New Zealand’s Māori Heritage in Modern Visual Art | NZ Fine Prints

How New Zealand Is Reclaiming Māori Heritage Through Visual Art

Traditional maori carving in hamiton gardens maori heritage garden

New Zealand’s indigenous Māori culture has always valued art. The patterns and designs of tangata whenua are easily identifiable when seen in Māori poster art, architecture, and carving, but few outside of NZ know about the history behind modern Māori art. Where did it begin, and what happened to it through the 20th century to bring it to where it stands today? In this blog, we’re going to explore some of these questions by tracing the basic history of Māori art from pre-colonisation, through the contemporary Māori art of the 1950s, to now. In particular, we highlight how and why Māori art changed in the 20th century.


What was Māori art like before Pakeha arrived?

Traditional Māori art was historically focused around practicality. What we often think of as Māori art now began as pieces that intentionally married both form and functionality. In many cases, one inspired the other. Pieces could have had many uses, but they often had a principal use or an underlying symbolism. Furthermore, Māori art was used to give physical shape to important ideas, and often, art pieces were created by a single material, whether wood, bone, or flax. The material chosen also helped inform how a piece of art would look. Before European colonisation and repression typified by legislation such as the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907, Tohunga were deeply involved in art. While there may not be a single, analogous definition for Tohunga, they are often described today as experts in a given skill or art form. They may have been priests, carvers, linguists, or tattoo artists—a master of any of these could be considered a Tohunga. Not all art was created by Tohunga, as art was also a communal activity that groups could work on together, but art created by Tohunga was especially valued.


The effects of colonisation on Māori Art

The introduction of Pakeha changed Māori art dramatically, in multiple ways. There were surface-level changes, such as carving changing in response to the metal tools Pakeha brought with them, but there are also more profound changes in the culture which altered the art form. Some Māori adopted Christianity, for example, while others felt that their culture was being eroded, and the policy of Pakeha impacted Māori art directly, as in the case of the Tohunga Suppression Act. New leaders emerged, like Te Kooti, Te Whiti, and Rua Kenana. Te Kooti, in particular, inspired a religious movement called Ringatū, which combined elements of the Bible and Māori spirituality. His battle flag, Te Wepu (translated as the whip), was sewn by Catholic nuns, and became a famous piece of art. The flag was eventually captured by Gilbert Mair Jr, a colonist soldier and interpreter, who at one point led the national hunt for Te Kooti. Mair Jr then entrusted it to the Dominion Museum, but later learned it had been destroyed.


The emergence of ‘modern’ Māori art

In the early 1900s, Māori art began to return to more traditional forms. The establishment of the Young Māori Party, led by figures such as Sir Apirana Ngata, helped shape these opinions, and encouraged Māori to forget the teachings of prior religious leaders in favour of finding their own path to progress. While this did push Māori to reconnect with more traditional forms of art, many criticised the views of the Young Māori Party, which also called for Māori to abandon other traditions and adopt western medicine and education. Māori art began to change again in the 1950s, and this can be traced more or less to Gordon Tovey, national art supervisor for the Department of Education. He was particularly interested in fostering Māori art, and so began a small training group of Māori artists. This group included several artists who went on to become very important in New Zealand’s art history, such as Ralph Hotere. This movement began what we know think of as the contemporary, or ‘modern’ period of Māori art. 

Paratene Matchitt print "Me Whawhai Tatou Katoa Mo Te Ora"
Paratene Matchitt limited edition print

Paratene Matchitt was also part of this group. His work is known for combining Māori tradition with modernist art forms, and references much of New Zealand’s history, including the prophetic movements, especially that of Te Kooti. Matchitt’s wood sculpture ‘Te Wepu’ is a clear reference to the original flag, and it is now owned by the same institution that destroyed the original. Matchitt originally created it as a wero, or challenge, calling out the National Museum’s tendency to endorse a narrow section of Māori art.


Māori art today

The combination of Māori and European art continues to this day, often used to make art that interrogates its own history or makes statements about Māori in the world today. Shane Cotton, for example, has continued the use of the Ringatū motifs that Matchitt referenced in his own work. The digital landscape of the modern world is also bringing more attention to traditional forms of Māori art. As an example, a Rotorua-based carver going by the online name ‘Broxh’ has received a surge of popularity after streaming his work process live on Twitch. If you’re interested in bringing some of New Zealand’s history into your own home, take a look at the Maori art for sale in our gallery today!

NZ most collectable prints? - The Barry Lett Multiples

Barry Lett Multiples Catalogue
The catalogue for the Barry Lett Multiples (all images credit: Lesley Melody)

The Barry Lett Multiples are a set of 12 prints published in 1968. Art dealer Barry Lett produced the set with the idea of making modern art accessible to a wider audience by at a low cost. Artist, creative and clothing designer Lesley Melody is very familiar with the Barry Lett Multiples, as she explained in a recent email she is "very fortunate to own a set of the Multiples and enjoy them every day".  A few years ago Lesley took the time to transcribe the original catalogue which accompanied her prints when purchased. This catalogue describes the 12 artworks and gave biographical information on the artists - some of whom have become regarded as extremely significant NZ artists by today - that participated in this fabled series of screenprints over 50 years ago.  We are very grateful that Lesley has given us permission to re-publish material from her 2009 article, a copy of which she now has just put on her new website here.

Lesley wrote in her introduction "Art dealer Barry Lett invited 12 artists, some established and some up and coming, to contribute to the project. They were printed on paper and came stacked in a single glass fronted frame so that they could be rotated for viewing at will.

Many of the 12 who contributed have emerged as significant New Zealand artists - most notably Colin McCahon, Gordon Walters, Ralph Hotere and Milan Mrkusich [we would also add Michael Smither and Don Binney to Lesley's original list].

In 1968 the price $35 for the full set and it is unknown exactly how may copies were produced.

The exhibition catalogue is a sheet of large (A1-ish size) paper, printed in 2 colours with an explanatory piece about each artist and their print, and shows (with an orange line) the size of the main prints.

The sets usually became split as the more widely known artist prints, especially those by Colin McCahon, Gordon Walters and Ralph Hotere were more sought after. There are therefore relatively few complete sets. Iconic works like McCahon and Binney have been seen to change hands between $3,000 and $6,000 each [these prints sell for about double these amounts in 2020]."

Catalogue Transcription

Don Binney, Pacific Frigate Bird
Born in Auckland, 1940. Studied School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland 1958-61. Awarded Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council Fellowship in 1966.

In Europe and North and Central America in 1967-68. At present painting full-time.

He has held several one-man shows since 1963, including one at the Instituto Anglo-Mexicano in Mexico City, as part of the cultural programme accompanying the XIX Olympiad. His work has been included in all important exhibitions assembled here in recent years.

Finalist in the 1968 Benson and Hedges Art Award.

Public Collections: Auckland, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin.

Binney has used the frigate bird in several paintings recently In most of his recent paintings and drawings the placing of images is similar to the present work, his concern being to establish a vertical tension between natural forms, usually with birds, and the landscape, or, in this case, the horizon, as his major images.  [Update: There is now an offset reproduction print available of Pacific Frigate Bird.]

Gordon Walters, Tawa
Born Wellington, 1919. Studied at Wellington Technical College School of Art. The first exhibitions of his work were held in Wellington in 1945 and 1947. Traveled and studied in Australia and Europe 1947-53. Commenced developing his present style of painting after returning from overseas. Has subsequently held one-man exhibitions in Auckland and Wellington. Finalist in the 1968 Benson and Hedges Art Award, and was second prize winner in the 1967 Manawatu Prize for Contemporary Art.

Public Collections: Auckland, Palmerston North, Sydney, N.S.W.

Walters is undoubtedly New Zealand's foremost practitioner of Op art and there are few artists working in any style who have resolved the combination of international (Op) and national (the koru-like forms) elements with the success that he has.

Robert Ellis, Motorways
Born in Northampton, England in 1929. Studied at the Northampton School of Art 1944-1947, and at the Royal College of Art London, graduating in painting in 1952. After four years teaching at the Yeovil School of Art he came to New Zealand in 1957 to take up an appointment as lecturer at the Elam School of Art University of Auckland. He has been there since, being made Associate Professor in 1966.

Ellis has held many one-man shows in New Zealand and Australia, and has been included in most contemporary New Zealand painting exhibitions, both local and touring, since 1962.

Public Collections: Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Adelaide.

Since 1960, most of Ellis' work has been based on various aspects of the man-made urban environment - predominantly the city itself and, more recently, the communicating motorway systems which steadily deface the natural landscape. For Ellis, the city has developed an organic life of its own, and the paintings convey the forces contained within it. Ellis' cities are highly complex images, built up from experience acquired at different times from many places. Although often superficially resembling aerial views of cities, they are in fact an assimilation of many viewpoints and experiences.

Mervyn Williams, Midas finds his Soul
Born in Whakatane, 1940. Studied at the School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Works as a silk-screen printer and was, for a while In 1969, a tutor at the Auckland Technical Institute.

Has participated in group shows since 1965 including a two-man show with Pat Hanly in Wellington in 1966.

His work has been included in the 1966 International Print Biennale in Tokyo and the 1969 Biennale in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. Winner of "Samarkand Award" New Zealand Print Council, 1969 .

Public Collections: Auckland.

Midas finds his Soul makes use of a combination of Op patterns and a photo-copy of a detailed technical drawing of a compressive mechanical device implying pressure and stress. Williams' Midas symbolises certain ill-considered tendencies in our society, especially those that could endlessly exploit both physical and social environments to render them - as with the ill-fated original - ultimately unsuitable for human habitation.

Ralph Hotere, Red on Black
Born in Northland in 1931. Studied art at Auckland and Dunedin Teachers' Training Colleges. Worked in Northland as a school art specialist for nine years. Awarded an Association of N.Z. Art Societies' Fellowship in 1961, taking him to England and Europe; sponsored by a Karolyi International Fellowship in France and Italy 1962-63; returned to New Zealand in 1965 to resume his post as an Arts and Crafts Advisor to the Education Department. He left this in 1969 to take up his latest
award - the 1969 Frances Hodgkins Fellowship at Otago University.

Public Collections: Auckland, New Plymouth, Dunedin.

Much of Hotere's recent work has been predominantly black, using other colour only for the thin cruciforms included in many of them.

In this "minimal art", surface texture, tonal variations and, in some highly polished paintings, reflections have played a large part in the effectiveness of the works. The multiple offers an excellent opportunity to deliberately deny painterly qualities and "Red on Black" can be regarded as perhaps an ultimate summation of Hotere's intentions.

Of an earlier body of work, to which this may be related, he says "(This) may be called an object of visual contemplation ... I have provided the spectator with a starting point ... It is the spectator who provokes the change and the meaning in (this work) ".

Michael Smither, Wave Invading Rockpool
Born New Plymouth, 1939. Studied School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland 1959-60. One-man exhibitions in New Zealand and Australia from 1965 onwards and has taken part in group shows including four exhibitions with the "Essentialists", 1968-69, a show that has visited Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. Has done many church commissions.

Finalist in the 1968 Benson and Hedges Art Award, and winner of the 1968 H. C. Richards Memorial Art Prize in Queensland.

Public Collections: Auckland.

The sea, and especially, the rock pool are recurring images in many of Smither's paintings. For maximum effect in the present medium he has simplified his normally super-realistic style while still retaining both essence and illusory effects of the foam-capped wave breaking into a rock pool. This multiple was printed under the artist's own supervision.

Patrick Hanly Inside the Garden
Born Palmerston North, 1932. Studied School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, 1952-55. Painted in London, Florence and Amsterdam, 1957 -62, British Art Council Award to Yugoslavia in 1960; awarded Italian Government Scholarship in 1960, Dutch Government Scholarship 1962.

Returned to New Zealand in 1962 and has devoted most of his time since then to painting although he acts as a tutor for both the School of Architecture and the School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. He has also been a tutor at several Adult Education summer schools in Wellington and Auckland.

He has held one-man exhibitions in London and New Zealand and has participated in group and travelling exhibitions in England, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Yugoslavia, Poland and Argentina, including the 1963 and 1965 Paris Biennales, the 1964 International Print Biennale in Tokyo and the International Exhibition of Graphic Art in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia in 1967.

In 1966 he won the Manawatu Prize for Contemporary Art.

Public Collections: Auckland, Palmerston North, Dunedin.

Hanly's exhibition of watercolours entitled 'Inside the Garden' was an expression of the artist's new attitudes towards existence and painting. Having readjusted to the external aspects of returning to New Zealand he is, in these works concerned with the inner nature of things. The garden is a place of peace and yet a place of great sub-molecular activity. "Those who see only the garden see nothing."

Unlike the other works in this series of multiples which are all silk-screen prints, this one uses a line block and stencils and was printed by the artist.

Colin McCahon, North Otago Landscape
Born in Timaru, 1919. Largely self·taught although he studied with Russell Clark in Dunedin from 1933 to 1935 and at the Dunedin Technical College 1937 to 1939 during the winter terms. From 1939 until 1948, when he moved to Christchurch, McCahon lived in various localities in the Nelson province. In 1953 he came North to join the staff of the Auckland City Art Gallery where he remained until 1964, leaving to take up a position as lecturer in painting at the School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.

McCahon has held one man shows in one of the four main centres every year since 1947, and his work has been included in all the major exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand painting that have been assembled in this country. He spent four months, in 1958, in the U.S.A. on a Carnegie Grant. He was joint winner of the Hay's Art Prize in 1960. A retrospective exhibition (with M. T. Woollaston) was held in 1963.

Collections: Auckland, Palmerston North, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin.

The land has always been one of McCahon's great loves and his paintings have included many landscapes incorporating religious themes. Several of earlier paintings depicted the crucifixion taking place amongst the Nelson hills. In 1965 the painter revisited North Otago, out of which came a series of landscape painting of which he has said:

"These landscapes are places I have seen and known ... in painting this landscape I am not trying to show any simple likeness to a specific place. These paintings are most certainly about my long love affair with North Otago as a unique and lonely place. The real subject is buried in the works themselves and needs no intellectual striving to be revealed - perhaps they are just North Otago Landscapes."

Michael Illingworth, Tawera
Born in England, 1932. Studied textile design after leaving school. Came to New Zealand in 1952. Worked, traveled and painted throughout the country until 1957 when he returned to Europe. He spent five years there painting, visiting galleries and working in a London dealer-gallery.

Apart from a brief period of employment after his return here in 1961, he has worked as a fulltime painter. Was recipient in 1966, of the first Frances Hodgkins Fellowship from the University of Otago.

Public Collections: Auckland.

The asexual Tawera is an image that has occurred often in Illingworth's work and is, perhaps, a natural and logical total symbol for the tiny stylised people who have been included in so many of his paintings. Here, too, we find the stylised portrayal of the almost idyllic landscape that Illingworth feels this country is.

Toss Woollaston, Patrick Lucas
Born in Toko, Taranaki. His only professional art training came from two terms at the Canterbury College School of Art in 1931, at Dunedin Technical College in 1932, and a further term at Canterbury in 1938. He lived at Mapua in Nelson from 1939 until 1950 when he moved further south to Greymouth. He has now moved back to the Nelson Province.

Woollaston has been awarded two fellowships by the Association of NZ Art Societies in 1958 and in 1960. He visited Australia for five weeks in 1958, and in 1960 he visited and painted in Nelson and later in Taranaki. An Arts Advisory Council bursary took him to Europe and America in 1962. "Erua" a book of drawings with an accompanying commentary was published in 1966.

He has held many one-man exhibitions and participated in many group shows throughout the country and has been represented in most of the travelling exhibitions that have left New Zealand. A retrospective exhibition (with Colin McCahon) was held in 1963.

Public Collections: Auckland, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin.

Like McCahon, Woollaston has painted many landscapes but the human figure has held almost equal importance for him. H is distinctive style has been reasonably constant over the past thirty years. developing within itself rather than changing with the times.

Of his drawings he has said " ... lines, blotches, abstraction, naturalism they all go to serve in a crisis. For me every drawing is a crisis and its resolution."

Ross Ritchie, Three
Born in Wellington, 1941. Attended Wellington Technical College Design School part-time for 18 months, 1961 -62, otherwise self-taught. Moved to Auckland in 1964 and has worked at the Auckland City Art Gallery for most of the time since.

He has taken part in several two-man exhibitions in Auckland and Wellington, and his work has been included in travelling exhibitions that have left New Zealand.

Public Collections: Auckland.

Ritchie has been moving increasingly towards hard-edged imagery though up until now there has been very little pure abstraction. The detail of his earlier work has given way to strong, simple images as in this one, where Op elements are also used, giving the suggestion of 3 dimensions.

Milan Mrkusich, Passive Element
Born in Dargaville, 1925. largely self-taught. First showing of paintings and drawings was at the School of Architecture, University of Auckland in 1949. He has exhibited widely since, both here and abroad, including participation in a three man show that visited Paris, London and Brussels; and his work has been included in most important exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand paintings.

Public Collections: Auckland, Palmerston North, Dunedin

Mrkusich has nearly always painted in an abstract manner' this has evolved into a formal and extremely sophisticated style. Passive Element is an example of his recent work in which he expresses his concern with the colour problem in painting, synchronised with the expression of the deeper aspects of reality.

Buying Limited Edition Prints: What You Need to Know | NZ Fine Prints

Tony Ogle "To the Lookout" limited edition art print

What You Need to Know About Buying Limited Edition Art Prints

If you’re looking into buying a limited-edition print, whether you’re starting out your collector’s journey or are just really interested in purchasing a specific piece, edition info may not be the first thing you think about. Of course, if you have your heart set on a particular piece which you know you love, these details might not change your mind. However, knowing a piece’s edition info not only gives you a greater appreciation for the piece; it also gives you a clearer understanding of the piece’s value, the artist, and of the art market in general. Not sure how to go about buying limited edition art prints? Here are the important factors you will want to consider.


Edition Value

Many pieces of art—whether prints, photography, or sometimes even sculptures—are created in runs. These are multiple original artworks (not a reproduction of an original artwork) using printmaking techniques such as etchings, lithographs, etc. Even though many prints of the piece are made, they are counted by collectors and historians as ‘first edition’ artworks if they are part of a particular set. So, while a piece may not be completely one-of-a-kind, it is still considered unique or rare as part of an original run of prints. These limited-edition groups of works often retain their value very well, as artists usually destroy the materials needed to create extra copies that are exactly alike, such as photo negatives. That said, popular art can be re-printed for second or third edition runs, or even more if demand is high. These limited editions can also be worth more than a standard replication of a piece.


Print Number

Edition Number Pic
Print Number Example (8/75)
Given that editions get less valuable as they go on—first editions are more valuable than second editions, etc.—many assume this also extends to the number of the print. This is the number given to a piece to identify it within the edition. For example, if there are 20 copies in an edition, your piece may be labelled 5/20, or 13/20, or even 1/20. Contrary to popular belief, however, this number doesn’t impact the value as in general modern printmaking techniques don't wear out soft metal plates etc, which resulted in later prints being of lesser quality. In fact, most artists number pieces randomly, not in the order that they’re printed. Sometimes, the end of the scale (20/20 in our case) can be more expensive, but this is only because galleries tend to list limited edition prints in numerical order. As these run out and stocks run low, demand can lead to higher prices.


Artist Proofs

Limited edition pieces usually also come with artist proofs; look for ‘AP’ or ‘A/P’ in the edition info.
Mickey to Tiki (Reversed)
Mickey to Tiki (Reversed) by Dick Frizzell, featuring artist proofs
Other kinds of proofs exist too, which are provided by the printer, but artist proofs are more common. Artist proofs are popular at New Zealand Fine Prints because these are the first prints to be made, and any adjustments to the printing process are made by the actual artist working on these prints. The proofs themselves can be highly collectable—some of them might have notes or marks made by the artist, and this can make them much rarer and more unique.


Explore the world of art today

If you’re interested in edition info, your best course of action is to talk to the gallery or printmaker selling the prints. Here at New Zealand Fine Prints, we have a range of contemporary collectable ltd edition prints, alongside antique and rare pieces as well as our range of canvas prints, giclee fine art prints, and more, and we’re happy to answer your questions about the differences between all the different kinds of prints that we stock, whether open or limited edition. To find out more, get in touch with us, shop New Zealand’s largest collection of prints online today!

Why Abstract Art Is Ideal to Hang in The Home | New Zealand Fine Prints

Abstract art oil painting with orange, blue, yellow, red and grey

There are so many options when it comes to home decorating that it can be hard to know where to start. So, why not begin with abstract art prints— representations of a visual language that isn’t bound to any hard rules or restrictions? To some, this boundlessness can be intimidating, but in truth, decorating with abstract art is freeing and can be great fun! Ready to dive into the world of abstract art décor? Discover the four major strengths of abstract art and what they can do for your home below!


1. Abstract art can blend in, or stand out

Abstract pieces are truly flexible. These don’t have a defined style that’s common to all of them, so it’s more than possible to find something that blends perfectly into your existing colour story and style of décor. With a little work and a little more perusing, you’ll be able to find a piece that looks like it was tailor-made for the space it’s in, giving off a polished and well-considered look. On the other hand, if you’re looking to make a statement with a piece of abstract art, that’s more than easy to achieve. The same flexibility that helps you match pieces to a room’s existing aesthetic also swings the other way. It’s not difficult to find abstract art that will pop against everything in its space, becoming a cornerstone piece that challenges yet complements the room’s other decorative elements. Lastly, there’s such a wide range of stylistic sensibilities in modern abstract art that this flexibility makes them easy to place in any part of the house. Some rooms may benefit from art composed of smooth lines and soft tones, while others might benefit more from prints that use hard angles and bold colours. You don’t have to look far to find examples of both!


2. Abstract art is timeless

It’s largely thought that abstract art began as a movement in the late 19th century, with pioneers like Wassily Kandinsky and Gustav Klimt, but the history of art is a story of constant influence. All pioneers were inspired by those before them, and so there are elements of abstract art throughout ancient history as well. This timelessness of free expression is why so much abstract art still looks modern to us, even if it dates back to the 20th or 19th centuries, or even earlier! By definition, abstract art defies convention so soundly that you can be sure it will never go out of style!


3. Abstract pieces work well alone or in groups

Abstract art pieces are often hung alone, but for the more fearless decorators, these can be used to create engaging gallery walls. Alternatively, several small pieces along the wall of a corridor can help fill a long stretch of blank wall without cluttering it, acting as cohesive links between the décor of one room and another. Selecting abstract pieces by themselves is great fun, because there really are no rules—it’s best to trust your emotional response to a piece of art. That said, putting two pieces side-by-side can change how they look, owing to the change in context. You might find that a piece you dislike looks great when hung next to another, and it can be hard to put your finger on why. Again, with abstract art, there are no rules!


4. Abstract work can fill any wall size

Abstract prints don’t necessarily need to fit the size of the wall they’re placed on. In fact, you might even decide to not hang the work at all! It’s become a recent trend to take oversized pieces and lean them against the wall instead; this can be a really engaging way to fill space. Alternatively, smaller prints on big walls don’t look nearly as out of place if they’re abstract. Just like we pointed out before, the context can influence abstract art powerfully, and this includes the negative space of the wall too. If you’re working with less space, smaller corner pieces can add movement and life to the room. While a room’s corners are often overlooked or covered up with furniture, they can be enhanced with bold abstract pieces that are eye-catching and easily comprehensible from a distance.


Looking to add modern art prints to your own home?

The collections here at NZ Fine Prints cover a broad range of traditions and influences, including the abstract. Whether you’re looking for classic pieces, or contemporary modern art prints, we can help you find the piece you need to complete your home. Shop your next interior decoration piece today!

Buying Art for Your First Home | New Zealand Fine Prints

Buying Art for Your First Home? Here’s How to Start!

A nice, light home featuring a selection of framed art on the walls.
Moving into your first home is full of excitement, as you get to go about picking all your new furniture, decor and art! For many, having art in the home is a must, as it can make a space a thousand times more homely and welcoming. But how do you go about choosing those first pieces of beautiful framed wall art? You may not have the biggest budget, or an initial idea of how to fit art collecting in with everything else that goes into moving! That’s why we share some tips in this blog—read on to find out more.


Determine a few key elements

The first thing that’s good to do when buying art for your first home is to have a few design elements in mind that can be used as a starting point. There are lots of things you can learn about your own art taste (even if you thought you didn’t have any!) throughout the process of moving into your home—and you can use that when buying art! For example, look at the furniture you’ve already bought, are there any similar features between each piece? Do they all look somewhat bohemian, or are they bold and geometric? Did you lean towards a colour scheme? Even though you don’t want to feel bound to a style or colour palette when choosing art, knowing these elements that are already in your home can help you determine if you are a statement person, or whether you need an element of calm in your home. It can also help establish what’s missing, and what may be necessary to bring balance to your space in any capacity.


Do some research into artists

Art is always much easier to look at and understand when you know a bit of background about the artist, and on the flip side, you’ll find art more enjoyable if it’s by an artist you’ve researched and know a bit about. Do a google search of local artists from your area, or even just New Zealand Artists in general, and you may find a few artists that resonate with you, and whose art you connect with more as a result.


Buy art that makes you feel something

Art doesn’t always have to make you happy, doesn’t always have to fit in with the room décor, and doesn’t have to be exactly what you were searching for! These are all important things to remember, to help you browse art with a clear head, and focus more on the way you react to each piece—whether positive or negative. You might find a piece of art that feels challenging gives you a stronger feeling than one that simply ticks all the boxes. You may find that you keep coming back to a piece of art, or thinking about it long after you’ve gone home. If this is the case and you can identify that connection, chances are you are going to have a much more interesting time looking at that piece of art every day. Choose the piece of art that really makes you think.


Start with Art Prints and Photographs

If it's your first home, chances are you’re going to have a lot of time to build your collection of expensive art. For the time being, you’re just going to want to have a home that’s full of exciting elements and accessories. A house with art always feels more like a home, but you don’t have to rush into buying original pieces of art right from the get-go, and it may not fit well with your budget either. A great solution is to buy a good selection of quality photography or art prints. You can buy art prints from almost any New Zealand or international artist, and if you investigate photography, you’ll find a whole other world of art altogether. There’s no way this option is going to limit your selection in the slightest. Instead, art prints give you the freedom to choose your art at a more affordable level. The unique paper and framing methods used in a good quality art print also mean you don’t need to compromise on quality. You can even decide on Limited-Edition Art Prints for your own unique piece.


Quality Art from New Zealand Fine Prints

For good quality art prints at affordable prices, look no further New Zealand Fine Prints. We offer a huge range of local and international art prints perfect for any New Zealand home. Plus, we offer a range of framing options, and we can ship our framed prints NZ-wide. Browse our collection and find your perfect prints today!