On Saturday I caught up with Kaikohe based artist, Sash to talk about the inspiration behind her bright,
animated installation work, Squidlicious; a pimped-out Fiat punto that was recently included in a group
show for emerging artists: The Driving Force, at The Depot Artspace in Devonport.
Her use of vibrant florescent colours and free-flowing lines and forms stimulates a sense of fun
and joy in the viewer. It’s exactly this uplifting experience that drives Sash’s work;
creating a natural high without the need for drugs or alcohol. She has transformed the interior
of her Cortina into a psychedelic wonderland of neon-green, fur-covered seats and satin-lined doors
adorned with squiggly lines, polka dots and sea-green daisies. In the boot is a fluffy,
sequined picnic basket to match, enticing the viewer on a magical adventure.
“I like to create littlespaces that are homely and inviting and just cosy…I’m drawn more to doing
work where people interact with the work and when they smile after looking at the work, I’m like….YES!”.
This instillation piece is like a portrait with a bright-green squid as the central, defining element perched
unapologetically in the middle of the dashboard. “When someone gave me the squidlicous
with the single eyeit was the final piece that made it come to life cause it came in last and it was
so appropriate because the squid is like the wheke, which is like the heart of the octopus
and Kaikohe is the heart of the octopus so it’s relevant to where I live but the eye is what brings the car to life”.
Her studies in the creative arts began in 2009 at NorthTec’s Rawene Campus where
she completed a level 4 certificate in Applied Arts. The conditions were less than desirable,
with art students working in tents and an old derelict school. Nevertheless, interest grew and
with it the institute’s infrastructure developed. Unfortunately, once developed, NorthTec closed
it’s art department and replaced it with a certificate in Business Management.
NorhtTec also plans to close it’s art department in Kerikeri where Sash is in
her final year of a Bachelor of Applied Arts.
She is appalled and saddened by the lack of investment in the creative industries in the Far North
where she believes art to have a pivotal role in serving the community. One of Sash’s many
plans as an artist is to volunteer at Northpoint Services Trust; a rehab center in Kaikohe
for people with mental health issues. “I’d like to go there on a voluntary basis to share my creativity
with people and walk along beside them. Art makes my heart sing,
it just makes me happy, it’s who I am, it’s very therapeutic”.
Seeing more connections between professional artists and youth development and
mental health organizations’ is part of Sash’s vision for the Far North as well as
having more places dedicated to art practice and for the arts. Another issue is making
authentic art and art experiences available to visitors to the area. “When people come
to the Far North they want to see art, they want to see Maori art and they want
to take home art pieces from New Zealand and they end up buying tikis mass-produced in China”.
Her long-term plan is to turn her own house in Kaikohe into a boutique gallery
with a vegetarian café and sculpture park. For now, she is focused on producing
work for local galleries and has several projects in the pipeline including a water
tank elevated on a tank stand which the viewer can crawl up though the middle
of the tank into a space with a mirrored ball and disco lights reflecting a myriad
of colours off soft silks and satins. Light is healing, it’s nurturing. It takes you to
an alternate reality.