Masked Artist Photography Show 2024

Masked Artist Photography Show 2024 is a group show featuring eight artists from Ōtautahi and wider Aotearoa, surveying a range of photographic approaches and techniques. Hosted by The Masked Artist Gallery and Studios at their Boxed Quarter base, the show runs from June 16th to July 1st, with regular opening hours between 12pm and 6:30pm every day. Spanning traditional film, instant photos, digital and avant-garde experimental forms, the Photography Show 2024 illuminates the scope of contemporary photography as a way to capture our environments and experiences, from evocative urban landscapes to portraiture and more exploratory works that revel in textural and layered design elements. It could be argued that photography’s ubiquity and accessibility, as well as the increased platforms for sharing work, have dulled us to photography’s power, but here, poetry, mystery, craft and story-telling are at the fore, a reminder of photography’s power and potential. Masked Artist Photography Show 2024 features work by @lucas.twocus, @lifeisshortforabadlife, @cultsandmystics, @jermaineggggardner, @rhis_painter and more…

TUNE! with Hambone

Hambone is up on the decks this week, with a tasty selection of tunes that inspire his tattoo flash inspired creations. We love the punky energy that buzzes in Hambone’s work; twisted, snarling, funny and loud, and while some of the songs here might fit a similar description, there are also eclectic choices that might surprise. From the Aotearoa heaviness of Beastwars and sludginess of Head Like A Hole, to the iconic electro energy of The Prodigy, hip hop cuts with Ice Cube and Yelawolf and even Haddaway’s iconic What Is Love?… Dive into the Bone Man’s diverse choices and draw some skulls, it’s only fitting….

Beastwars – Some Sell Their Souls

Frankie Knuckles – It’s Hard Sometimes

Haddaway – What Is Love – 7″ Mix

The Prodigy – Breathe

Head Like a Hole – Glory Glory Hallelujah

Ice Cube – Do Ya Thang

Yelawolf – Dope

KING MUD – Smoked All My Bud

James Leg – Dirty South

Stay TUNEd for more TUNE! playlists!

Showtime – Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution, Monday 13 May, 2024

Like all good garage sale-rs (I’m not sure about you, but I think ‘garage sailors’ is an apt moniker, maybe we can start a trend), we rugged up and got there early for the opening of Daken’s Garage Sale with Lucky Dips at Absolution Tattoo and Piercing in the Arts Centre. A tribute to Kiwiana and nostalgia, with lots of playful mash-ups and pop culture references, Daken’s concept for a good old fashioned garage sale was imbued with his always present sense of humour and earnest drive to make things. Like any good garage sale, there were surprising treasures, with accompanying ephemera, from vintage cassette tapes to a Donkey Kong board game and a Bunnings T-Shirt, to a raft of familiar influences; Bumble, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Four Square and more. For a healthy dose of charming fun, check out Garage Sale with Lucky Dips at Absolution and pick up a few treasures!

If you have an exhibition opening coming, let us know – email us at hello@watchthisspace.org.nz

And That Was… May 2024

May, it was a month of many spinning plates. Here in Ōtautahi, there were the ongoing discussions of local politics as the city planned for our future with the Long Term Plan, but there was also Mother’s Day, Star Wars Day and, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, No Socks Day and Root Canal Appreciation Day (both May 8th). It is fair to say there was a lot going on. But it was also a time where we might expect outdoor art to slow down as the temperatures plummet, so what did we find and what did we love? Well, it turns out there was plenty to do and see, from exhibitions to new works, big and small, and even new ways of looking at Ōtautahi. Read on and find out what we loved in May 2024!

Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution

Our pal Daken staged a fun solo show at Absolution, drawing on his love for childhood nostalgia, Kiwiana and bootleg goodness. Garage Sale with Luck Dips included custom toys, airbrushed vintage t-shirts and, of course, surprises wrapped in paper for punters to take a chance. Our personal favourites? Definitely the dismembered Star Wars and G.I. Joe “bootlegs”, the Thinking Ape painted on a vintage Donkey Kong board game and the customised Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt that immediately evoked the original, practical movie costumes, altogether now, T-U-R-T-L-E Power

Ghostcat’s Leave No Trace Trail Expands…

Ghostcat‘s public trail of reminders of Ōtautahi’s past continues to grow and for many children of the 80s and 90s, the latest addition is especially memorable. The small silver disc may not be easy to spot on Gloucester Street, especially against the similarly coloured lamp post, but a closer inspection reveals it to be one of the iconic tokens from beloved video game arcade Wizards, formerly located just metres away. With more to come, it is worth exploring this touching project and the forthcoming Ghosts on Every Corner exhibition and publication…

Dcypher @ Mexicanos

Dcypher continues to remind us all of his talent with a striking addition to Mexicano’s Restaurant on Victoria Street. The radiant winged Virgin, occupying an expansive desert scene, fits perfectly with the popular eatery’s aesthetic – more please (that’s more tacos, more margaritas and more art)!

The City After Dark

As the city gets dark earlier in the evening, it is interesting to explore the art that takes on a different appearance in a vacated setting bathed in different light – like this DTR production on Manchester Street. From works illuminated by lighting to projected artworks and light installations, Ōtautahi is a surprising setting even after the sun goes down…

Love Everyone…

We couldn’t help but include this little mantra scrawled on one of the giant cans on St Asaph Street – Love Yourself, Love Everyone, Love Vampires. Sounds like good advice…

What made your May? Let us know below…

TUNE! with Dark Ballad

Welcome back to TUNE! our ever-expanding playlist of the music and culture that inspires our favourite artists. This edition we find out what Ōtautahi artist Dark Ballad has on his musical radar – after all, is there a more apt artistic moniker than his? With his penchant for darker imagery, it might not be surprising to see a healthy dose of metal and heavy rock, but there are also some hip hop entries and a certain British icon, showing a bit of variety! As the artist explains: “These are all songs I frequently listen to whether I’m drawing in a black book with a few beers, in the studio printing woodblocks, or driving around looking for spots…” – so let’s dive in to the soundtrack of Dark Ballad…

Bone Thugs n Harmony – Mo’ Murda

My favorite song of all time. My cousin introduced me to Bone Thugs at an early age and I immediately fell in love with the intoxicating mix of hardcore gangsta rap delivered with the smoothness of R’n’B. Mo’ Murda has all four members killing it over a beat that’s a sample of the classic I’d Rather Be With You by Bootsy Collins, another of my faves.

The White Stripes – Red Rain (Live)

In my opinion, the White Stripes are the rawest and most effective live band of all time. The difference between them live and on record is night and day. They’re great on record, but live is a whole different beast. The visceral and distorted slide blues of Jack with the simple yet thunderous cacophony of Meg’s drums can only be done justice on live recordings and “Red Rain” is the prime example of this.

Rainbow – Stargazer

The best song with the best rock vocalist of all time, Ronnie James Dio. A true progressive symphony. One of the sickest intros of any classic rock/metal songs of all time too. Just epic in every sense.

Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks

I love blues and I really love when great rock bands cover old blues and gospel songs (Nirvana with Where Did You Sleep Last Night and the White Stripes’ Death Letter) and this is the prime example of this. 

Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff

Once a Limp Bizkit fan, always a Limp Bizkit fan (unless you grew up and your music taste evolved, which mine didn’t). I was around 12, with spiky hair, frosted tips, a wallet chain, and dressed head to toe in Dickies, and at the time counter culture things like Eminem, South Park and Limp Bizkit became huge and I loved them all. An absolute breath of fresh air compared to what came before them in the 90s. My love for them and this song in particular was reignited after seeing the havoc it incited at Woodstock ’99. 

Creed – One Last Breath

What started as a meme between PK, Klaudia (Bartos) and myself quickly turned into us finding ourselves playing this band every chance we got. Similar to Limp Bizkit, Creed was one of my faves in the early 2000s and this song in particular always hits that nostalgic nerve, as well as being a new favorite for us as a group!

Jimi Hendrix – Bold as Love

A beautiful song. Mind-blowing guitar and melody from the GOAT. As a weekend warrior guitar player, Jimi is pretty much all I try to learn these days. Everything you learn while trying to master a Hendrix song can be applied to any other song afterwards. Chord embellishments, phrasing, chord structure… This song in particular is a favorite go-to of mine in the throes of a party.

Metallica – Orion

It was incredibly difficult to pick just one Metallica song. I love so many on their first four albums equally, but I picked Orion because it invokes the most memories. From the cosmic opening to the relentless marching rhythm of the verses to the melodic and serene interlude, this instrumental from Metallica has fuelled many journeys in cars packed with too many people on licenses with too little qualifications.

Isis (The Band) – False Light

Isis (named well before the terrorist group came to popular consciousness) produce the most beautiful metal of all time. Similar to the reasons I picked Orion, False Light is seared into my memories of good times with best friends. Isis’ music sounds like what a camera panning slowly over a recently apocalyptic wasteland looks like. Slow, methodical and somehow beautiful yet brutal and hopeless. Bittersweet, just like the memories attached to it.

Bizzy Bone – Roses

Bizzy Bone was always my favourite member of Bone Thugs. From his rapid fire delivery to his melodic chanting on tracks, I always waited eagerly for his verses more than the others. In recent years, Bone has failed to find any traction in the new landscape of rap filled with minimalist lyricism and trap beats so far removed from 90s G-funk and gangsta rap that it may as well be a whole different genre. With Roses though, Bizzy has managed to find his way in with a vengeance. He is able to use his versatile style to not only fit in on a great trap beat but absolutely destroy it with blistering aplomb. I’ve always loved the dark, brooding simplicity of well-produced trap beats but have never been able to jive with the rappers rapping on them. Bizzy changed that for me when married the best bits of old and new on Roses.

Rod Stewart – I Was Only Joking

Rod Stewart was my Mum’s favourite singer growing up and naturally, that love was passed onto me. It’s always funny when we are drawing with friends and having a drink when the shuffled playlist goes from something like 2pac or Korn to a sad ballad from Rod Stewart, but once its started, we often let Rod play for the rest of the night. His storytelling, soul, musicality and sheer number of great songs land him on this list. I picked I Was Only Joking, but it could have been any number of his other great songs.

Stay TUNE-d for more TUNE! playlists!

And That Was… April 2024

April is that strange period when Daylight Savings ends and yet there is still a late afternoon glow that makes you realise that we are not yet fully ensconced in Winter. There is an optimism found in that glow, one that masks the panic that often sets in when you click that we are a third of the way through the year. I guess April feels like a lovely, calm swansong. And importantly, the longer nights, before it gets too cold, allow for a bit more creative activity, whether outside or in the studio (depending on your personal preferences) – the grandeur of Summer and large-scale murals replaced with a smaller sense of possibility. What did we love in April? Read on and find out…

Dove @ The Climate Action Campus

There is some real action taking place at the Avonside site of the Climate Action Campus, with the A-Maze-Ink art trail allowing artists the opportunity to brighten the walls with artwork that illuminates the campus kaupapa. One of our favourites is Dove‘s striking painting of a tauhou and korimako against a busy background – an example of the artist’s smooth style, the work is at once calming and energetic.

Freshly Wet Paste-Ups

We love seeing a flurry of activity on the streets, so the recent installation of a series of large paste-up works across the city by Dark Ballad and Klaudia Bartos gave us a real shot in the arm. From the nightmarish darkness of Dark Ballad’s wood-block works to the twisted visages of Klaudia’s characters, the stark black and white works are just delightful… ly disarming.

Alfa and Teknq in New Brighton

Clearly visible as I drive home, I have loved watching this collab between TEKNQ and ALFA come together – even if it has proven a distraction from attentive driving. The fiery colour palette of the pieces, accompanied by the Skull Kid character from the Legend of Zelda – Majora’s Mask game, add an ominous quality but also perfectly play off the existing wall and building’s qualities.

Vice Australia X Meep

We can’t reveal too much as the video is still in post-production, but we had a blast hanging out with local superstar Kophie a.k.a Meep and the crew from Vice Australia as they explored Ōtautahi Christchurch’s varied offerings – spanning our city’s eats, treats and streets! Stay tuned for the end product…

Shōgun

As the weather becomes perfect for spending time indoors, it is a good chance to share what we have been watching – and nothing has been as good as Shōgun on Disney+! Based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell, the series explores the political machinations of 17th Century Japan. Centred on Yoshii Toranaga, John Blackthorne, Lady Mariko and the charismatic Yabushige, the show revels in the delicious details and the subterfuge of “men talking in rooms” (thanks House of R podcast). After one episode, we were hooked and a binge followed – dive in!

These were our picks, what caught your eye in April? Let us know in the comments…

Daken – Garage Sale with Lucky Dips @ Absolution

Kiwis love a good garage sale. Maybe it is the curiosity. Maybe it is the potential nostalgia. Maybe it is the chance to rifle through someone’s discarded belongings in the hope of finding a unique treasure. Maybe we just love the thought of a bargain that cuts out the middle man.

Ōtautahi creative Daken, known for his bootleg toys and funky, humorous illustrative style, is drawing on the power of garage sales to inspire his forthcoming show Garage Sale with Lucky Dips, opening May 13th at Absolution. Daken describes the show as an exhibition of nostalgia, Kiwiana, trash and treasures, all presented through the lens of a good old fashioned garage sale. We caught up with Daken ahead of the show to find out what we can expect and how the idea came to fruition…

I know you are always busy making, creating and generally tinkering, but when was your last solo show?
I had my first solo show way back in 2021, on my birthday actually, which was pretty exciting. That show was almost exclusively a bootleg toy show (with the exception of a couple paintings). I had only been in the toy-making scene for a year at that stage so I wanted to really push what I was doing in that space. I feel like Garage Sale is more integrated with everything else I do, coming together for a more varied experience.

How did the idea for Garage Sale come to you? I know you have an Instagram profile that focusses on handmade garage sale signs…
Absolution asked if I woukld like to have a show there (shout out to Rochelle!). I always have show concepts and ideas popping up in my head. The Garage Sale idea had been fermenting for a wee while, and given the opportunity at Absolution, it felt right. I do indeed run an Instagram profile that posts pictures of garage sale signs, I started it back in 2019. Garage sales have always had a special place in my heart. Having a background in graffiti, the idea of guerrilla marketing through a kind of typographic graffiti folk art really interested me. No one sign is the same, they are always made with random materials, and the focus is to just get the message across: ‘Come here, on this date, to look through my old crap and give me cash for it.’ I felt at the time that I needed to document them because, like graffiti, they are such a temporary thing. The Instagram page (@garagesails) was a big seed that helped lead to this show.

What can we expect to find at Garage Sale with Lucky Dips?
A Lot of trash, treasure and nostalgia, haha! The show started with the idea of garage sales but slowly evolved into sub genres of nostalgia and identity through the lens of Kiwiana. So, you can expect to see all of these ideas drawn on paper, painted on items, displayed on thrifted clothes, made into toys from other recycled and broken toys and much more…

It sounds like Garage Sale will reflect your diverse practice…
I like to think of myself as a jack-of all-trades, master-of-none when it comes to my work. Jumping between materials, mediums and ideas has always been my thing. I use the name Daken’s Emporium because I can’t seem to stick to one thing. The idea of emporiums and garage sales seems to fit the way my work in general is very eclectic in nature. I get an odd feeling, dare I say a sense of magic, when there is a culmination of things that come together to make a bigger narrative. I love how everything has its own history, has a story of when it was made and how it came to be in some place with other things that can be so different, somehow all winding up in the same place… Did I just describe the human experience?! One of the biggest challenges that kicks at the anxieties in the back of my head is it all not working. I look at my contemporaries and other artists and wish that I could pick something and stick with it. But the truth is, trying new things is always fun and exciting for me. So defining my own personal style and voice within so many avenues of work, while challenging, is in the end, who I am.

Do you have final message for people who might want to come and see Garage Sale?
For those that intend on coming to the show, have a fun time! I hope I have managed to capture at least a small fraction of that magic I talked about, even for a short period before it’s all separated and taken down, just like a garage sale sign. Also, come say what’s up! I would love to chat about the work, hear your thoughts, and discuss who you think would win in a fight between Swamp Thing and Superman! Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a lucky dip!

Daken’s Garage Sale with Lucky Dips opens on Monday 13th May, 6pm – 8pm, at Absolution Tattoo and Piercing, The Arts Centre – Te Matatiki Toi Ora

Chaos of Calm – Joel Hart at QT Queenstown

Joel Hart’s captivating new body of work will be on show at Gallery 6 – the 24 hour gallery inside the stunning QT Queenstown. The gallery space, established on level six of the lakeside hotel, will host Hart’s newest series for six months from the 18th April. The Ōtautahi artist is excited to present Chaos of Calm, a suite of paintings that aim to capture “a moment in time where the boundaries between dreams and reality are blurred.” As snapshots of a thought or a dream, the pieces juxtapose Hart’s signature striking figurative imagery with abstracted aspects and suggestive forms that evoke an external manifestation of the character’s internal dialogues. Deploying a fragmented effect, where the surfaces are composed of smaller pieces fitted together into a patchwork, the works serve as a reflection of our complex multi-faceted identities and experiences. If you are in Queenstown, amke sure you head along to Gallery 6 and catch this alluring show…

Street Treats, Vol. 9

Ōtautahi is changing. This might sound obvious for a city that has literally faced a massive rebuild – of course it is changing. But, the change that feels most prevalent right now reflects a greater sense of control and order – the spaces of opportunity are dissipating, filling with shiny new buildings. Of course, this is inevitable, we like shiny things, generally. But it changes the way we think about possibility. New things are to be preserved and maintained, we seek the liminal spaces for exploration. This change makes Street Treats even more important – recognising the way street art adapts to new environments and responds to prevailing landscapes. Street art reminds us that there are alternatives, that there are comments, that there are possibilities. The streets speak…

Want to contribute to the next Street Treats volume? Email us your flicks at hello@watchthisspace.org.nz…

Showtime – STOKED 2024 at The Duke Festival of Surfing

The Duke Festival of Surfing has become a much-loved event in New Brighton. Amongst the celebration of surfing, the STOKED art exhibition is an anticipated part of the wider festival – showcasing an array of local talent, and creations that range from surf and skate-inspired, to abstractions and beyond. Over the years, a number of Watch This Space favourites have been included in the exhibition and the 2024 iteration continued that trend. Staged in the picturesque Carnaby Lane, STOKED 2024 presented a variety of styles and approaches and we captured some of our favourites…

If you have a show coming up – let us know! Email hello@watchthisspace.org.nz and tell us about it!