Never underestimate what a spot of tinkering can lead to. When Kiwi designer and artist Turi Park was tinkering with abstract shapes and colours in his Wellington family home and studio back in 2002, he struck upon a bright and interactive artwork creation that would eventually see him secure a spot at the 100% Design London trade show, following in the footsteps of the only other Kiwi to do so, David Trubridge. Back home, the work would be housed as part of the Dowse Art Museum collection.
Comprised of a powdercoated steel canvas and magnetic coloured shapes, the artwork range—called Magma—encourages would-be artists to tap into their own creativity by moving the shapes into any configuration they choose, stripping art back to its most basic ingredients; colour, shape, texture and the innate creative thrill at the core of being human.
“The shapes are chosen to create tension between positive and negative space,” says Park—who is also creative director of Wellington brand consultancy, Native. “As well as being a shape that feels like it wants to be moved and rearranged, it creates dynamic negative space on the canvas that is just as interesting.”
And while the colour selections are intentionally simple in appearance, Park says they are the result of intensive balancing and hand-mixing.
“The colours each have to look fantastic individually, but also vibrate, energise and find harmony when together as a group.”
The son of famous ecologist and historian Geoff Park, Park has—rather not surprisingly—a deep understanding of the environment engrained in his art.
“The reality is that while in New Zealand we live in an incredibly inspiring environment, running a product design business requires complex material use, processing and freight to local and international markets,” says Park. “To offset this, we have selected materials to be as sensitive as we can.”
The canvasses are made using new Zealand steel from West Coast iron sand and are entirely recyclable. The powder coating used on the canvas is also free of nasty stuff (VOCs, solvents, lead, cadmium, PVC derivatives, TGIC and formaldehyde).
The magnet stock is mostly steel processing by-product. And while all printing and cutting is designed to minimise sheets, brightly coloured cut-offs are handed over to the art departments of various schools and childcare centres. The packaging is also made from 100 percent recycled corrugated carton board and printed using water based inks.
With the Spring range officially launched and doing its thing, Park is putting out the feelers for other artists and designers to collaborate with on future editions of Magma.
“Our next step is finding keen creatives to play with,” says Park.
And he’s not limiting his options either, with art directors, photographers, typographers, designers, ta-moko and carving experts, architects, sculptors, jewellers and film-makers all contenders for future collaboration.
Find out more HERE.