Meet two new Alien Pets. Perisha and Marla.
I created The Alien Pet Series series to express my observations about our love for our pets and our fascination with aliens, comic book super hero movies and video games. The aesthetic appeals to me as the roots of these designs come from the comic strips, Art Deco, and steam punk styles to which I am strongly attracted.
In 2013, I took on a job to deliver and collect census forms in Wellington. During my walks, I discovered that nearly every house had one or two dogs, and one with as many as eight!
I realised just how popular pets are to us. So I joined the two ideas together by wondering what a super hero’s/alien’s pets would look like. My nightly sketches became creatures I have carved out of the stone.
I hope my work brings a smile. A quirkiness added to the ordinary. A slight shift in perspective of our surroundings. Questioning what we see about our understanding of the world. ENJOY.
The sculpture Gosia came about through my friendship with Gosia from Poland. We met online through a language learning course. I was learning Polish and she was learning English. We hit it off straight away, transcending the language barrier. Luckily her English is a lot better than my Polish and with the help of our translator apps we have became good friends.
I was learning Polish because my son Sam and his family live in Poland. I was lucky enough to go to Poland a couple of years ago to see Sam’s first child. I was thrilled to also have the opportunity to meet with Gosia in person. Gosia and her family were so warm and welcoming. I couldn’t get over how technology had brought two people of diverse cultures together from opposite sides of the world. We discovered many things in common, not the least our love of the arts. Gosia is a singer in her band, performing traditional Polish songs. They wear their national costume when they perform and I’m a sculptor in New Zealand.
In 2015, Gosia was diagnosed with cancer. It was deeply upsetting to me and as an artist I naturally sought to come to terms with this through my practice. I wanted to make a work that symbolised our friendship and in a way, by representing the strength of our friendship in stone I was saying she is staying here to see her grandchildren grow up. A sketch came to me one night and I felt this was the one. And so I made ‘Gosia’.
The lovely big colourful dresses of the Polish national costume is represented in the the big peacock like shape forming the back of the work. The puffy sleeves of the costume influenced the form of the front paws. While I was carving, the face evolved into to stylised Maori carving and the laces also have a kiwi flavour to me. Bringing together the diverse cultures of our countries in the work. The bows featured in this piece just came to me while working on the piece and they seemed so apt.
As it turns out Gosia, who enjoys fabulous clothes, went to a wedding a few months ago. She showed me the dress and shoes she was going to wear. I just knew the shoes were going to have bows on them and sure enough there they were!
A year on I am pleased to say Gosia’s prognosis is good.
THE ALIEN PET SERIES
The first of the Alien pets series made an appearance at the Hutt Valley Rotary Shapeshifter 2016 exhibition. Three of the four pieces were bought by The James Wallace Art Trust.