I am an artist from Waitakere and I paint birds wearing uniforms to suit their plumage and personalities. My series "Birds in Uniform" is an ongoing collection of oil paintings first exhibited in 2009. A Kea Technician, Sparrow Guard, and a Fantail Geisha are among my artworks.
I wanted to invite viewers to imagine a bird's feathers as their perfectly fitting uniform. Everyday they wake up with it on, they have their own distinct occupations, and are busy in their own environments. Although exposed to the outdoor elements, the uniform remains vibrant, clean and tidy. The colours never fade, and it doesn't shrink in the wash.
I really enjoy coming up with ideas for different bird and uniform combinations - and a large amount of my process involves drawing and researching. I make a research board which contains glued on materials I might use, then do drawings trailling out layouts and scale, and how a uniform could fit around a bird. Drawing allows me to answer questions like 'is this painting going to make sense?' or should more changes happen. With a process like mine it's largely ideas based, and I think having the Parkin Drawing Prize in NZ is so important because it puts value on drawing and shows artists and art collectors how important it really is. Having confidence and belief in drawing is a great thing for artists. It is a crucial part of the process in art making, and having a prize makes everyone aware of that part of the process - which brings up the deserved value of the artwork.
Painting for me is not meant to be fast, it really is just part of life, it gets set in our ways of thinking and it is also interactive where other people enjoy getting involved. Commissions are fun with people coming up with their own ideas for a favourite bird and we work together on a new piece. I also enjoy creating paintings I think my daughter might like - I am working on a Flamingo just for her.
This year I have entered the drawing for my newest painting the "NZ Fantail Tailor". I had to learn to knit for this one, a perfectly fitting cozy NZ merino woollen jumper. Perfect for winter!