakarare forms seen in carving. I was also inspired by a quote from Karen Cheng in her book 'Designing Type' (highly recommend), which goes "...type is the visual manifestation of language". More Maori typography to come.
Whakapapa: Foray into Maori Fashion Design
These tohu were my first foray into Maori fashion. In looking for a starting point, I thought, where does everything in Te Ao Maori start? It starts with whakapapa, at Te Kore. With this in mind, I created these designs based on the karakia recalling the creation of the universe. Te kore, te kore te rawea, te kore te whiwhia, te pō, te pō nui, te pō roa, te pō kerekere, te pō uriuri, whai-ao, te ao marama, tehei mauri ora.
Tihei mauri ora!
Tihei mauri-ora, the breath of life, recalls the narrative of Tāne fashioning the first one woman from clay. And from this clay, he breathed life into her nostrils, hence the saying Tihei mauri-ora. The concept shows Hine-ahu-one in the hands of Tāne.
Te Ao Marama
Te Ao Mārama means ‘the world of light’. Experimentation with positive and negative space, seen in the use of silhouetted images, is a contemporary exploration of kowhaiwhai.
Whaiao means the glimmer of dawn. This concept depicts the narrative of Tāne creating Te Ao Mārama. During this even Tāne lay on his back and pushed Ranginui upwards with his legs, separating his parents. The design is comprised of a takarangi spiral and the silhouette of two kauri trees. The kauri represent the legs of Tāne, while the takarangi spiral illustrates light bursting into Te Ao Marama.
In this design, a single atom, the building block of the universe, represents Te Kore. A Māori aesthetic is applied to the design using a customary Māori colour scheme (Kura, pango and kowhaiwhai) and the use of pakati notches. Pakati, as a single notch, has 'potential' energy. This energy is realised and released when pakati becomes a moving, carved line, in whakairo.
Sources: Paul & Fran Dibble.
I developed an identity, catalogue and ArtNews ad for Paul and Fran Dibble's exhibition, Sources, shown at Te Manawa this year. The design concept was driven by theme of the show, borrowing visual cues from science, botany and New Zealand's natural history.
Tohu for The Open Wananga
These tohu were developed for the 'The Open Wananga', who are part of Te Wananga o Aotearoa. These panels portray the narrative of Tāne-nui-a-rangi gathering the three baskets of knowledge.
Junktion Krew Volume 4: GALAXIE JUNKTION
Cam from Junktion asked me to put together some designs for their latest compilation cd, 'GALAXIE JUNKTION'. The designs were inspired by the music, which is mostly glitch/electro, and the name of the album. Junktion was established in 2006, with it's sole aim being to serve the local alternative beats-orientated music community in Palmerston North. Check out there tunes online here: http://www.junktion.co.nz/
TXT-the written word in New Zealand art: Catalogue & Exhibition Signage
I was asked by a good friend, Sian van Dyk, to develop a visual identity, catalogue and signage for her first solo curatorial exhibition "Txt - the written word in New Zealand art", held at Te Manawa. The show contained a number of diverse works, featuring different media, messages and typography. Considering this, the typography took on 'unity through diversity' theme. I borrowed stylistic ideas from the works themselves, including pop-art, modern-art, contemporary and Māori works. Below are images of the catalogue, signage headings, and printed signage.
Tirohanga Omua: Looking Back - Large Format Catalogue
Tirohanga Omua: Looking Back, was a large format (240 x 320mm) 98-page catalogue designed for Robert Jahnke's retrospective 2010 exhibition of the same title, held at Te Manawa in Palmerston North. The design took on a clean modernist aesthetic as it directly relates to Jahnke's aesthetic as an artist. Since shadow and reflection are also common themes in Jahnke's work, a subtle perspective-type shadow was also applied to the headings, turning the page into a landscape of letterforms.
Design for Te Ataaranga ki Te Papa-i-oea 2010
I worked with artist Kelvin Kara to develop this logo/emblem for Te Ataarangi hui in Te Papa-i-oea. The tui and harakeke imagery were used because they connect with Māori metaphors about the importance of tāngata and concepts about knowledge as kai.
Bed of Roses: Exhibition Catalogue for Robert Jahnke
This bi-fold catalogue was created for Robert Jahnke's Exhibition 'Bed of Roses', held at the Bath Street Gallery, Auckland. I used pink as the main colourt to link the design to some of Jahnke's work in the catalogue. The colour also contrasted nicely with the masculinity of the typeface, Karbon Stencil. Karbon Stencil which was chosen because much of Jahnke's work also features stencil-styled typography.
Paopao ki tua o Rangi: Installation at the Wellington City Gallery
Some stills of Paopao ki tua o Rangi, an installation piece by Taranaki artist Ngaahina Hohaia. I worked with Ngaahina to create the sound and animation for this project. The photos here were taken of the work while shown at The Wellington City Gallery.
National Maori Housing Conference Poster
In this poster for Community Housing New Zealand, I decided to make the heading typography the feature, and large in scale, because of the relatively small print size of A3.
Taku Manu Hokahoka Catalogue 2009
After producing some earlier work for Karl Leonard, he asked me to design the catalogue for his show this year, held at iwiart.co.nz gallery. Thanks to Ruihi…Ruhia…? Ruiha :-p for keeping us both on track.
Te Poho o Reweti 2009: Catalogue for Artist Reweti Arapere
This 6-panel fold out catalogue was for a friend, Maori artist Reweti Arapere.The catalogue showcases pieces from his 2009 Masters exhibition show, Te Poho o Reweti.
Paopao ki tua o Rangi: Stills from animation
Some stills images generated from the animation for Ngahina Hohaia's installation project, Paopao ki tua o Rangi.
Play Dough: Sargeant Gallery, Wanganui 2008
This painting, entitled 'play dough' was done in July, 2008. I had about 30 different sketches of it, but never had the impetus to actually paint it, until the Sarjeant Review came around. I think, the first painting I've done since leaving high school. Acrylic paint and vivid marker pen on mdf (which was way too thick).