Mentee Interviews 2016-2017

Interview with Craig McClure, a 2016 mentee working with Matt Blomeley

What did you work on with your mentor?
My mentorship with Matt Blomeley was structured so that we met once a month for 12 months. This was something we discussed early on and decided to stick to. With Matt he helped me with advice and really valuable insight into the arts industry. I had a solo show at the Tauranga Public Art Gallery coming up so we focused our discussion around that project. We considered what else I could be doing to build onto the opportunity at the gallery e.g creating a database of visitors, artwork register, etc.

Due to changes at Bath Street Gallery (where Matt was curator), we shifted the second half of the year into co-curating an exhibition for the Waikato University. Matt chose 5 or 6 artists and I chose the other half around a consideration of drawing and its valuable contribution in the studio.

What other opportunities arose from this mentorship?
It seems difficult to tie in what were opportunities directly form the mentorship. I did get a broad range of insight and experience through the mentorship, which has strengthened me in many areas. If anything, it really boosted my confidence working in the creative sector. This has helped me to decide what opportunities to follow up on and what ones are maybe not a good fit.

I think previously I would say yes to anything and everything that came my way, which I do think is really good to do for a while, e.g as a recent graduate looking for work. But now I am much more considerate and confident about making balanced decisions on what roads to take.

Would you recommend this mentorship programme or have any advice for future mentees?
Yes I definitely would, and in fact I already generally have been recommending it to people.

Advice – Go in with a really open mind and not trying to force your practice to the front of the conversation/purpose of the mentorship. I would say focus on the industry insight, potential for new networks or collaboration opportunities, and above all be good to the mentor! They may be getting some kick backs, but they are still being hugely generous with their time and expertise.

What are you currently working on?
Since my mentorship I have started a roll at Creative Waikato in Creative Development. We are a regional arts organisation that works broadly to support, champion, and advocate for creatives in the Waikato region. In this role I have been delivering workshops from a course called ARTillery, working one on one with many creatives from all kinds of backgrounds and genres as well as working with groups and societies on their strategic planning.

Currently I am a part of the organisations of Hamilton Zinefest 2018 and Boon Street Art Festival 2018. On top of that I have an exhibition under Colours Collective during Auckland Art week in Ponsonby Central, 4A and an exhibition at Zeus Gallery in Tauranga in November working with other Waikato based artists: Ali Selliman, Claudia Latisnere, and Jacob Sparrow, as well as curator Laree Payne. The show is tiled “Human Era” and looks at the histories and relationships of the human species. You will see paintings, drawings, zines and photography works.

 

You can find Craig’s work at http://www.craigmcclureart.com

 

Interview with Philippa Nielsen, a 2016 mentee working with Melissa Laing

What did you work on with your mentor?
We discussed the various strands of my practice and how they worked together, and also some practical ideas to test out – things I wouldn’t have thought of, both in terms of collaborations and self-generated projects. This opened up my way of thinking about possibilities for my work.

What other opportunities arose from this mentorship?
There wasn’t a specific opportunity directly arising, but our meetings were a concrete way to confirm my commitment to my practice and keep playing with ideas and ways of moving these into the world. Becoming a mother just as I finished my Masters degree was a huge challenge in terms of making time and space to continue my practice, so the mentorship was a great bridging relationship to keep connected to the world of art.

Would you recommend this mentorship programme or have any advice for future mentees?
Yes, it’s a great way to reflect on your work and see it from another perspective after the supportive network of study. Everyone will have their own set of expectations, so having clarity around these is probably a good start.

What are you currently working on?
Next week I am road tripping to Nelson to do an exhibition at The Refinery, should be fun! In line with my own ethics for daily living, I am becoming more and more sensitive to the materials I use, how I find them and use them and where they go after the show. For this show I am using more natural materials and will return them to their environment when I deinstall. I am also inviting viewers to contribute and I am curious to see if and how people use this possibility.

Other projects I have been involved with this year have been collaborative, exploring ideas around ownership, space, trading, and working together. These projects nourish my personal practice and keep me connected to other artists consciously negotiating their ways in the world.

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You can find Philippa’s work at https://philippanielsen.com

 

Interview with Alex Plumb, a 2016 mentee working with Campbell Patterson

What did you work on with your mentor?
Primarily on my video work Rosario, which I filmed the year before in South America. I worked on it all year. My mentor would give me feedback and advice during the many stages and iterations of the project.

What other opportunities arose from this mentorship?
Besides a friendship, no other opportunities.

Would you recommend this mentorship programme or have any advice for future mentees?
Yes. If nothing more, it’s a great way to keep on top of your making as you have someone to share with regularly.

What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m between two projects:

I’m traveling with my short art film The Luring, (stills below) to the Aesthetica film festival in the UK later this month after its Best Experimental Film win here at the Auckland International film festival. The Luring has also screened at the Barcelona International film festival and the Hamburg International Queer film festival. The film is a multi-perspective story that shines a light on three isolated individuals living in the same city. When the film finishes its festival circuit, I want to organise a large three-channel installation of the work for a gallery.

I’m also about to begin work on my next short film Golden Boy. It will be shot in NZ over the next few months. I’m currently forming my team and looking for more collaborators to come on board the project.

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You can find Alex’s work at http://alex-plumb.squarespace.com

 

Interview with Wei Lun Ha, a 2017 mentee working with Richard Maloy

What did you work on with your mentor?
I worked on building ideas and concepts of how to create my art in a contemporary language, and on the presentation of my art in various forms.

What other opportunities arose from this mentorship?
I have learned more about international residencies across the world. I have also learned how to promote myself within the artist circle.

Would you recommend this mentorship programme or have any advice for future mentees?
I would recommend that all artists who need an understanding of how business works in the art world attend this program, and also use this opportunity to network and interact with people in all fields of the arts.

What are you currently working on?
I have just come back from an artist in residency from the USA, and I’m working on putting my works out in galleries, group shows, and public art exhibitions. I am trying to work hard on gaining more contacts to open up more opportunities and also submit more works into competitions all over the world.

 

You can find Wei Lun’s work at http://weilunha.blogspot.co.nz

Interviews conducted by Cadence Seeger, the 2017 Artists Alliance intern from Boston, USA. Cadence is a third-year student at Boston University and is currently in Auckland studying Art History at the University of Auckland.