What do you do?
Kia ora! We are both kaiako at high schools in Kirikiriroa Hamilton, but moved here from Tāmaki Makaurau three years ago.
Why do you go to galleries?
We both studied Art History at university, and share a love of art in all its forms. Going to galleries is a way to stay connected to a community of people who also enjoy art, and be introduced to art works and artists who we might not otherwise have had a chance to encounter. Witnessing other people’s creative expressions is such a privilege, and being able to share that with our tamaiti, Jem Huia, is important to us too.
What was the first artwork that made an impact on you?
Benjamin: Growing up we had this small print by Lindauer hanging in our stairwell at home. It was of my Tūpuna, Tāmati Waka Nene, holding a tekoteko and looking stoic, but also giving off big koro vibes. I would stare at the incredible way Lindauer painted his mataora, the way you could see the ridges of his skin where the uhi had carved a path for the ink to set. I remember the feeling I would have looking at the image as a kid. I didn’t have the word for it then, but now I understand that it was mana.
Tyler: My grandfather is an artist, so I grew up visiting his studio and seeing his art in our house on a daily basis. He primarily paints uninhabited landscapes, but I always felt drawn to his smaller Italianesque streetscapes, in romantic hues of terracotta and cream. Luckily for my dad he inherited a natural technical ability, and so, at my request, was able to paint a copy of Van Gogh’s Beedroom in Arles to hang in my childhood room.
If you could own any work of art, what would it be?
We have a lot of love for the work of Rachel Hope. She expresses such an original interaction with the canvas, and is able to create atmospheric works that draw you in and hold your focus. They feel simultaneously effortless and intricate, and Rachel’s understanding of light, texture, colour and proportion are so satisfying to witness. What an incredible joy it would be to look at one every day.
We have lots of reasons for collecting art. One is because we care about the arts as a social good – one that is painfully underfunded – so do what we can to support it. We’d also rather spend money on an artwork, and in turn support artists and galleries, than buy an expensive car or tv. It’s also a massive privilege to live with art. They hold memories and stories, relationships and ideas, and allow us to make the place we live in reflect the things we love and care about. Its also special for our tamaiti, Jem Huia, who gets to grow up surrounded by these taonga, and will one day share space with them long after we’ve gone.
Share a recipe or secret from your lockdown kitchen?
This lockdown we have embraced a ‘work smart not hard’ approach when it comes to baking and cooking. Probably the most fun, easy, and delicious trick we’ve found are the Hill Street baking mixes (@hill_street_baking) that our local New World stocks. They are a hit with the whole whānau (and our neighbours)!