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.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Dick Frizzell Recipe Prints

Lisa's Afghans
Hot Buttered

From 2007 to 2009 Dick Frizzell created a series of screenprints based on the Frizzell family's favourite recipes. These silkscreen limited editions sold, ahem, like hot cakes, and several years later we were still being asked for "Coco's Pikelets" and especially "Lisa's Afghans".  Although the limited editions are long sold out Dick has made open edition (and unsigned) reproduction prints of the original artworks that he holds in his personal collection.  These are very well priced at just $NZ49.95 per print unframed.
Coco's Pikelets

Although this series is nearly a decade old Dick's stark colour palette cleverly anticipated the black and white revival in interior design today.  The recipe series distinctively "Frizzellian" handwriting and the fact that he used kiwi favourite foods (and the recipes actually work) make these prints perfect for kiwi kitchens, and we are delighted to list three new prints from Dick Frizzell's recipe series in our culinary prints and posters collection - food & drink this afternoon.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

New Blood Pop launches NZ Fine Prints' urban art collection.

Princess 1.1 by NBP (aka Brad Novak)
Not all contemporary non fine art is street art.  But there is a subtle change afoot when artists who have moved from Pop to Street to Urban Art like Brad Novak bring out new prints that have built on this progressive foundation to create something new.  Brad's new series under the moniker "New Blood Pop" takes iconography familiar to New Zealanders but not exclusive to us and shows these historical and cultural figures in a new light.

This is what Brad has to say about his remix of pop in a more urban art direction. “New Blood Pop is concerned with how we experience life itself, the 21st century issues we face such as inequalities in wealth and health, sustainability and globalization. I’m also interested in the idea of escapism especially through science fiction and the superhero franchise. Of the things we choose to believe, what’s real, and what’s not? These works are global, flagrant, iconic and ironic.

I endeavour to create powerful multi-layered works, with an emblazoned foreground overlaying a “veiled” background, to show that many of us are living life through a distorting veil, clouding our perception. Our awareness tainted by biases and judgments – a fantasy that we’ve created for ourselves – the practice of mindfulness promises salvation.”

We stock the new series of prints under Brad's moniker “New Blood Pop”, or “NBP76”,  all these new prints are hand-collaged and stencil-spray-painted artworks which involve the layering of popular imagery like the Princess Leia portrait shown here which is for sale at $695, available in an edition of just 35 signed and numbered screenprints.