Political themes and portraits are a strong focus of my current work. Sometimes light-hearted, often satirical, each has a considered and intentional message. As images, they are realistic, strong and often evocative.
Each artwork takes many months of planning and research prior to even making the first stitch. The subject is researched, images gathered and studied, and decisions made regarding the name of the work, stitch techniques, colours, fibres, creative process and composition. All of these are essential to the success of the final work, but are finalised prior to beginning the actual portrait. The stitching time for each portrait is dependent on the size of the piece, and the techniques being used. On average a portrait will takebetween 50 and 60 hours of actual stitching time, with at least as much time spent in research and planning prior to beginning.
“Where’s the pussy, Mr President?”
“Where’s the pussy, Mr President?”
This was stitched as an entry into the ANZEG postbag colour challenge for 2017, with the theme of Outrageous Orange. Material choices and portrait composition were made with the intention of recreating the emotions and outrage that Mr Trump has evoked during his run for presidency and subsequent tenure. Cat fur and human hair were incorporated into the hair, and the portrait was framed in formal style, but used a landscape orientation reminiscent of a television screen, as a nod to his love of media coverage.
“Gareth Morgan on Cats”
While this was my second completed portrait, the idea for it originated a few years ago, and as such, was my first planned portrait. While Mr Morgan’s views on felines are well known, this piece plays with an alternative interpretation of his views. Gareth Morgan, stitched using long and short stitch, onto a bed of felted cat fur. The frame is handmade from recycled wood, as a nod to Gareth Morgan’s self-made success.
Against a background of increasing ethnic diversity, Winston Peters continues to be outspoken on his anti-immigration policies, and regionally focused politics. He has run his most recent campaign with the slogan ”Had enough?”, and with his role reprised as the “Kingmaker” in the most recent election, this is certainly a sentiment that has been expressed by the NZ public. But have we really had enough? Has he had enough? Of what have we had enough? Polarising, and with a reputation for straight talking, Winston Peters is a topical and intriguing subject for a portrait.
The portrait is completely hand stitched on Thai silk, using a variety of cotton and wool embroidery threads, Chinese silk, human hair, flax fibre and dog fur. Material choice and country of origin has been carefully considered and sourced to highlight the irony of a strong anti-immigration policy in a country that has been fully populated and built by immigrants. A touch of ‘old dog’, references Winston Peters extensive political experience, and adds an element of humour to the work, while the use of flax and wool reflects his mixed Maori and Scottish ancestry.
This portrait was awarded Runner Up in the 2018 Aspiring Art Prize.
A hand embroidered female fist, raised against a background of machine embroidered hashtags relating to the womens rights movement. This was inspired by the #timesup and #metoo movements. The use of embroidery as a medium to make a statement on the womens rights is intentional, and references the inherent power in femininity.
“To thine own self be true
“To thine own self be true” is a portrait, which unlike the other portraits I have done, is not intended to be a recogniseable figure. Not so overtly political in nature, it still references womens rights, and standing up for oneself. It is about being strong in choices, and living ones own truth openly.