Saturday, 26 September 2015

Printmaking Process - Screenprinting with NZ artist Tony Ogle

In this very short video you can watch the successive colours being added to a new screenprint by NZ printmaker Tony Ogle.   We put together a slide show of photographs taken in his studio over the past month. Each colour is hand-mixed then added layer by layer.  The print he is working on is his latest limited edition screenprint "Harotaonga" released in September 2015.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Vintage Maps of NZ - new ranges of prints

New Zealand by Captain James Cook
The recent acquisition of the entire range of reproduction prints of some of NZ's most famous antique maps from Wellington publisher Thorndon Fine Prints is not the only news on the map front here at New Zealand Fine Prints. Although the decorative antique maps based on the charts of Captain Cook are consistently among the top selling prints in New Zealand we knew that there is another rich vein of highly decorative vintage maps in official government publications and commercially produced atlases.

Maps have been framed as wall art for hundreds of years, although the original maps are very expensive due to their rarity and age superb quality reproduction prints can be re-printed where the original maps are in good condition.

The decision of whether to clean up the wear and tear of the antique maps is one that each publisher wrestles with, our view is that reproducing the fold lines on an original map does not detract from its decorative appeal on the wall - the patina of age does in fact add interest and authenticity (without pretending to be an actual original antique map of course!).

The new print in stock from Thorndon Fine Prints of the highly decorative chart of NZ drawn by Cassini (shown here) is a great example of an exact replica/facsimile that reproduces folds, foxing and of course the unique hand colouring of the original map.

Vintage Wall Chart Style Maps on Canvas

The wall chart style vintage maps that have been printed on canvas are an interesting new product.
Vintage NZ Map, Wall Chart Style
Customers appreciate purchasing a map that is ready to hang - and the old school aged wooden hangers and rope together with the just the right shade of canvas colour works really well.  We like the fact that because we can still roll these vintage maps on canvas up to place in our standard mailing tubes we can deliver them at our standard delivery charge ($6 NZ, $15 worldwide) rather than the framed print shipping cost of $20!

However as with all new products our catalogue manager's enthusiasm for the category may not be matched by actual sales (this writer is looking at all those vintage letterpress posters). We have sold a couple of dozen of the wall chart style vintage maps in the past couple of weeks so we are hopeful that this is a good start that will build as more people see the maps in real life hanging on the walls of homes and offices.

Our complete collection of vintage maps, prints of antique maps and of course a modern day NZ map poster that we have for sale can be viewed here in our map collection.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Thorndon Fine Prints - Publisher of Early NZ Maps & Evelyn Page Prints

We were sad to hear of the recent death of Sebastian Page.  The founder of Wellington's Thorndon Fine Prints had let us know that he was selling the business due to ill-health a few months ago.  In my role as the catalogue manager for NZ Fine Prints I have been purchasing from Thorndon from the time I first graduated from Otago and joined our family's business.  Seb was a great person to deal with, always packaging the prints with care and getting them to us on time.  In later years I would always get a phone call letting me know when he and Marcia (of Page Blackie Gallery) were heading off on their winter holiday so I could make sure we had enough of the ever popular Thorndon "Cook's Map of NZ" on hand until their return.  Oh how envious I was as we headed into another Christchurch winter!
Map of NZ and the Pacific by Zatta based on Cook's charts

Our gallery has now purchased the remaining stock of fine art prints, maps and charts published by Thorndon Fine Prints.  Alongside all the titles we have promoted previously (like this map of the Pacific by Zatta) there are some additional prints that we now have for sale for the first time - in a couple of cases these are duplicates of images published previously by Avon Fine Prints such as the Cassini map based on Captain Cook's charts that we hadn't seen the need to double up on previously - but there are also some really well priced smaller prints from Buller's "Birds of NZ" and a couple of fine NZ botanical prints such as this print of Pohutukawa (historically interesting as it has an earlier spelling of Pohutukawa and is titled Metrosideros Tomentosa rather than the modern nomenclature of Metrosideros Excelsa) by 19th century NZ botancial artist Sarah Featon.

The story of Thorndon Fine Prints was detailed in some of the brochures that we received with the prints and worth recounting to make sure Seb Page's contribution to art print publishing in NZ is long remembered.

"In 1990, inspired by an awakening of interest in historical New Zealand, and particularly in the era of exploration and discovery, Thorndon Fine Prints issued two fine replicas of the most collectable of antique New Zealand maps, Cook's Chart of New Zealand, originally published in 1772, and the map of colonial settlement published in 1845.  Subsequently the range has been extended to include the most popular maps and prints relating to New Zealand and Pacific history, including some of the most decorative images of discovery, settlement and natural history, by the acclaimed artists of the time.  All reproductions are printed on the finest quality papers and presented with well-researched documentation."

Evelyn Page Prints from Thorndon Fine Prints

Seb Page was the son of artist Evelyn Page.  One of NZ's most celebrated artists Evelyn Page's
Evelyn Page on the
cover of "Art New Zealand"
vibrant paintings of nudes and still-life are among the most memorable images in New Zealand art of the twentieth century.  Thorndon Fine Prints began their publishing relationship with the Evelyn Page Estate in 2002 with their limited edition print release "Why Go To the Riveria? - Oriental Bay, Wellington".  The unprecedented success of this inaugural publication led to the inclusion of two more images by Evelyn Page in the Thorndon Fine Prints portfolio the following year.   Exclusive to Thorndon Fine Prints they were reproduced on the finest quality paper using UV resistant inks.

We are delighted to stock the three prints exclusively available from Thorndon alongside the Christchurch Art Gallery published print of Summer Morn (their edition of the every popular "Pohutukawa Rina" is unfortunately currently out of print while the gallery is closed).

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Image Vault News

The news that we reported on our Facebook page and Twitter feed three weeks ago concerning the pending sale of NZ art print publisher Image Vault has today been officially confirmed via email to all their stockists today.

"Dear All,

As most of you will already know, from July 1st Image Vault will be under new ownership. 
Due to an unfortunate glitch in our system, we were unaware that this formal notification had not been made, so we apologise profusely if this news had not already reached you!

The new owners are Nicola and Carl Church - and they are so excited to be embarking upon this new adventure! They bring fresh energy and ideas, and are hoping to meet with you at the Auckland Gift Fair in August. 

Many of you have been our loyal customers for many years, even dating back to our start in the top floor of Windsor Gallery! We want to acknowledge and express our gratitude for your support - it is your encouragement and feedback that allowed Image Vault to grow into the company it is today. Jane and Nathan will continue their association with IV by advising on product development and design, and Hamish will be on hand to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

Again, a huge thank you to you all.

Nathan Secker, Jane Secker, Hamish Bayly"

NZ Fine Prints was the customer they referred to in the email, this writer used to walk around to their High St gallery
Early Image Vault print - Coastal Breeze by Diana Adams
from our building in Hereford St to collect the first bundles of prints.  Image Vault had a great run with prints by artists such as Grahame Sydney and Diana Adams, riding the kiwiana art boom with prints like the Sweet As series by Jason Kelly whilst making the transition from offset printing to print on demand.

We wish the new owners the best of luck and look forward to promoting all the new artists and artworks they will publish in the future.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Christchurch Artist Hamish Allan's New Prints

ChCh Artist Hamish Allan
"Santa Barbara" - 500 x 500mm Art Print $64.95
Leaving out unnecessary imagery creates a sense of space and
serenity in the artwork of Christchurch painter Hamish Allan.   Composing a scene that is stripped back to the essential image means not making an exact copy of messy reality from a particular viewpoint. Because of this these new prints in stock here at NZ Fine Prints Christchurch Prints collection are clearly Canterbury landscapes and buildings but also distill from them a sense of place that is more of distillation of essential New Zealandness.

Allan's prints are contemporary artworks that give a sense of place with an accessible hook to draw the viewer in, Allan's love of classic cars and buildings viewed, as he says, "through rose tinted glasses at times gone by".   Look closer and the viewer begins to notice that Allan's paintings are also full of sly references to other things, for instance the road cone in "Santa Barbara" lets us know that this painting is post-earthquake.  We also enjoy the way Hamish pays tribute to famous NZ artists - for instance by hanging Don Binney's "Pacific Frigate Bird" print from the Barry Lett Gallery multiples on the wall of the upstairs room in "Blue HQ".  There are now over 20 Hamish Allan prints available, on both fine art paper and canvas.