Art Ache

The Art of June

Rich and alluring photography on show around Auckland this June.

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The Art of May

A selection of vibrant art exhibitions to warm your cockles in Auckland this May.

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The Art of April

Galleries and artists one might chance upon outside of Auckland and Aotearoa.

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Who Arted podcast Archives

The Art of March

A handful of arty happenings in Auckland over the month of March.

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Podcast: David Shrigley

David Shrigley’s message for the millennials

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Podcast: Groundswell

Avant-garde Auckland in the 1970’s

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For all those who enjoy the emptiness of the city this time of year. This is for you. Merry Christmas xxx

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Aspiring Art

A ‘peak’ inside the mind of 2019 Aspiring Art Prize judge Francis McWhannell.

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Podcast: Charles Ninow

Charles Ninow – insights on running auction house/dealer gallery, Bowerbank Ninow.

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Podcast: Robert Wallace

Limited colour palettes are juxtaposed with modernist gradients, and vector shapes are combined in an almost rudimentary style to create quirky and engaging personalities. 15 minutes of brain-sharpening content here.

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Hye Rim Lee’s Warrior-Vixen Critiques the Portrayal of Women in Virtual Spaces – Joel Thomas writes.

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Karl Maughan

From a distance, Karl Maughan’s work is seemingly photorealistic, up close his work is an expressive celebration of colour and paint; inviting you into surreal light-filled gardens of wonder.

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Podcast: Evie Kemp

Genitalia that pops, bubbles and cracks with colour! Aimée Ralfini interviews Evie Kemp.

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Zammia Weatherall

Capturing and building bubblegum worlds of pink and purple Zammia Weatherall will be creating a utopian studio to hold Art Aches Oct 9 event night. Joel Thomas investigates the mind behind work.

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Layla Walter

Refined. Elegant. Meditative. Ephemeral – just some of the words used to describe the work of Layla Walter. Anusha Bhana writes more.

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Art Ache Artweek

Oct 9 2018. At the Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Square.

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Podcast: Gary Silipa

15 minutes of brain sharpening content here.

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Karen Rubado

What happens to that meaning and value once an object becomes obsolete? – Anusha Bhana examines Karen Rubado’s work.

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Podcast: Cam Edward

15 minutes of brain sharpening content here.

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Verve: Art Investment

Do’s and Dont’s

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Podcast: Thomas Pound

15 minutes of brain sharpening content here.

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Katherine Atafu-Mayo

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache LOT23.

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Greg Page

Nightmarish but cute, familiar but uncomfortable – Joes Thomas discovers Greg Page

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Julia Deans & Greg Page

A beautiful collaboration

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Olyvia Hong

Written by Pearl McGlashan

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Judy Darragh

Have you got nice fake tits? We do.

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Paula Friis

What’s not to love about the seductive colours and shapes of Paula Friis?

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Art Ache LOT23

July 26th 2018. LOT23 Auckland.

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Daniel Blackball Alexander

As we attempt to push through the absurdity of modern spaces, we can do so with grace, by slapping on a nice thick corduroy coat.

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Artist profile: Motoko Kikkawa

When I am making objects, I recall past conversations. When I play music, I play as if I am having a new conversation with the person I am performing with – Kikkawa.

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Artist Profile: Ed Ritchie

Ed has an extraordinary ability to pause time itself…. warmly inviting us all to take a deep breath in and consider the precarious nature of our own fragile realities

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Holly Aitchison

There’s an intimate honesty to Holly’s work that I find so captivating. Whether the subject matter is of a macabre nature or a commissioned pet portrait – there is always a haunting beauty to her work. – Phoebe Lysbeth-Makenzie, Curator.

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Art Ache by Candlelight

Art Ache Press Release. Issued Wednesday 13th June, 2018. 8:00AM.

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John Ward Knox

John Ward Knox’s images observe the way objects interact with spaces. He doesn’t force anything, he just watches with a friendly lens and a warm sense of humour, telling the stories of moments, spaces, and objects that would otherwise go unheard.

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Art Aches Heritage

The first event of its kind was called The Artists Dinner and held in July 2013 at Portland Public House in Kingsland.

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About Art Ache

At the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors.

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Art Ache Manifesto

The Art of June

The Art of June

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 01.06.19

The Art of June gravitates around photography. With the Auckland Festival of Photography running from 31 May to 16 June, many galleries will be showcasing photographers. 

Photography is an exciting medium. Relatively new in terms of art history, it has progressed rapidly, especially with the advent of computer graphics, resulting in artworks that combine digital graphics and surface additions, challenging a viewers perception of the photographed image as ‘truth’ and blurring boundaries between photography, installation, painting, and performance.


Through her photography Hayley Theyers illuminates the spellbound. Using themes from her childhood, along with myths and fairytales familiar to us all Theyers often brings attention the portrayal of the female. Theatrical and whimsical in style, Theyers’s photography presents stories through a feminist lens tinted with Jungian psychology. The artist is exhibiting at Black Asterisk until June 16th as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.

“I dreamed of finding a finger belonging to a witch in a box, on that night both my children had the same dream…  the following night, as I slept, a witch visited me and scratched the sole of my foot. A few days later, in an op-shop in a strange city, I heard a frog croak, where no frog was.”
– Hayley Theyers.


Richard Orjis’s photography captures colourful idiosyncratic manifestations of holistic ritual involving flora and its cycles of growth and decay. Orjis’s sparkling and sensual photographs present young men adorned in ritualistic garb, bedazzling with exotic flowers, they represent imagined rites of passage, retribution and passing ceremonies.

Rich and alluring, Orjis’ work will be on display at Melanie Roger Gallery as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography until June 22nd.


Liyen Chong’s work moves between the captured image of a photograph and the surface upon which it is experienced. She uses her body within the frame to intersect a space like paint, once developed Chong then adds more depth with mixed-media. This tampering with the photographic surface rarefies the moment in time that a photograph captures by making each work one of a kind. Striking and elegant, Chong’s work can also be viewed at Melanie Roger Gallery.


Justine Varga’s photography illustrates the extreme liberation of the photographic medium in that it is cameraless photography. The artist uses elements of the medium – along with heat and physical interaction to emphasise themes of embodiment and duration. Her bold and visceral works are often drawn on, scratched and weathered, creating a ‘Memoire’ of her interplay with the medium. Varga’s stunning works are on display at Two Rooms until July 6th.


Kevin Capon turns everyday items into confrontational portraits; a book taped to a wall, a branch from a rose bush, a close up of a tattooed hand with a missing finger – all of his subjects stand stark as statements within themselves. Documenting such common items as if they are curiosities (and perhaps they are the modern equivalent of) evokes broader real-world issues around our own societal truths, which can leave you feeling quietly unnerved. Capon’s work is on display at Sanderson Gallery in Newmarket until June 10th.

NEW  Junes Instagram Find

Following artists on Instagram is a great way to brighten up your feed or add some depth and intellectual inquisition to your day. This months discovery is New Zealand artist Ben Cauchi who is based in Berlin. With work that is hauntingly reminiscent of early photographic experimentation in photosensitivity, @ben.cauchi is well worth your insta-love.

NEW Arty Keepsakes

If you’re planning on an excursion to the Auckland Art Gallery this season­ – and I recommend you do, prepare to immerse yourself not only art but also in art merchandise, in particular, for the body. Tattoos, scarfs, pins, and patches are ways you can support the art gallery as well as align yourself with top-tier creative thinkers. It is especially exciting that, currently, the gallery’s main shows celebrate female artists; The Body Reborn is on until June 9th, Pacific Sisters: He Toa Tāera is on until July 14th, Guerrilla Girls is on until October 13th  and Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys on until September.

Written by Aimée Ralfini for Verve Magazine. Source.

Verve is Auckland’s free lifestyle magazine. It’s a feast of local news & events, personalities, fashion, food, health & beauty, entertainment, travel, real estate and much more. Online publication.

To submit your art event for consideration please email us!

Widget image credit: Richard Orjis. Golden Daze. Courtesy of Melanie Roger Gallery.

The Art of May

The Art of May

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 06.05.19

There is no denying it, Winter is here. Jandals are out. Slippers are in. Images of European Springtime have begun to appear on Instagram feeds like the darling buds of May, serving to illustrate the vastness between the platform and our actual reality that we are miles away, staring down the barrel of winter.

With mobile screens providing little warmth, here is a selection of vibrant art exhibitions to warm your cockles this May.

Double The Pleasure at Anna Miles Gallery

Peter Hawkesby continues to provide pleasure for the arts district of Karangahapae Road by way of his ceramic works. These combine loosely referential objects finished in earthen glases with brightly spray-painted ceramic halos – as if paying homage to the materials found in this notoriously gritty and flamboyant urban locality. The group show also features artists Adrienne Vaughan and Richard Stratton and is on until May 25th.


May Trubuhovich at Masterworks Gallery

Nothing will cosy your heart, more than a tiny button badge of a chirping bird, against a cheery yellow backdrop. Masterworks gallery is exhibiting the much-coveted stitch-work of May Trubuhovich until May 11th. Her first exhibition of fine art outside a career in award-winning film and animation, Trubuhovich’s work is rich with drama, narrative and exquisite detail. These neat petite wearable artworks start at a minuscule $95.


Garden of Memories at Malcolm Smith Gallery

A group show curated by Giles Peterson, brings together heirloom and contemporary Pacific quilts by artists from across Asia and the South Pacific. The exhibition stokes its audience both educationally – and emotionally. Featuring quilt works by Shona Pitt, Sheena Taivairanga, Lisa Reihana, Vea Mafile’o, Reina Sutton, Lina Pavaha Marsh, and Ken Khun. The Garden of Memories is on until May 12th.


Nola Campbell at Tim Melville Gallery

Nola Campbell is part of Colour Field, an Aboriginal Group show at the Tim Melville Gallery.

Campbell’s work documents the country in which she lives via a visually arresting style of painting which talks to the intimate relationship she has with her land.

Raised in a traditional nomadic context, Campbell (originally Yurnangurnu) keeps the stories past and present of her land alive through her bold expressive brush strokes and vibrant colours. Fascinating, colourful and inspiring, Colour Field is on throughout May, until June 8th.


On Paper at Artis Gallery

Originals, screen-prints, woodcuts and photography, Artis Gallery presents a diverse selection of works on paper in this group show. From Emma Bass to Liam Barr, this is an exhibition guaranteed to have something for everyone. Running from May 21st –  June 9th,  the line-up also includes artists Aroha Gossage, Nigel Brown, Bridget Bidwill, Fatu Feu’u, Weston Frizzell and Michael Smither.


Verve is Auckland’s free lifestyle magazine. It’s a feast of local news & events, personalities, fashion, food, health & beauty, entertainment, travel, real estate and much more. Online publication.

To submit your art event for consideration please email us!

Widget image credit: Artist Peter Hawkesby from Anna Miles Gallery.

The Art of April

The Art of April

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 01.04.19

So many artists, so many galleries, all over the country, all over the world. We are a nomadic bunch and tend to travel around the country — who can blame us? It’s so beautiful here. For the Art of April, let’s take a closer look at some of the galleries and artists one might chance upon outside of Auckland and Aotearoa.

From China

With galleries in both Shanghai and Hong Kong Leo Gallery is respected for being a progressive force in nurturing young and representing established contemporary artists. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with the stunningly bold paintings of Tan Ping, who is regarded as the leading figure of Chinese abstract art, or the equally arresting works of Huang Yan as seen above.


From Waikato

Hamilton is becoming increasingly glamorous, due in part to newly established Weasel Gallery. Located on the main strip of Victoria Street, Weasel showcases the work of Telly Tuita amongst others. Tuita’s photographic work features a complex mix of cultural iconography from brightly coloured practical items, trade packaging and mythical figures through to references from Tonga’s colonial history.

From Australia

East Sydney’s Dominik Mersch Gallery aims to exhibit work that has an enduring impact aesthetically and conceptually. Such as the work of Isidro Blasco, who combines architecture, photography and installation to explore themes of vision and perception in relation to physical experience.

Galerie Pompom and Egg and Dart galleries both hail from earlier artist-run incarnations. Between them they present a bevy of delicious artworks from their combined stables, notably the fascinating portraits of Sydney based Andrew Sullivan and the petite visceral works of draped glass by Gabrielle Adamik.

From Hobart in Tasmania, Michael Bugelli Gallery functions part house museum, part contemporary gallery and part event site. In theme with this multidisciplinary space the gallery supports Kai Wasikowski – a multidisciplinary artist. Wasikowski’s artistic practice explores the dichotomy between a simulated natural environment and the ethically riddled consumer materials used to create one.

From Hawkes Bay

Serving the Hawkes Bay region with the very best contemporary art since 2016, Parlour Projects hosts 2018’s Fulbright-Wallace Arts Trust Award winner Emma Fitts. Emma Fitts’ textile sculptural works are made from wools, linens, silks and cotton – materials with which we all connect to on a daily basis, evoking personal narratives for every observer.

From Wellington

Cuba Streets {Suite} Gallery presents the desolate urban nightscapes of Daniel Unverricht, whose oil paintings will resonate with anyone fond of the tranquil beauty that resides in empty parking lots and starkly lit industrial buildings at night.

Located on Victoria Street Millers O’Brien is the newest dealer gallery in central Wellington. Among their stable of artists is Erica van Zon, who uses traditionally craft-associated materials, such as embroidery, beading and tapestry, to create modern works inspired by memories and encounters such as the view from an aeroplane window.

Wellington-based play_station is an Artist Run Initiative boasting over 50 exhibitions since its inception in 2016.  Artist and facilitator Tyler Jackson’s work in-part consists of intensely coloured large wall-mounted relief work, made from industrial materials which have been artfully woven together to maximise the impact of light and colour.

If you’re interested in checking out any of these galleries and artists without leaving Auckland or the country, they will be participating in Auckland’s upcoming Art Fair on May 1st.


Verve is Auckland’s free lifestyle magazine. It’s a feast of local news & events, personalities, fashion, food, health & beauty, entertainment, travel, real estate and much more. Online publication.

To submit your art event for consideration please email us!

Widget image credit: Artist Telly Tuita. Courtesy of Weasel Gallery, Hamilton.

Podcast: The Archives

Artist Podcast Archive

200 local and international artist interviews from 2014-2018.

Recorded live-to-air via 95bFM.


From highbrow to mono-brow and everything in-between, Aimée Ralfini hosted Who Arted on 95bFM until late 2018, interviewing artists, writers and creative types every week.

If you are an artist looking for your podcast, please email Ricky and he will help you find it or send you the original. Podcast Archives ––> HERE

Podcast Archives ––> HERE

The Art of March

The Art of March

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 07.03.19

By the time March rolls around we have all dug our feet into the sand at least once, or waded in the oceans shallows losing ourselves in its flickering layers of light and pattern. If you’ve not yet made it to the shoreline, then you’ve likely spent a hot afternoon sipping on an ice-cold beverage complaining about the heat. It’s ok to complain about the heat. It knows we mean no harm.

One of the (many) great things about making the effort to relocate ones heat exhausted body to an art gallery during the sticky days of March is Air Conditioning. So, without further adieu, here are some picks of refreshing arty activities for the month of March.

Auckland Arts Festival

There are so many amazing things happening all around Auckland this March due to the Auckland Arts festival. It opens with a huge, free, waiata event, Tira, a massive, sing-along/outdoor-karaoke, sung in te reo Māori, which takes place in Aotea Square on March 7th, open invite for all. Also, central city based is Mozart’s The Magic Flute – which mixes the beautiful bright enchanting animation of Paul Barritt with live opera supported by Auckland’s Philharmonic Orchestra. “Billows of smoke morph into images, giant spiders roam the forest and elephants splash in cocktail glasses in a grand evocation of silent-era movies and Tim Burton’s signature gothic aesthetic”.

Tonnon in the Stars with diamonds

As part of the Arts Festival musician Anthonie Tonnon has collaborated with the planetarium, Stardome, where he will be performing “A Synthesized Universe”.  A 360-degree experiential performance in which audiences are transported to galaxies far away through music, storytelling and images of the universe. The perfect way to spend an evening.

Over the Moon, Under the Sun

Sometimes an object of art is so delicious It can make you salivate, an example of this is the work of Brendan Huntley currently being exhibited at Bowerbank Ninow. Perhaps it’s the combination of differing clays the artist uses, that somehow align these potent little sculptures with chocolate coated doughnuts, scooped ice-cream and cherry-iced cupcakes in my mind, or perhaps it’s something extra-terrestrial. Whatever the case may be, I have the overwhelming urge to lick these works and hope whoever buys them, will do so every day, from the privacy of their home. The show is up until March 23rd.

Like sands of the hourglass

So too is Vaimaila Urale’s latest series – composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. Exhibiting alongside Claudia Kogachi at Sanderson, Vaimaila’s latest body of work is titled Aniva. Anvia consists of 50 sand on paper artworks presented as a large-scale installation. Urales work is effervescent and vibrant, comprised of modernised Polynesian forms and symbols, this latest series is perfectly timed with the season and one not to be missed.

The refreshing Claudia Kogachi

**2019 New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award (NZPPA) – Winner**

The bright and comical canvases of Claudia Kogachi depict the complicated domestic relationships we all experience to some degree, in a playful and endearing manner. Her new series of work introduces the often-overlooked domestic bystander – the dog. Either asleep under the table or sitting next to the family sofa, the unassuming house pet is privy to everything that goes on. “If only one could clearly communicate to their dog, my mother and I would have had years and years of third party opinion on our disputes.” – Kogachi. Up until March 10th at Sanderson Contemporary.

Art Fair excitement

With artist announcements coming out around the upcoming Auckland Art Fair, new artist discoveries are plentiful. This month’s Art Fair excitement comes from Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga – with such a fantastic collection of artists, I am looking forward to seeing Mahiriki Tangaroa’s beautiful paintings of abstracted customary cook Island symbols interwoven with tapa or pareu patterns and a succulent palette. Along with the intense hyper-realistic paintings of untampered natural Rarotongan vistas by Mark Cross.

An evening of Samoan delight

The Sau E Siva Creative Team present Rosalina. Told through Contemporary Siva Samoa, live music and soulful harmonies the story is about the legend of a beautiful Samoan maiden and her ten overprotective brothers. A fun story of family, forgiveness, love and reconciliation. If you’re new to the warmth of Samoan culture, then this is a perfect family-friendly introduction. The show runs from the 19th-23rd March at Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku. 

Pacific Sisters: He Toa Tāera | Fashion Activists

A collective of Pacific and Māori fashion designers, artists and performers, the Pacific Sisters electrified 1990s Auckland, bringing the ground-breaking style of an urban, New Zealand–born Pacific generation to the mainstream. Through pioneering, daring shows, the Pacific Sisters overturned stereotypes about Pacific culture, ‘dusky maiden’ beauty and sexuality.

Curated by Nina Tonga and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Pacific Sisters is on at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki until July 14.


Verve is Auckland’s free lifestyle magazine. It’s a feast of local news & events, personalities, fashion, food, health & beauty, entertainment, travel, real estate and much more. Online publication.

To submit your art event for consideration please email us!

Widget image credits:
Pacific Sisters. Courtesy of Te Papa. Photo by Vivienne Haldane 1993©.
Vaimaila Urale. Courtesy of Sanderson Contemporary.

Podcast: David Shrigley

The daring maverick of visual humour, David Shrigley

What’s he like anyway?

Currently exhibiting new works on paper at Auckland Art Gallery Two Rooms until March 2nd, David Shrigley chats about his day-to-day activities, comes clean about Thom Yorke (finally) and has a potent message for the Millenials.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 18.02.19

Podcast link HERE.

Time and time again – in fact for the last 20 years, Shrigley has invigorated the atmosphere of mausoleums, commuter trains and social media with his ubiquitous satirical combination of drawing and text.

How does he maintain such visual fluidity in the art of humour? What inspires him?

If laughter is the cure, then surely Shrigley is a drug. And if Shrigley is the drug, then what are his main ingredients?

Podcast link HERE.

Length: 16:30

Order of Contents:

Introduction – What’s this daring maverick of visual humour really like?

1 – A day in the life of Shrigley

2 – Shrigley’s Process

3 – Shrigley’s Inspiration

4 – Reading and writing

5 – Shrigley comes clean about Thom Yorke.

6 – Fine Art Meme Dude-Ranch Zen

7 – Shrigley Park

8 – Mind-Blowing Art

9 – Influencers

10 – Shrigley’s message for the Millennials

11 – Brexit (can f-off)

12 – Cleanliness.

The end.

Pre-load your brain by Adding Art Ache to your Spotify playlist!

More information on:
David Shrigley (UK)
Two Rooms Gallery (AKL)
Stephen Friedman Gallery (LDN)

Very special thanks to David Shrigley and the team at Two Rooms gallery for making the possible. Much love.


Podcast: Groundswell

Avant-guard Auckland in the ’70s

Contemporary Art curator Natasha Conland shares her discoveries about Auckland’s Avant-garde in the ’70s.

Groundswell: Avant-garde Auckland 1971-79, Auckland Art Gallery until March 31, 2019.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 18.01.19

Podcast link HERE.

When a broad and deep undulation of the ocean, caused by a distant gale or seismic disturbance occurs it’s called a groundswell.

When a rapid spontaneous growth in support of a political opinion occurs, it’s called a groundswell.

So what happened when a group of Auckland artists started making highly experimental art in the ’70s? Groundswell: Avant-Guard Auckland 71-79.

Podcast link HERE.

Length: 17:00

Order of Contents:

Introduction – Avant-garde Auckland in the ’70s, what more could you want to hear about?

1 – How-to: Crack the mindset of the establishment and get endorsement

2 – Relationships between artists and the Auckland Art Gallery these days

3 – New Zealander’s can be funny

4 – Parallels in art movements between today and the ’70s.

5 – The relevance of Art

6 – How do our artists stack up internationally?

7 – Spray-painting gallery walls.

Pre-load your brain by Subscribing.

Art Ache Xmas 2018

Gone but not forgotten

While people rush to get organized for Christmas and the new year Art Ache and artist Greta Anderson have covered the inner-city with blankets, creating space for pause and reflection.

Art Ache Xmas 2018

“This campaign acknowledges “The Blanket” as a cultural icon. For many this is a season of family time – the blankets are symbolic of children’s play, comfort and security, however, this series also acknowledges those left behind in the city where the billboards are located, the homeless and those without family.”Aimee Ralfini, Art Ache.

Artist Greta Anderson is a photographer who works with contemporary cultural icons. Items we collectively connect with, which inform our visual identity as a modern Aotearoa. The artist documents items such as blankets, marbles, horses and flowering weeds in an artefactual style reminiscent of National Geographic, awarding the often-overlooked items cultural gravitas.

“For me blankets connect all facets of our heritage, my Māori whakapapa to my Scottish ancestory. They are something we all relate to as New Zealanders connecting our many historical threads, some joyful, some painful – like most families. In this series they are held up proud as mid-century abstract paintings and celebrated as cherished items woven together from our collective heritage.”Greta Anderson, Artist.


The blankets history as a trade item used between early settlers and māori creates an additional layer of bittersweet irony when presented via a medium associated with advertising ‘trade’. Especially as the LUMO billboards are located in prime advertising real-estate. Notably, the Ports of Auckland billboard, where the blankets reside on the boundary fence, creating a space for conversation around the land owned by Ngāti Whātua Oraki and the reclaimed Ports.

Art Ache is an artist-centric movement in art communication. It aims to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation in New Zealand.
Art Ache believes at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors. Manifesto

For all those Aucklanders who enjoy the emptiness of the city this time of year. This is for you. Merry Christmas xxx

More Information on artist Greta Anderson: Instagram | Artists website | Dealer Gallery

For further enquiries about the artworks or the artist in relation to this project, please contact Aimee Ralfini.

For press, sponsorship and collaboration enquiries please contact Ricky Martin.

Locations of work: On display 24th December 2018 – 6th January 2019.
Located on LUMO digital billboards at  Victoria Park  |  Beach Road  |  Khyber Pass  |  Ports of Akld  |  Grey Lynn (Out)  |  Sturdee Street  |  Newton Road  |  Mt Eden (In)  |  Mt Eden (Out).

Special thanks to Kent and Jamie at LUMO digital.

Aspiring Art

Aspiring Art

With the 2019 Aspiring Art Prize almost upon us and entries closing in just 10 days I thought it would be timely to take a ‘peak’ inside the mind of one of this year’s judges, Francis McWhannell.

Entries for the 2019 awards close on the 7th December 2018. With the top prize being $10,000.00 and a nation-wide call for artists, it is well worth the effort.



Art Aspiring Art. Written by Aimee Ralfini for Art Ache.

Picture this if you will. You’re an artist, broke, living in Auckland, where no-one has much spare cash these days, unless of course, you were doing business in the ’80s – ref Gloss  (a manifesto of sorts for some of Auckland’s more established Art dealerships). In the blur of your daily practice – which covers both the artwork you create, along with the coping mechanisms required to continue onwards through the grinding impoverished conditions in which you exist (trust-fund artists not included), you see a flicker of hope, offered from a far off land, with beautiful Mountains, clean water and air so fresh it’s been rumoured one breath can undo years of social smoking… W-A-N-A-K-A.

The source of hope is Wanaka, more specifically The Aspiring Art Prize, which offers artists nationwide an opportunity to compete for its top prize of $10,000.00 – that’s no slap on the face.

Having been down there judging earlier this year, I can confidently say, it’s a difficult competition to judge! The two main internal battles I found myself grappling with were; what I was looking for intellectually, versus the localised energy which emanates outward from every Southland contender’s work. An energy which encapsulated me on the drive through the landscape from Queenstown to Wanaka and which remained with me throughout my stay (be warned, Wanaka has this effect on a lot of people). So it’s no wonder that when I asked Francis WcWhannell what he was looking out for in this year’s entries, his first point was “That’s a surprisingly tricky question to answer!” Artists take note: ENTRY FORM

What are you looking out for in this year’s entries?

Francis: On the one hand, I’m tempted to say that I’ll be looking out for works that do something surprising, something unexpected. On the other hand, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m hung up on newness. In fact, I tend to gravitate towards works that show a real awareness of artistic tradition. What matters most to me is something rather tricky to pin down: sincerity. If a work exudes a sense of the artist’s commitment to expressing a thought or vision or sentiment, it’s likely to attract me. Beyond that, the ‘winning works’ will be those that are still playing on my mind hours after encountering them – for one reason or another.

What catches your eye at the moment art-wise?

Francis: This question is comparatively easy to answer! Fibre- or textile-based art. I’m mad keen on this sort of work at present, not least because there are a number of artists who are producing the most fantastic pieces. Think Emma Fitts, Maureen Lander, and Karen Rubado. I just can’t get enough.

What most inspires you about this part of New Zealand?

Francis: I have no direct experience of the Aspiring/Wanaka area. I have spent a small amount of time in nearby Queenstown, and I have friends in Wanaka, but this will be my first time visiting. I am expecting to be impressed by the landscape, but I’m also excited to experience the cultural environment and to learn a bit about the local history.

Francis McWannell is one of two Judges selected for the 2019 Aspiring Arts Prize. McWannell will be judging alongside Felicity Milburn – Curator at Christchurch Art Gallery.

Francis McWannell is a freelance writer and curator. He has contributed to a variety of arts and culture magazines and websites, including Art News New ZealandHOMECIRCUIT Artist Film and Video AotearoaRunway ConversationsThe Spinoff and Pantograph Punch.

Full Judges Notes from 2018 can be viewed here: AAP-Judges-statement-AR-2018

Podcast: Charles Ninow

Charles Ninow

Charles Ninow, one half of Bowerbank Ninow is one of a new breed of auctioneers emerging from Auckland’s lively Art Auction scene.

With Auction N11 set for November 28th, supported by a stunning catalogue, we thought it time to talk to the man behind all the excitement.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 22.11.18

Podcast link HERE.

Podcast link HERE.

Length: 18:43

Order of Contents:

Introduction – The New Breed

1 – Bowerbank Ninow – Dealer + Auction House

2 – Art start-up road bumps

3– Charles’ Artistic heritage

4 – Beginning at Webbs, advice for budding auctioneers

5 – Essays and commissioning writers

6 – The Phone In Bidder and their Phone handlers

7 – An excellent app idea

8 – Biggest coo at the upcoming Auction?

Podcast link HERE.


Art Aches Soundcloud:

View the full Auction N11 Catalogue at

Podcast: Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace aka Parallel Teeth is a maker of videos such as Beffy by Ladi6, Rangers by Randa and more recently Hang by Merk.

Live-to-air on 95bFM – 18.10.18.

Vector shapes loosely collide to create characters that move with slippery robotic sway.

Like a bathtub bopping to a symphonic rhythm, Robert Wallace’s animated illustrations are a modern take on the classic caricature of early Warner Bros.

Limited colour palettes are juxtaposed with modernist gradients, and vector shapes are combined in an almost rudimentary style to create quirky and engaging personalities.

Wallace’s use of texture, reminiscent of early Pentium PC / Commodore 64 rasta graphics, sits like icing upon joyously stylised shapes, maximising their sheer simplicity.

Robert Wallace Video Still

Robert Wallace Video Still

Robert Wallace Video StillAnimation clips from Randa’s Rangers video

Further info: Artists website  |  Instagram.

Original podcast.

Subscribe to podcasts by Aimée Ralfini.

Vice: Hye Rim Lee

This Kiwi Artist’s Warrior-Vixen Critiques the Portrayal of Women in Virtual Spaces

Welcome to Korean-New Zealander Hye Rim Lee’s fantasyland.

Written by Joel Thomas for Vice Art: Oct 11 2018
A bright pink bunny sits wearing a glossy crown. A pink dragon curls up on a box with a strawberry in its mouth, light shimmering through its scales like it’s made of glass. A woman, wearing a leather suit and bunny ears, sits on a strawberry. Her eyes are huge and her lips are bright red. Her leg is wrapped around the stalk like it’s a pole, with her high‐heeled feet dangling in front of us. Meet TOKI, the lead character in the 3D‐animated images of Hye Rim Lee, a Korean‐New Zealand artist finding success on an international level. Lee has exhibited in over 200 shows worldwide, but right now, until the 14th of this month, you’ll find a selection of her work on display in Auckland’s Freyberg Square as part of Art Ache / Artweek.
As well as making work that’s “rooted in the challenges facing the community of Asian diaspora,” and exploring “the experience of migration,” Lee uses her 3D animations to examine how women are represented in virtual spaces.

“My 3D‐animation project is a fantasyland where dream and reality mix. It speaks to the manipulation and perception of female sexual identity worldwide and virtualised images of women.”

Lee seeks to create a nostalgic paradise, mingling the world of her childhood with an inorganic cyber world of fantasy, dream and virtual relationships. She’s building a fictional world around her own myths, using “symbols of Asian identity and culture,” familiar virtual iconography, and TOKI, a “highly stylised curvaceous, warrior‐cum‐vixen” to critique virtual worlds.

Conceived in 2002, TOKI parodies the idealised female forms found in “Asian manga and anime culture, computer gaming and cyberculture,” and her name—Korean for rabbit—brings to mind both the innocence of childhood pets and Playboy bunnies. The relationship between sexuality and innocence, reality and fantasy, western and eastern, are all key themes in Lee’s work.


Virtual worlds are often fantasies constructed by white men, and Lee examines the potentially problematic ways they influence us, all the while keeping it personal.

“My work is an unnerving mix of cutesy, saccharine imagery and sexual undertones. My images insert fantastical narratives from my childhood fantasies into a computer-generated Eden-like space,” – Hye Rim Lee.

Written by Joel Thomas for Vice NZ Oct 11th 2018.

Original Article

Further reading: Artists website  |  Instagram.

Subscribe | Shop Art Ache.

Art Ach Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

RNZ: Standing Room Only

Radio New Zealand | Standing Room Only

Lynn Freeman interviews Art Ache curator Aimee Ralfini

From Standing Room Only2:49 pm on 7 October 2018 

Auckland’s about to experience it’s nineteenth Art Ache, which brings together emerging artists and potential buyers, but not in the traditional dealer gallery setting. Design creative and curator Aimée Ralfini came up with the idea to encourage art lovers who aren’t sure where to start by introducing them to a wide range of artists from here and overseas. Aimée studied Fine Arts at Elam and believes that art has an important role to play in keeping communities happy and healthy, The theme for this Art Ache is ‘our future utopia’ – images on this page. This is the first time Aimée has included Art Ache within Auckland Art Week and renowned painter Karl Maughan is pitching in this year to raise the event’s profile. It’s come a long way in the six years since she started it. Art Ache is on the 9th of October part of Artweek Auckland 2018.

Standing Room Only is literally radio with pictures… and arts, theatre, film, comedy, books, dance, entertainment, pop culture, and music – all the things, in other words, that make life worth living.

Listen to the interview |  Source.

Karl Maughan

The gardens of Karl Maughan – an entrance into the sublime

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache

Late Night Art, ArtweekHeart Of The City, Oct 9 2018.

New Zealand painter Karl Maughan has built a 25 year practice on his signature subject the garden: cultivated spaces, flora, farmland, flowers, parks and paddocks.

Depicted in vibrant, hallucinatory hues, from a distance his works are seemingly photorealistic, up close, however, unfolds an expressive celebration of colour and paint; inviting you into surreal light-filled gardens of wonder.

To engage with his paintings is to be both spectator and fellow wanderer, beckoned on a journey along manicured pathways, mesmerising nooks of manipulated nature, prinked and preened arcadias.

Born in Wellington, growing up in the Manawatu and graduating with Master of Fine Arts from Elam in 1987, Maughan was initially inspired by the tradition of painting en plein-air—as championed by the French artists Boudin and Monet. These days, Maughan prefers to work from photographs, drawing from a vast archive of images and film stills of gardens that he collages together and then paints with thick brushstrokes.


Living and working in the UK in the 90s, he secured his position as one of Aotearoa’s most popular painters. His works deck the walls of the rich and famous and in galleries worldwide – Cate Blanchett is a fan. Next time you’re in Florence, you can find his work at the Art Hotel, or if you’re in the capital, check out his largest painting to date, the enormous and alluring six panel A Clear Day (1999), which is in the permanent collection of Te Papa Tongarewa.


When he was at Art School, Maughan photographed and painted his first garden – at his parent’s home in Ashhurst. Since then, his works have become celebrated for their distinctive style: a navigation of the domestic and the sublime. As he described in an RNZ interview, he continues to return to the subject of the garden for its “endless possibilities”. Indeed, his paintings draw viewers into a world that can be at once enclosed and claustrophobic, and at the same time provide an opening into a fantastical, utopian realm.

Rhododendrons, hydrangeas, wildflowers, hedges, paths: the subjects of his paintings are distinctive for their intricate details and saturated colours as well as their sheer scale.

They’re a comment on the influence humanity has over nature and the ways we intersect with it. Being one half of a creative ‘power couple’ (his wife is the writer Emily Perkins), Maughan’s interest in art spills over into poetry and music, which can be seen in his large book collection in the pair’s Mt Victoria home. Indeed, his work has also been noted for its ‘metaphoric’ quality and can be seen to riff on some of the iconic and archetypal gardens of literature. A stroll through his works conjures thoughts of The Secret Garden, or Austen / Victorian mazes or simply escaping into the fantasy world of the gardens of youth.

Maughan’s paintings can also be linked to the notion of an entrance, as both a noun and a verb. The work he has developed especially for Art Ache’s Studio Sale on Late Night Art comes in the form of 30 long strips of vinyl printed garden imagery from his famous Te Papa Tongarewa work A Clear Day.


Each slice will contain different imagery and be numbered and signed. Selling for $200.00 each, the proceeds from these pieces will be donated to The Women’s Refuge. These pieces promise to entrance the attendees at Art Ache through their verdant allure, so seemingly laden with that ozone-deprived light which typifies New Zealand.

These kaleidoscopic colours, balanced with dark greens and shadows, also bring an entrance into a bright, bold and yet darkly known world. On another level, the empowering aspect of the donation to Women’s Refuge promises to up the feel-good factor of investing in a Maughan piece of your own.

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Thank you to Karl’s Auckland dealership Gow Langsford for their support in making this possible.

Proceeds from Karls sales and that of Gow Langsfords are being donated to Women’s Refuge.

Subscribe | Shop Art Ache.

Podcast: Evie Kemp

Evie Kemp

Colourist Evie Kemp chats with Aimée Ralfini about her ongoing series of work Under The Rug which features in the upcoming Art Ache event.

Live-to-air on 95bFM – 27.08.18.


Genitalia that pops, bubbles and cracks with colour!

“Initially I found these works challenged my own ingrained discomfort with the subject matter, but with each new piece my comfort and confidence has grown –  which is reflected in the increase of size, variation, colours of each new work” – Evie Kemp

Evie’s work has created connections and relationships across the world, which further speaks to the strength and sisterhood of feminism in 2018.

“Each piece is as individual as the woman that owns them, and I think that’s so significant. It’s so interesting to see how personal it gets, and how different works speak to different women.” – Evie Kemp

Evie sees these vulvas as every woman she’s ever known and all those she hasn’t yet met – the strength and power she gets from them is intoxicating and full with endless possibilities.

“For me, it’s an ownership of a part of myself I’ve long been ashamed of. Women have been kept down by shame for as long as any records show, so what happens when we no longer feel that shame? When a vulva hangs as a piece of fun artwork in a family home, what happens then?”

Find out on Tuesday – Event night for Art Ache at The Ellen Melville Centre, where we will be ‘gently stickering’ Evie’s snatches around Freyberg Square, with the hope that people will un-peel them and stick them on their own property in our snatch-a-snatch art gift gorilla campaign.

Not in Auckland or can’t make the event? DONT WORRY! We’ve got you sorted :-). You can still support (and donate to) the artist and Art Ache by purchasing one of the Art Ache Collect archival prints from our shop. These artworks are limited and have been created specifically for this particular Art Ache event, with the utopian theme in mind.

Written by Aimee Ralfini for Art Ache, 9th October 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Further info: Artists website  |  Instagram.


Subscribe | Shop Art Ache.

Original podcast.

Subscribe to podcasts by Aimée Ralfini.

Zammia Weatherall

Artist Profile: Zammia Weatherall

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache

Late Night Art, Artweek, Heart Of The City, Oct 9 2018.

Graduating from AUT with a Bachelors in Spatial Design, Zammia Weatherall applies her skills broadly. She’s worked on construction sites, on film sets, designing spaces for events and in art shows, collaborating with the likes of Hye Rim Lee and Paris Kirby.

Her skill set is broad and ever-present. “I interrogate public spaces constantly,” Zammia tells me. “In urban environments, we’re constantly ahead of ourselves or we’re on our phones, we’re not really in the present reality most of the time, and it affects us mentally. Our attention spans.”


This is something that Zammia is always aware of, and constantly trying to fight. She does this through the concept of heterotopias. A heterotopia is a term used to describe spaces, often meaning ‘another utopia.’ A space that is utopic in the way that it seems to sit separate from the world, one where the rules we’re used to existing by are altered, more relaxed. Some examples of this are gardens, festivals, and cinemas. In her work, Zammia creates heterotopic spaces using light, sound, spatial design. She also captures them with photography.

Zammia takes photos of buildings, nature, whatever spaces she can find that seem heterotopic. The experimental filmstock she uses adds to this feeling of otherworldliness. Not only does the grainy filmic nostalgia add a dreamy layer to the images, the filmstock also plays with colours, making them pinker, more vivid. “Poppy” is the term she uses to describe her work. When I ask her to explain the term ‘poppy’, she tells me it, “represents colour, fun, something that’s going to stand out and take your attention. You’re not going to ignore it. You’re not going to just walk past it. It’s noticeable.”

I ask why it’s important for her work to be poppy.
“Because, it needs to make you stop and be current and present in the space, and not be where you need to be in fifteen minutes, and not be where you were fifteen minutes ago. You need to be fully present.”

This is important in a heterotopic space. You’re not going there to stress out, it’s not a hallway or a street for you to simply move through, you’re there to experience the space and what it has to offer. It’s a break from the real world, a space where you can “just be.”

The colour pink is also important in Zammia’s work. Not only does it help build spaces into more of a dreamspace, it also has a deep mental effect on our bodies and how we feel in the space. “The colour pink is known to lower your heart rate and physically weaken you, to slow your breathing. They’ve used it in prisons…”

The colour tones of Zammia’s work also come with an assertion of femininity. She’s making us question the default of masculinity in spaces. “I feel like a lot of the time gender neutral was actually based on the masculine,” and this is important as we need to grow up with access to diversity, not just in the content we consume, but in the spaces we live in. I know I would feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin if I had more access to feminine spaces as I was growing up if I was told that masculinity is not the default.

“I think little spacial breaks are important. It’s like having a cup of tea, you know, you need to step back and have a moment every now and then. For some people, it’s having a cigarette, but we can do that spatially.” We all need breaks, but we don’t always want to break in spaces we can’t identify with.


Collaboration is important for Weatherall. She works with artists, employers, builders, designers, etc. “More brains are better than less brains,” she says. It can be argued that this collaboration even extends to her photography where Weatherall captures spaces, and therefore is collaborating with the creators of those spaces. The builders, the architects, the painters, they all contribute to the vision. “Sometimes, it’s collaborating with mother nature,” Weatherall says.

Zammia Weatherall is showing us real, tangible spaces where we can exist uninhibited. Heterotopias, made by teams of people working together.

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Further reading: Artists website  |  Instagram.

Subscribe | Shop Art Ache.

Not in Auckland or can’t make the event? DONT WORRY! We’ve got you sorted :-). You can still support (and donate to) the artist and Art Ache by purchasing one of the Art Ache Collect archival prints from our shop. These artworks are limited and have been created specifically for this particular Art Ache event, with the utopian theme in mind.

Layla Walter

Artist Profile: Layla Walter

Written by Anusha Bhana for Art Ache

Late Night Art, Artweek, Heart Of The City, Oct 9 2018.

Refined. Elegant. Meditative. Ephemeral. Contemplative. Poignant – just some of words used to describe the work of Layla Walter.

We live in a world increasingly plagued by complex environmental, social and political issues, and pursue lives that are filled to the brim with competing demands. So art that captures a positive feeling, invokes a sense of calm and contemplation, allowing us to take a deep breath and recharge, can provide much needed mental and emotional relief.

Herein lies the essential nature of Layla Walters’ artworks.

“Beautiful objects are my voice – promoting peace by making objects of beauty.” – Layla Walter

Born in Wellington and raised in the unique natural and creative environment of the Coromandel Peninsula, Layla Walter is one of Aotearoa’s most critically acclaimed cast glass artists. Her work resides internationally in gallery and museum collections, as well as in the homes of high profile celebrities.

When it came to a decision between pursuing a career in nursing or art, Layla credits her chosen career path to a Tibetan Lama’s insight during a Buddhist retreat in Kathmandu at age 18 -“it’s more beneficial to others if you do art school” he told her.  A Bachelor of Design degree majoring in 3D Glass at Unitec in Auckland soon ensued, introducing Layla to lecturer and glass artist Elizabeth McClure. This was closely followed by a 15-year stint working alongside celebrated cast glass art pioneer Ann Robinson, who mentored her in the ancient art of lost wax casting, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Layla’s cast glass creations epitomises what it means to embrace the organic forms of the natural environment and explore our relationship with nature and each other, “All of my work pretty much relates to people and places of importance to me and that’s just something that’s a thread within my own work. For me, I don’t exist without the kindness of others.”

The vessel, an essentially domestic object, often impersonal and machine-made has been reimagined by Layla into one that is personal, delicate and unique. Each vessel champions nature – blossoms, buds, birds, linear abstract forms that appear and disappear from the mass of glass.

When at Unitec studying art, Layla had a sculpture teacher who upon observing her practice one day said “You’re doing what women have done for centuries, you’re holding a vessel in your lap and working it with your hands”. For Layla making vessels is “a homage to the everyday and the domestic, and to the everyday living of lives.”

On display at Art Ache will be a selection of cast glass vessels alongside a new series of watercolour prints produced with guidance from iconic printmaker/painter and fellow Coromandel-ite, Stanley Palmer.

The print series depicts the symbolic Camelia flower in honour of Suffrage 125, alongside a vinyl cut white camellia to be affixed to the exterior of the of the Ellen Melville Centre’s Betty Wark Room and surrounding area, both projects a first for Layla.

The white Camellia is symbolic of the women’s suffrage movement, the flower presented to those members of the House of Representatives who had voted in favour of women gaining the vote in 1893.

Stanley and Layla’s professional relationship extends beyond Art Ache. In 2013 they co-exhibited works at Melanie Roger Gallery – Stanley a series of landscape prints based on his time spent on Great Mercury Island, Layla a series of cast glass vessels also based on time spent on the island, echoing Stanley’s imagery and colour palette.

This year Stanley and Layla joined forces again, Layla describing the experience with fondness on Instagram:

“He said “I’m not going to do this for you” smiling, but really he has been right there, spent several hours in the morning mixing the colours just right, then left me to it. Me working on the kitchen table, him in the studio. Late in the day he filled in some of the stems indigo grey.”

Amid the luminescent hues of turquoise, grassy green, lemon yellow, indigo, magenta and lilac lie expertly crafted artworks that capture an aesthetic beauty that charms the viewer. Layla Walter is, like her cast glass vessels, a beacon for warmth, beauty and compassion in a world that can all too often feel cold and ugly.

Written by Anusha Bhana for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Layla’s Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Further reading: Artists website |  Instagram

Aimée Ralfini interviews Layla – listen to the podcast.

Suffrage 125






Subscribe | Shop Art Ache.

Not in Auckland or can’t make the event? DONT WORRY! We’ve got you sorted :-). You can still support (and donate to) the artist and Art Ache by purchasing one of the Art Ache Collect archival prints from our shop. These artworks are limited and have been created specifically for this particular Art Ache event, with the utopian theme in mind.

Art Ache Artweek

Art Ache – 9 Oct 2018

As part of Late Night Art, Artweek.

With support from Heart Of The City.


With a focus to encourage conversation around our future utopia, Art Ache presents the following artists for its final showcase of the year: Karl Maughan, Hye Rim LeeLayla WalterZammia Weatherall and Evie Kemp.

As well as the studio experience during Late Night Art, Art Ache will also have a number of Installations from each artist illuminating Freyberg Square in the evenings for the duration of Artweek Oct 6-14.


This event has been curated by Aimee Ralfini. Of her curatorial direction, she writes:

“I have specifically chosen artists who illuminate a pathway forward through their work. It’s time to focus on the positive potential of the future and look towards the light”

“The motivation of this Art Ache is to encourage people to imagine a utopian future that we can work together to achieve, rather than a doomsday future, which feels like the current climate is often geared towards. All of the artist’s work in a way which denotes a different (better) reality. It’s humbling to have such a wonderful line-up.”

For those who can’t make the event or who live outside Auckland, specially commissioned Art Ache Collector archival prints will be available online for a limited time for $60.00 via the Art Ache Store.

In an effort to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation in New Zealand, Art Ache provides young art lovers and future patrons a rare opportunity to meet a selection of this country’s brightest creatives. We believe at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors. Through Art Ache, we aim to assist intellectual and creative development, for the betterment of the local community and wider society. Manifesto.

For press enquiries regarding all artists please contact Ricky.
Full artist press packs with bios and imagery are available on request.

Podcast: Gary Silipa

Gary Silipa

Gary Silipa chats with Aimee about his current practice and his plans for Changing Lanes in Durham Street East for Auckland Artweek from Oct 6th-12th.

Podcasted from live-to-air on 95bFM. 20.09.18

Silipas’ expression has grown from his youthful interest in outdoor graffiti to studio-based work which is influenced by his creative heritage and shaped by the artists’ involvement in religion and science fiction.

Always attuned to the importance of making art that exists outdoors, Gary will be creating a street-long installation called Charm Bracelet for Auckland Artweek. As part of Changing Lanes, his work will reference Auckland’s unique heritage and signal the changing nature of the city’s urban spaces and potential future use of the sites.


From Highbrow to monobrow and everything in between, Aimée Ralfini offers a weekly morsel of Who Arted what, where and when, to keep your salivary glands going until you get your next art fix. 15 minutes of brain sharpening art content every week right here.


Original podcast.


Karen Rubado

Artist Profile: Karen Rubado

Written by Anusha Bhana for Art Ache

LOT23, 26th July 2018.

What happens to that meaning and value once an object becomes obsolete?

Do we take it and reassign it something else, something better? Do we take the time to question the journey the object has been on prior to being in our possession? Do we actively consider what happens to the object once it is no longer of use to us?

Karen Rubado’s practice is a culmination of these questions, an investigation into the nature of objects and the appearance – disappearance – reappearance of value. Taking these objects, most of which are destined for a landfill or a pile of inorganic waste awaiting collection on the side of the road, she literally weaves them into something beautiful and art gallery worthy. Therein lies the ‘value’ of her work.


Born in Christchurch, Karen spent the majority of her life in the United States living a somewhat nomadic existence with her parents. This gypsy-esque life of constant uprooting and replanting of her family in a multitude of locations made it relatively easy for Karen to return to her native New Zealand 13 years ago.

After completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts at AUT in 2015, Karen is now a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Elam School of Fine Arts and a practising contemporary artist. Her art practice is multi-faceted involving weaving, sculpture, installation, drawing and digital media.

The works themselves are varied, some are hanging tapestries interwoven with objects, usb cables, powerboards, VHS tapes, and others are more sculptural, large pieces of discarded metal again interwoven with a range of objects occupying large open spaces.

“The act of reconstructing refuse into art places value on the worthless, while also reintroducing it into society as something to be valued.”  – Source

Her art practice boldly delves into the fickle nature of our relationship with everyday objects, the unmaking and remaking process of these objects challenging the notion of value. The latest series utilises the out-moded craft of handweaving, a newly mastered technique inspired by a trip to Thailand last year.

“Through unmaking and making I contribute to and expand a material’s archive: collecting memories and experiences, and telling a story of people, places and things.” – Source

The marriage of disassembled mass-produced objects – complete with traces of human use, with delicate and time-consuming handiwork, draws these once useless objects into the forefront of a now ‘valuable’ piece of ‘art’.

Her most recent exhibition of work at the Auckland Art Fair 2018, entitled Current Situation, consisted of a hanging wall tapestry woven out discarded cords and cables, copper, wool and galvanised steel.

There is no doubt that Karen’s work is an all at once powerful commentary on our quite often self-indulgent consumerist society, challenging us to reconsider our materialistic tendencies.

Written by Anusha Bhana for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Further reading: Artists websiteInstagram  |  Art Fair 2018 project  |  Elam profile

Podcast: Cam Edward

Cam Edward

Painter Cam Edward answers the hard questions around the intentional/unintentional flaws in his paintings and bonds with Aimée over Sims City.

Live-to-air on 95bFM – 09.08.18.

The first look at Cam Edward’s impressive abstract paintings might suggest his forms are digitally produced. But on closer inspection, it is revealed that these works are the result of masterful masking and colour gradient painting techniques.
This blurring between the handmade and the technologically aided is at the centre of the artist’s practise, as Edward explores the space between contemporary painting and the digital world. – Black Door gallery

“The gradients and crisp masking is just as much an act of artistic vanity as it is about portraying an un-planned, non-designed moment of human-machine interaction. I choose to portray this with paint, a tactile and demanding medium that existed well before the digital age”. – Cam Edward.

Verve: Art Investment

Art Investment Do’s and Dont’s

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 08.08.18

Like art but don’t know where to start? Aimée Ralfini asked for some tips on what to do and what to avoid from a selection of Auckland’s top art insiders, here is their advice.

DO >>>>

Anna Jackson – Director, Gow Langsford Gallery

“Do your research! Visit lots of galleries, build relationships with dealers and get to know the artists they represent. Once you find artists that you like, follow their careers and consider what they have already achieved. How long have they been practising for? Does the artist have an established exhibition history? Are they included in exhibitions at public institutions? Which collections hold their works? The more of these boxes you can check off, the more information you have in deciding the level at which you are comfortable investing.”

Jenny Todd – Director, Two Rooms Gallery

“Always buy large and typical of an artist’s work – you have to love it. Investments may be short- or long-term so you want to be able to live with it happily.”

Dr Maria Walls – Head of Postgraduate Studies, Media Design School

“Consider why you want to collect art —well beyond interior décor. Art leaks into life — your buying decisions eventually affect culture.”

Deborah White ONZM – Director, Whitespace Gallery and Artweek

“Look, look and look again. People spend so much time researching a car or fridge before purchase and yet rush into buying art. Read about the work or ask the artist or the dealer, understand what’s behind their ideas and concepts. Always buy what you love, what uplifts you every time you look at it. If you are lucky it may also appreciate in value and you have had the pleasure of living with it every day.”

AVOID >>>>

Jenny Todd – Director, Two Rooms Gallery

“Buying anything you don’t like. Make sure the work has enduring material qualities, ie. it doesn’t physically change over time.”

Anna Jackson – Director, Gow Langsford Gallery

“Rushing! It’s worth investing the time to get the right piece. Most of all don’t buy anything you don’t like.  It’s not all about the money, art is for enjoying. If you wouldn’t like to see it on your wall every day, it’s probably not for you.”

Dr Maria Walls – Head of Postgraduate Studies,  Media Design School

“Don’t buy art on a whim. Visit and re-visit the work/s you have in your sight. Seek informed and critical feedback on the item you have in mind.”

Deborah White ONZM – Director, Whitespace Gallery

“Good art never goes out of fashion – never buy an artwork because it is currently trendy.”

Upshot >>>>

I wish I had asked for this advice before I broke some of the cardinal rules laid out here. I am very guilty of buying art on a whim, however, I am also guilty of buying exquisite works of beauty, which fill my mind with joy and create new pathways of pleasure every time I look at them.

So my top tip on investing in art? Read the advice given here and know this:

“The best investment in art is to live with it and get involved with it because it will nourish your brain more than dollars in the bank ever will.”

Written by: Aimée Ralfini for Verve Magazine.

Read original publication

Featured image (widget): André Hemer. Big-Node-#36, 2016. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery.

Podcast: Thomas Pound

Thomas Pound

Visual Poet Thomas Pound chats with Aimée Ralfini about his latest series The Instance, currently on display in Government House, Auckland.

Live-to-air on 95bFM. 02.08.18

It was a warm winters afternoon when I met up with artist Thomas Pound to check out his latest show The Instance, currently on at Government House. Government House is strange and wonderful place, full of displays of bowls, archival information, uniformed chairs and allocated rooms which all sit empty among the heady smell of institutional carpet and wood polish – something one would be familiar with if they went to boarding school.

Thomas Pound has a unique, curious eye refined by years of film-making, theatre design, museum exhibits and found-object sculpture. For his latest visual harvest, once again, he collects from the streets. A hundred Instagram squares richly informed… This is vital visual poetry for all creative readers.” – Roger Horrocks, Emeritus Professor at the University of Auckland.


From Highbrow to monobrow and everything in between, Aimée Ralfini offers a weekly morsel of Who Arted what, where and when, to keep your salivary glands going until you get your next art fix. 15 minutes of brain sharpening art content every week right here.

Katherine Atafu-Mayo

Artist Profile: Katherine Atafu-Mayo

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache

LOT23, 26th July 2018.

Katharine Atafu-Mayo makes art that explores her personal experiences of cultural identity and tradition. Atafu-Mayo invites us into her life, sharing traditional recipes and telling stories with tapa, engaging us with fond memories that make her feel at home.

Katharine Atafu-Mayo leads a life of communication, starting cultural conversations with her work, performing spoken word poetry and when she’s not studying, helping other people communicate by fixing internet connections as a part-time job. Despite this constant engagement with others, her communication with herself and her own identity is just as important.

Atafu-Mayo’s mother is Samoan and her father is European, they raised her and her two sisters in Te Atatu, before the family moved to Grafton. As a child, she got to engage with artist and creatives because of her father’s work at the Auckland Museum and was constantly engaged in art through both of her parents.

“My parents are advocates for embracing differences and culture. That’s something that I carry throughout my day to day life.”

Despite previously having a “feeling of inadequacy” as a result of “being afakasi’ (the Samoan word for mixed heritage), she has become more comfortable with her own experiences with Samoan culture and believes the wealth she draws from this is worth sharing with the wider sphere. One way she does this is by sharing traditional Samoan recipes with a distinct aesthetic; her recipes are hand type in pink ink, her tapa are printed with her own stories and emotions. The traditional work is engaging with a personal and modern process in an effort to reflect her current world.

“Throughout my art practice, I often bring the indigenous Samoan culture into the white cube to reaffirm that it is not a historical remnant but a living part of contemporary society.”

Atafu-Mayo aims to create “contemporary tapa” (or siapo in Samoan) by presenting her own symbols, feelings and emotions to an audience with the traditional method of storytelling. Despite admitting she doesn’t understand everything about being Samoan, Katharine Atafu-Mayo engages with Samoan culture in her own personal way.

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.


Event Press Release    |    Art Ache Collection Artwork.

Want more!? Aimée Ralfini interviewed Katherine for 95bFM, listen to the Podcast.

Or follow Katherine on Instagram @kattymayo


Greg Page

Nightmarish but cute

Joel Thomas on Greg Page

For Art Ache at LOT23, 26th July 2018.

As a filmmaker in New Zealand, I guess it’s expected for Greg Page’s work to be a bit gothic. His paintings are like kids picture books if horror was a popular genre among eight-year-olds. They’re nightmarish but cute, familiar but uncomfortable. It’s these opposites that keep him so interesting.

Page was born in Palmerston North where he went to Freyberg High School before heading off to Hamilton to pursue tertiary studies and then begin his career in film. A successful commercial director, Page has also made endless music videos for acts like Six60, Elemenop, and The D4. He has also played drums in multiple bands and has pursued a successful career as a painter. His work has been exhibited across the country, including in collections such as The Wallace Arts Trust. Recently, he made the music video for Julia Dean’s The Panic, which features animated hand-drawn charcoal drawings accompanied by film work.

Greg Page has a talent in adding an uncomfortable element to the comfortable, making us reassess our familiar surroundings and what exactly we like about them. Probably something he enjoys, considering the rural gothic horror film The Locals which he directed in 2003.

In his work we see large dogs scribbled in black, homely settings with doors that you can practically hear creaking, human bodies filling the frame in a way that’s a little bit less than human. His work all seems to take place in a void, a surreal world reminiscent of Courage the Cowardly dog, the stuff of children’s nightmares but without being explicitly scary. Like all good horror settings, what makes his work uncomfortable is the stuff he doesn’t show you rather than what you can see.

You never see the monsters behind the doors, you never know what the looming scribbled dogs have planned, but you definitely are not going to try and find out.

It’s one thing for an artists to make their own work good, but it’s difficult to make good work which also complements the work of others. Greg Page has found multiple successful career paths doing collaborative work across disciplines, showcasing his success as a New Zealand creative that understands his discipline and how to make it stand out.

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache.

Further information:

Greg Page Art Ache Archival Print (available for July 2018 only).

Article on Greg and Julia Deans around the animated music video The Panic.

Podcast of Interview between Greg Page, Julia Deans and Michael Havoc on 95bFM.

Event Press Release.


Julia Deans & Greg Page

Creative collaborations

Julia deans to play homage to the artist behind the visuals of her animated video for song The Panic in an intimate performance at Art Ache.

What happens when you combine the silky tones of singer-songwriter Julia Deans with the hard lines of artist Greg Page? Well, something quite beautiful actually.

The Panic video was both animated and edited by Greg Page, one of Julia’s long-term collaborators.  The clip is over 6,000 frames of art, which took over two months to create.

“I deliberately kept it loose and the black and white was a conscious decision to set the story in a dream or memory where colour is scared to go.  The rough scratchy style was me drawing honestly and without worry. I feel the scratchiness is the perfect accompaniment to that kick ass beat and bass line.

Julia invested a lot of trust not only that I would complete the clip, but in the concept which grew organically and slowly over time. I am proud to have made ‘The Panic’ and felt like Julia gifted me one of the best songs to be inspired by.” – Greg Page.

The concept of The Panic video follows a small girl who gets a puppy.  Unlike the usual pet stories, this puppy is not a pet, but a black panic dog that the little girl now owns for life.

As she grows up and her awareness of the dog increases, the larger it becomes until eventually, rather than letting it consume her, she takes charge and breaks the big panic dog into smaller manageable pups.

“The Panic is about learning to live with our fears & anxieties – with depression. It’s about recognising that all of us harbour these feelings in our own varying forms and, at one time or another, we have to work out how to keep them in check & reign them in before they take over.” – Julia Deans.

Mikey Havoc interviewed the pair on 95bFM’s Breakfast show on the 25th July. The podcast can be accessed on the 95bFM b-cast library here.

Art Ache returns July 26 at LOT23, from 5pm. Featuring artists Judy Darragh, Paula FriisKatharine Atafu-MayoOlyvia HongKaren Rubado and Greg Page.

The event has been curated by Natalie Tozer, Julia Deans will be performing a selection of songs from her latest album, including The Panic.

ADDRESS  LOT23, 23 Minnie St, Eden Terrace, Auckland
ON-SALE  Selected artworks, studio treasures at entry level prices. Limited Art Ache collector prints are also available nationwide for $50 each, from Sunday 8th for the month of July at

The event is FREE entry and non-ageist. BRING CASH.

Olyvia Hong

Artist Profile: Olyvia Hong

Written by Pearl McGlashan for Art Ache

LOT23, 26th July 2018.

Olyvia Hong is an Auckland-based artist whose primary interest lies in painting. Through fast and intuitive methods, Hong’s work looks to the practice of self-mythologizing among other modes of internal examination. Formally, Hong uses found supports, such as desk drawers, cut-up canvases and fabrics and combines them with paint, plaster, resin, found text and pop-culture images.

Born and raised in Auckland, Hong moved around a lot across the areas of Central, South and East Auckland and this upbringing taught her to be “light on [her] feet”. Her upbringing presents itself in her practice, as Hong says, she couldn’t be hugely attached to material things because she was constantly moving and shifting. So traces of the places she has been, people she has formed relationships with are recorded on to flat surfaces, like photographs, drawings, notes, and these form the background to the workings of her painting practice.

These photographs, letters, notes and splinters of her former selves sometimes appear in her work and traces of them form a background to the fragmentary nature of her painting practice.


Hong cites the work of Brazilian artist Paulo Nimer Pjota as a recent source of inspiration. Nimer Pjota, like Hong, is a painter, whose large-scale canvas works incorporate collage using sacks, scrap metal that he finds in junkyards or in the streets of his hometown. Another artist she looks to is Eric N. Mack, who Hong says she admires in the ways that his practice seeks to “extend and transform the notion painting”. Mack’s use of textiles, worn clothes, blankets and torn rags, alongside photographs and pull outs from books and magazines can be aligned with Hong’s own practice of creating sculptures-cum-paintings.

For Art Ache Olyvia presented pieces from her undergraduate years at Elam along with some works made the previous summer during a research scholarship project. The cobbled-together nature of the collected works and the differences is indicative of shifting identities, of her learning new things all the time; of play; the capacity for making art to harbour anonymity.

The cobbled-together nature of the collected works and the differences is indicative of shifting identities, of her learning new things all the time; of play; the capacity for making art to harbour anonymity.



After completing her undergraduate BFA (Honours, first class) at Elam, Hong has gone on in her studies and is undergoing a Master of Fine Arts. In tandem with her current studies, Hong is employed as graduate teaching assistant at Elam. Some previous group shows include I Understand If You’re Busy, RM Gallery (2018), Rabbit on the Moon, Hapori Vol. 6 (2017), Protagonist, Projectspace Gallery (2017) and Dog Pit, Satchi&Satchi&Satchi (2017).

Written by Pearl McGlashan for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

More Olyvia!


Judy Darragh

Artist Profile: Judy Darragh

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache

LOT23, 26th July 2018

Irrepressible. Irreverent. Iconoclast: Judy Darragh trawls modern day detritus to create assemblages and installations which engage deeply with pop culture, toying with ideas around gender, cultural norms and humour.

“I am interested in making repetitious silent, simple and reductive filmic moments. I use moving image as a non-narrative, repeating short sequences to undermine the expectation of time passing. Like a photograph, an analogue moment is stretched over time and gets glitched and stuck on repeat.”

A mainstay of our contemporary art scene, Darragh has been widely exhibited across Aotearoa since her emergence during the conspicuous consumption of the 80s era. Born in Christchurch, she completed a Diploma in Visual Communication and Design at the Wellington Polytechnic and has taught at tertiary level for many years. Her works are held in various major collections including Auckland City Art Gallery, New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster and Te Puna O Waiwhetu, Christchurch. In 2004 the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa featured a major retrospective of her work curated by Natasha Conland and entitled ‘Judy Darragh: So … you made it?’

Darragh has been pivotal in the establishment of multiple New Zealand art institutions including ARTSPACE, Teststrip and Cuckoo – an initiative that organises shows in various galleries or spaces. She is represented by Two Rooms Gallery and Jonathan Smart Gallery and her book Arts Society: Judy Darragh was published in partnership by Te Tuhi and Clouds Publishing.


Darragh is renowned for her multi-disciplined and multi-media works in which she reinvents existing materials to critique cultures of consumption and subvert societal norms. Her installations alter public spaces with exuberant effect, playing with the intersection of kitsch, sci-fi and domestic life. Colourful, viscous, visceral; her works are known for their bold aesthetic. Incorporating media ranging from bottles, glassware and plastic to corks, foil, fluoro wigs, foam, silicon, folded paper, feathers, tikis, beads, paint, flowers, stickers, paua, cake tins and furniture, Darragh alters form and function of her found objects to construct new meanings and contexts. It is this process of reimagining that is most significant, and alluring. To wander through one of her collections is to be drawn into a world in which the familiar shifts wryly into fetish or fantastical.

Written by Annabel Wilson for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

More Judy Darragh! Courtesy of Two Rooms Gallery.

Paula Friis

Artist Profile: Paula Friis

Written by Rebecca Tune for Art Ache at LOT23, Auckland.

26th July 2018.

Automatic drawings – a process of creation made famous by the surrealists, is used as a way to access imagery from deep within the subconscious. Paula Friss applies this process to all aspects of her work, resulting in a final product that presents many fluid paths of seductive pareidolic colours and shapes.

Born in sunny Hawkes Bay Paula Friis now lives in Warkworth, Auckland. Paula was a finalist in the 2016 Wallace Awards and gained her Masters of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College in 2018.

Friis has a wonderfully unique way of working which sees her first immersing herself in the natural environment during long walks in the Pohuehue Bush. This allows Friis space, time and a reprieve from ‘endless mind chatter’ and ‘information overload’ so that her mind can empty itself of noise and allow her to access her subconscious mind.

It is at this point the creative process begins. With heightened awareness of her surroundings and releasing herself to that space between the physical self and the natural environment, Friis starts drawing with as little thought as possible. These drawings are a nod to Surrealists artists who employed the method of automatic drawing to access imagery from deep within their subconscious.

It is in this subconscious space that encounters occur with endless possibilities and the natural environment allows direct, true experiences to take place.

Paula controls the fluidity of her automatic drawings and continued process of creation that stems from them with a sequence of strict rules.

‘The rules are simple. Drawings are always done in pencil, in a black journal and drawn faster than my mind can keep up.’

Back in Friis’s studio begins the process of developing these automatic drawings into shapes of colour. Shapes that will be layered and juxtaposed together to form a new pictorial language that is at once spontaneous and intuitive. In this journey of extracting shapes and collaging them together the act of Pareidolia takes place.


Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where the mind reacts intuitively to a stimulus (in this case coloured shapes) and sees recognizable shapes where none exist.

A common Pareidolia is the ‘Man in the Moon’, where people think they can see a face in the surface of the moon. The viewer observes both an emotional state and identity to the subject simultaneously. This happens before the conscious mind can begin to process the information presented.


Care is taken by Friis not to create a recognizable storyboard when choosing from her library of shapes to collate together in her collages. It is only once these collages are complete that the infinite possibilities of a pictorial language begin to evolve into a storyboard. The beauty of this is that often the story the artist will see is not the same as the observer. Everyone’s response is unique.

At times Friis leaves these shapes as coloured cutouts much like that of Matisse’s cutouts and Paul Klee’s fluid shapes. Other times these coloured card shapes evolve into paint and contrasting textural surfaces that play against the clean edges of the cutouts.


The art of Paula Friis is at all times in a state of flux and organic growth as the viewer processes the pictorial imagery Friis has chosen to present them with. The exciting thing about this is that the longer the viewer spends with the work, the more complex, powerful and seductive the storyboard becomes. It is the flow of the subconscious and its endless paths.

Written by Rebecca Tune for Art Ache, 26th July 2018.

Podcasted interview with Aimee Ralfini.

Event Press Release.

Art Ache Collection Artwork.

More Paula Friis!

Art Ache LOT23

Art Ache returns July 26 at LOT23

With an intimate performance by Julia Deans

It is a great pleasure to announce our line-up for Auckland’s Winter Art Ache.

Headlining artist Judy Darragh will be supported by artist’s Paula FriisKatharine Atafu-MayoOlyvia HongKaren Rubado and Greg Page.

Julia Deans will also be performing a selection of songs from her latest album, including The Panic, the video for which consists of hand-drawn animation by artist Greg Page about the discovery and management of anxiety.

The event has been curated by Natalie Tozer.

“Natalie has brought together a comprehensive collection of striking artists, who present an interesting story around the discipline of career creativity, the obstacles faced by ever-reducing institutional support, and the reality of making ends meet. This, in turn, reiterates the point of Art Ache – to generate a wider awareness of artists’ work and share their story, in order to aid them in their creative journey.” – Aimee Ralfini

WHEN  /  5:00–8:00pm, Thursday 26th July
WHERE  /  LOT23, 23 Minnie St, Eden Terrace, Auckland
ON-SALE  /  Selected artworks, studio treasures at entry level prices. Limited Art Ache collector prints are also available nationwide for $50 each, from Sunday 8th for the month of July at

This event is FREE entry and non-ageist. BRING CASH.

In an effort to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation in New Zealand, Art Ache provides young art lovers and future patrons a rare opportunity to meet a selection of this country’s brightest creatives. We believe at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors. Through Art Ache, we aim to assist intellectual and creative development, for the betterment of the local community and wider society.

For press enquiries regarding all artists please contact Aimee Ralfini.
Artist Bios and imagery can be supplied on request.​

Daniel Blackball Alexander

Artist Profile: Daniel Blackball Alexander

Written by Joel Thomas for Art Ache by Candlelight, Dunedin.

21st June 2018.

The crunchy colours of autumn leaves set the tone for Daniel ‘Blackball’ Alexander’s work which often depicts people as they navigate the outside forces of surreal spaces with resilience and elegance.

We see eyes beaming down on the figures, hands reaching from nowhere. A man climbs up a ladder out of the darkness and into a lush garden, another man’s wheelchair has been stolen by an arcade-style claw yet he has fallen with grace and style.


Daniel ‘Blackball’ Alexander works from a Dunedin attic, where he also co-runs the artist space and cassette label The Attic, a label which features artists such as Anthonie Tonnon and Lucy Hunter. Alexander’s work has been featured on gig posters, record covers, runways, beer bottles, as well as by the publications Critic, Te Arohi, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Wired Italia. Currently, he is the creative director for the microbrewery New New New.

Alexander was born in Dunedin, raised in Nelson and studied design communication at the Otago Polytechnic School of Design, though he says due to its minor role in the curriculum, his illustration skills are largely self-taught. Alexander works broadly with illustration, collage, and video and even though he’s drawn to Bauhaus and De Stijl movements he wants to draw from whatever he can for his projects.

‘It’s important to me to not put anyone project in one basket. I’m always interested in and attracted to projects that can bring together and merge design, typography, art, and illustration, regardless of whether its a personal project, an editorial piece, or something for a corporate client.’

A striking example of Alexander’s work is the illustration Lemon Hand, which was made when he worked at Critic magazine. The work features a hand reaching for a very small lemon, tucked away in the corner of a plate. The hand literally fades away into the rusty background. This was an illustration for an article about lemon detox diets. Lemon Hand shows Alexander’s ability to squeeze emotion and feeling into his depictions of a simple action.

‘I do remember being bemused at how ridiculous and over the top it was’ – Daniel Alexander.

Daniel ‘Blackball’ Alexander shows the absurdity of our navigation through modern spaces with clever and bold illustration, he also reminds us that we can attempt to push through these spaces with grace, by slapping on a nice thick corduroy coat to fight the off cold.

Written by Joel Thomas for the Dunedin Art Ache by Candlelight, 21st June 2018.

Artist: Daniel Blackball-Alexander

Event Press Release

Art Ache Collect memorabilia.

Artist profile: Motoko Kikkawa

Motoko Kikkawa

Written by Rebecca Tune for Art Ache by Candlelight, Dunedin.

21st June 2018.

Born in Hino, Tokyo, Motoko Kikkawa arrived in Dunedin; New Zealand’s South Island creative hub in 2004. Upon arriving it didn’t take Kikkawa long to immerse herself in Dunedin’s creative community.

Kikkawa’s many and varied works range from small, delicate ink and watercolour drawings on paper, through to both solo violin performances and collaborative sound experiments. These works seamlessly flow from one to the other and embody notions of flux, organic growth and infinite possibilities. ­

Attending Dunedin School of Art provided Kikkawa with a solid platform to begin her research and ongoing relationship with Dunedin’s growing sound art movement. In the beginning, it enabled Kikkawa to connect and communicate with her peers as she sought to find her space in Dunedin’s art scene. This sound art movement was to become the beating heart to Kikkawa’s art practice.

“When I am making objects, I recall past conversations. When I play music, I play as if I am having a new conversation with the person I am performing with”

Motoko Kikkawa’s work to date has been prolific, varied and enquiring. She speaks of walking and the search on her walks for material to feed her art practice. Material that is not tied necessarily to physical artifacts but more abstract concepts of war, sadness, disease and desire. She speaks of conversations, the fluidity of conversations and her recall of them.

Motoko’s incredible intricacy and life is what drew Art Ache by Candlelight curator Phoebe Lysbeth-McKenzie to the mesmerising works of Motoko Kikkawa.

“I relish the opportunity of including such a quintessential figure of the Dunedin art and underground music scene in this event!” – Phoebe Lysbeth-MacKenzie.


Written by Rebecca Tune for the Dunedin Art Ache by Candlelight, 21st June 2018.

Artist: Motoko Kikkiwa

Event Press Release

Art Ache Collect memorabilia.

Artist Profile: Ed Ritchie

Artist Profile: Ed Ritchie

Written by Phoebe Lysbeth-Mackenzie for Art Ache by Candlelight, Dunedin.

21st June 2018.

When asked to curate this years Dunedin Art Ache’s I knew instantly that It must feature the work of Ed Ritchie. Ed is one of the most present and contemporary thinkers in Dunedin’s current art scene. He has an extraordinary ability to pause time itself…. warmly inviting us all to take a deep breath in and consider the precarious nature of our own fragile realities.


Dunedin artist Ed Ritchie grew up in Dunedin, along west harbour in the quiet suburb of Ravensbourne. Time and place play an integral part in how he works. Ritchie is a multidisciplinary artist who works responsively to given environments, to inhabit the ‘in-between’ space with his sculptural assemblages.

Inspired by second hand stores, free piles, storage space, cupboards, renovation and slow sounds, Ritchie often works with found materials, which he incorporates with drawing, painting and sculpting – to conceptually shape thought.  

“My work ruminates on the transitory and ephemeral nature of our institutional environments. While speculating on the materiality that inhabits its in-between spaces, It explores distractive human nature and the precarious existence of our material identities, working quickly and responsively to ensure the energy of the objects equates to the ‘finished’ sculpture”.


Ed is based in Dunedin, has a Bachelor of Visual Arts with honours from Dunedin School of Art and is inspired by Martin Creed, Kate Newby, Zac Langdon-Pole and Hany Armanious are some of the Visual artists I admire for their clear, simple and conceptual approach to material.

Written by Phoebe Lysbeth MacKenzie for the Dunedin Art Ache by Candlelight, 21st June 2018.

Artist: Ed Ritchie

Event Press Release

Art Ache Collect memorabilia

With thanks to Dirt Gallery.

Holly Aitchison

Artist Profile: Holly Aitchison

What Lies Beneath: Scratching the surface with Holly Aitchison

Written by Annabel Wilson.

Following a rural upbringing in Mataura and Invercargill, Holly Aitchison escaped the “apathy, deeply embedded prejudices and backwards thinking” of turn-of-the-century Southland for the (somewhat) sunnier climes of Dunedin where she now lives and works. A fascination with skeletons, beasts of the wild and images from old books and magazines makes its way into her work, which riffs on themes of death, anatomy, feminism and isolation.

“I am an autodidact who specializes in drawing with ink, graphite and charcoal and painting in oil and water colour. My work is primarily representational and touches on themes of death, osteology, anatomy, feminism and isolation. I work during the day teaching art to adults with intellectual disabilities at an IDEA Services funded daybase, my aim being the mainstreaming of capable artists that I work with and fostering their own unique art practices.” – Holly Aitchinson

She’s inspired by her crew of contemporaries in the Dunedin art scene. “I am so lucky to be part of an incredible community down here; I adore the work of painters Sharon Singer and Tony Bishop and photographer Esta De Jong. They are all artists who lift the grotty carpet of life to give you a peek at what may lie underneath.” Aitchison also lists other ‘famous’ influences: “I adore Paula Rego. Her vision captures the dark horror of everyday life, it rewards inspection and contemplation and I find myself really drawn into her pieces.

“I adore Paula Rego. Her vision captures the dark horror of everyday life”

I love portraiture; one of my favourite series was by a Scottish artist called Joan Eardly who painted street kids in Glasgow; grubby, bug-eyed and full of life, I get a lot of joy from these paintings. Other famous artists I enjoy are Edward Hopper, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, Joe Coleman, Goya…”

With its intimate honesty, her self-taught style embraces experimentation. Her recent collages are populated with animals which, for Aitchison “feel like a more pure representation of humanity, not clogged with the trappings of society or defined by strange, abstract concepts such as religion or politics or capitalism.” Sourced from a bunch of books scored at the infamous Regent 24 Hour Book Sale, the collages were borne of a time of upheaval for the artist, when “I was in the process of leaving my marriage and turning my world upside down. I longed for nature to stage an uprising, to obliterate humanity so that we could start over, fresh… so I ended up creating it!”


Written by Annabel Wilson for the Dunedin Art Ache by Candlelight, 21st June 2018.

Artist: Holly Aitchinson

Event Press Release

Art Ache Collect memorabilia.

Art Ache by Candlelight

Art Ache is celebrating the shortest day of the year, with candles!

Thursday 21st June, Dunedin.

We are extremely proud to be shining light upon the following five brilliant Dunedin artists on the darkest day of the year; John Ward Knox, Motoko Kikkawa, Daniel Blackball-Alexander, Holly Aitchison and Ed Ritchie.

In honour of the shortest day with the longest shadows, we are making this a candle only event.

Art and artists by candlelight – What more could you want!?

Studio treasures for sale? Each artist will have a unique selection of studio treasures available to memorialize the experience. The sale of which supports the continuation of their creative journey.

WHEN  /  5:00–8:00pm, Thursday 21st June,

WHERE  /  Dog With Two Tails, 25 Moray Place, Dunedin**.

WHO  /  John Ward Knox, Motoko Kikkawa, Daniel Blackball-Alexander, Holly Aitchison and Ed Richie, curated by Phoebe Lysbeth-Mackenzie.

ON-SALE  /  Selected artworks, studio treasures at entry level prices. Limited Art Ache Collectors prints are also available nationwide for $50 each, for all of June, online at

This event is FREE entry. All welcome.

PRESS CONTACTS  /  For South Island press enquiries regarding all artists please contact Phoebe Lysbeth-Mackenzie. For all other enquiries, please contact Ricky Martin. Artist Bios and imagery can be supplied on request.

**If you live outside of Dunedin, and can’t make the event, we feel for you. Good news tho!! You can still support the artists and the event by visiting the Art Ache Collect store and purchasing a piece of memorabilia from the show. Yay!


Art Ache believes at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors.

John Ward Knox

Artist Profile: John Ward Knox

‘As a traveller at home and abroad I value depth over breadth of experience, chance above planning.’

Written by Joel Thomas.

The most recent work of John Ward Knox is poetically documentarian. Despite finding success making work in a studio, he has abandoned his post for a less stable but more mobile van, which he lives in and uses to travel around Te Wai Pounamu and Dunedin.

We’re all cold, this time of year, but only a few of us are comfortable with this fact. The work of John Ward Knox pulls a strange sense of cosiness out from the barren. He presents life like a small fireplace in an empty room, you can’t help but gather around it.

Ward Knox was born in Auckland, 1984. His work is conceptual and covers a broad selection of media such as installation, video, drawing and sculpture. He studied at Elam School of Fine Arts and graduated with an MFA in 2008. Since graduating, Ward has received the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, had work exhibited at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Chartwell Collection, Govett-Brewster Gallery and James Wallace Arts Trust. He has since left the studio life behind in search of the ‘sustenance of chance that so infrequently visits a closed room.’

John Ward Knox’s images observe the way objects interact with spaces. He doesn’t force anything, he just watches with a friendly lens and a warm sense of humour, telling the stories of moments, spaces, and objects that would otherwise go unheard.

His travels are fleeting and spontaneous, he says: ‘if I or some other were to try to follow a map of mine literally, they’d soon find themselves standing at some unrecognised spot, looking about themselves for a sign or symbol of direction which probably doesn’t exist. Here they’d be impelled either to ask a kindness of a stranger or to make their own judgement and follow their nose, which is just perfect.’

Ward Knox places a lot of trust in chance, in the unknown, in other people, and in the world. This trust in chance is a key part of his current process, a process which leads him to find and capture scenarios such as a soy sauce bottle shaped like a fish caught in a cobweb, or a basket fungus tucked beneath the undergrowth.

These images gently remind us of the way human-made objects, like the plastic fish, fall into the environment and will most likely remain there forever. Ward Knox’s candid presentation of this fact reminds us of how normalised this has become. When we see his image of autumn leaves in a crushed cigarette carton we think ‘hah, I’ve seen that before,’ and Ward Knox is subtly reminding us that this is an issue.

John Ward Knox has the knack of telling the story of something we’d otherwise ignore, assigning value to places few of us would venture to, letting us know there’s warmth and joy and value to be found in the coldest, loneliest experiences and places.

Written by Joel Thomas for the Dunedin Art Ache by Candlelight, 21st June 2018.

Artist: John Ward Knox

Event Press Release

Art Ache Collect memorabilia.

With thanks to Ivan Anthony.

Art Aches Heritage

Art Aches Heritage

Art Ache was purpose born to reinvigorate New Zealand’s Art awareness, by expanding the art scene into the wider cultural gamet of Aotearoa. This has been achieved in essence by rebranding what we consider Art to be.

Art Aches Heritage is unique in that it focuses directly on the creative core of a person’s expression, presenting it alongside contrasting creative typecasts. This strategic range of creative maximises the events’ reach to the wider cultural sector.

By showcasing the artists in a venue which is quintessentially local, we not only challenge the traditional fine art gallery and exhibition stereotype, we also reinforce the new art brand. Which is connective, personable, inclusive, contemporary, regionalistic and truly representative of who we are as New Zealanders.

The first event of its kind was called The Artists Dinner and held in July 2013 at Portland Public House in Kingsland, with the aim of providing a relaxed and social environment, for prospective buyers to browse and purchase art, whilst interacting with the eight featured artists exhibiting and selling a selection of previously unseen studio works.

First ever Artists Dinner event.

The second was in November 2013, this time at The Golden Dawn in Ponsonby, a venue well known for its music, fashion and cultural events. It featured a selection of five established and up-and-coming female artists, the night was a sell-out success, with all money going directly to the artists.

Press Roll for The First Golden Dawn Event.

As momentum for the event grew with showcases every second month in 2015, so did the enthusiasm to make Art Ache an ongoing feature of New Zealand’s cultural calendar.

Art Ache has provided a continued platform of support for a growing number of local artists throughout the last five years, helping them build both their artistic and commercial identities amongst a wider audience.

About Art Ache

About Art Ache

“At the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors.”

Art Ache’ is an artists’ art event which showcases 5-6 artists at a time from a range of creative backgrounds. All artists involved are present at the event, with a selection of studio treasures available to purchase at entry level prices.

The aim of the event is to create a lasting connection between the artist and the art lover who is curious about art, but not sure where to start.

So far Art Ache has presented over 80 New Zealand artists, ranging from the top internationally recognized to NZ’s youngest and newest.

Art Ache believes art is the most potent form of communication and artists are the litmus paper of society. It aims is to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation.

“Art Ache aims to assist intellectual and creative development, for the betterment of the local community and national identity”.

Art Ache is a nationwide New Zealand Art event which occurs twice yearly in Auckland and is beginning to roll out nationally, having completed it’s second Dunedin event in June 2018. It has been running for almost 5 years now and is up to its 18th event.

“We firmly believe that artists are the litmus paper of society… it is vital that focus is directed towards our creative storytellers, in order for us to understand who we are, how we think, and what we look like”.

Each show has its own personality, derived from the artists we present and the kind of work they have available at the time. This overarching story unravels via social media and editorial press as we explore the artists studios, interview them and present them individually and collectively.

“We want to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation”.

Each art ache event aims to leave a lasting impression on everyone involved. We present a strategic mix of artists at varying stages of their careers from a range of backgrounds for the widest cross-pollination of creative energy. Every artist gets a toolkit of skills from the experience tailored to their needs. We share knowledge, ideas and contacts to maximise every collaboration.

Art Ache Billboard 2015

Art Ache Manifesto

The Art Ache Manifesto

Our 10 commandments


  1. Art Ache believes Art is the most potent form of human communication

  2. Art Ache accepts art means different things to different people

  3. Art Ache believes at the core of every healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors

  4. Art Ache knows artists to be the litmus paper of society

  5. Art Ache aims to make art and culture part of everyday conversation

  6. Art Aches focuses on the creative core of a person’s expression

  7. Art Ache provides artists, art lovers and future patrons the opportunity to meet

  8. Art Ache aims to educate New Zealanders about art in a way that creates an ongoing interest

  9. Art Ache is committed to providing a platform of support for artists by sharing its knowledge and ideas

  10. Art Ache showcases artists with integrity and passion.