Gardening & artists who garden | NZ Fine Prints

For some people gardening is a chore, for others it is a sandpit for adults. 

Pohutukawa Tree in Blossom
The Garden by Barry Ross Smith
The intersection between human habitation and our natural environment is where the intrinsic beauty of plants meets our unique among animals impulse to re-order what nature has created in what appears to us to be a more aesthetically pleasing (and productive) way.  
Wheelbarrow in Garden
Detail of Lazy Bones & the Pleasure Garden by Hamish Allan

It is fair bet that those of us who have been bitten by the gardening bug might also want to bring the outdoors inside when it comes to art, decorating our walls with botanical posters for instance. And it is not too far of a stretch to imagine these flora fans are also buying prints of birds in such vast numbers over the past few years as we celebrate the fact that native birds of NZ are being seen in increasing numbers within the gardens of our towns and cities thanks to both pest eradication but also the deliberate creation of habitat in domestic and public gardens.

Blossom Trees and Mount Fuji
Japanese artist Hiroshige, the epitome of gardens as art
But as part of a small campaign to exercise our print buyer's more whimsical choices (he jokes that sometimes he can't resist buying what he thinks people should want rather than what they actually do) we have dipped our toes into offering a new collection of wall art - prints of gardens and gardening (we have also allowed him to buy a large range of retro/vintage music and film posters) but he will now be back on the straight and narrow for the next
few months!

Dick Frizzell "Incinerater" Ltd Edition Print
Backyard Incinerator by Dick Frizzell 

There are artists who garden,
most famously Claude Monet whose garden at Giverny was, as we would say these days, part of his practice. But local kiwi painters like Jeanette Blackburn are almost as well-known for their garden art galleries as for their work. And then we have Hamish Allan's carefully composed renditions of what could only be a New Zealand backyard, Dick Frizzell's "backyard" series like his prints of lawn mowers and the incinerator pictured here - and then the doyen of NZ garden painters Karl Maughan from whom we still have just the single offset print available, "Riverhead".

The impetus for putting together our new gardens/gardening art collection really came from seeing how the posters of Japanese woodblock prints brought together artistic merit with a celebration of gardening as art, as the gardens in Japan are surely the epitome of the landscape as art. And we thought that maybe people who are into gardening but not so much into art would like to see just how well Japanese style wall art would suit them but they would not think to search for this kind of artwork in our online catalogue.

Gardens are such a fascinating glimpse into the way we imagine we would like to live, from the garden that is neglected to one that is bursting with this season's most fashionable colours how we garden says so much about the people who live in it.  We hope you enjoy our new collection of garden art prints - it is not just for those of us who are into gardens and landscaping, surely there are plenty of folk who may enjoy a garden when it is an artistic expression of aspects of what a garden is framed on the wall rather than being out there pulling out the weeds every weekend!

Film & Music Posters - How we select vintage wall art design

The all encompassing term "wall art" is becoming a more prevalent shorthand for what were once

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

exclusively referred to as art prints and posters.  Like when what we thought should be called fine art by NZ painters a decade ago started getting referred to as "kiwiana" alongside the more obvious tiki paintings, four square man etc New Zealand Fine Prints are happy to move with the times and be guided by our customers what they would like to call what we sell even if this new phrase takes a bit of getting used to!

One of the advantages of the expanding definition of wall art (eg from framed prints to wall charts, prints on canvas and even wall decals) is we have been able to expand what we sell beyond the traditional reproduction prints of paintings, maps etc into other things that can go on the walls of kiwi homes and offices, but without straying too far from our core values as a business.  It seems obvious that those folks who show more than an average interest in art would also be interested in music, theatre and film and those of us on our wholesale buying team certainly are into the broader arts as well for sure.

Poster for Fritz Lang's Metropolis

But we believe that delivering value to customers is not just in a good quality item from a production standpoint, it also about selling decoration that will endure not just physically but also continue to be enjoyed as an artwork (ok, wall art) for many years.  This means selling prints by artists who have something to say, prints of places that mean something to New Zealanders and trying not to promote more ephemeral  watered down or generic designs that are, as we say, to match the curtains.   We don't want you to buy an artwork for your walls that "fashions out" really quickly.

So as we grow our range of film and music wall posters we had to devise a criteria that would satisfy demand for a broader range of poster choices without going too far down the path of stocking modern day music posters created for fans (or more cynically created by publishers to cash in on what's popular right now). Drawing a line between what we call the "social expression" market (the teenager whose choice of music or movie posters are a visual shorthand to tell people what kind of person they are) and the broader decorative - ie wall art - market where a poster is there both for its aesthetic merits as well as for its content/subject or design theme.

The Supremes UK Tour Poster
The Supremes UK Tour Poster
Our wholesale team have therefore decided that we won't - at least initially - stock music posters that are designed purely to demonstrate that you are a fan of a contemporary band or a singer or love a just released film. Musically these are the posters that are a photograph of the act (or actor) doing their thing on stage/film set or showing their attitude or style accompanied with the name of the group, rapper or singer or film.   Given the size of the New Zealand market and the order minimums that make sense when importing posters it just doesn't work for us to try and pick trends, there is nothing less saleable than a cutting edge music poster after the band's popularity has peaked!  But we believe there is a sweet spot where a music poster captures both the spirit of the band/singer with an iconic retro/vintage design aesthetic that makes it more broadly interesting than just to fans of the group. So we are stocking retro or vintage designs that have stood the test of time already and that we believe will continue to resonate for the life of the posters on your walls.

Obviously we would like to have a diversity of designs and acts from around the world and across different genres, so we have lined up four different wholesale suppliers across the US, Australia and Europe to try and achieve this aim.

We think in particular that vintage music poster designs for concerts and album releases are true to the spirit of New Zealand Fine Prints, they fit with our extensive range of vintage travel, tourism and advertising posters from what are now well-known graphic designers. This is where we offer a good quality reproduction of an authentic poster design, a replica as close as we can get to the original - ie without Photoshopping the imperfections.

Illustrating this post are examples of some of the new movie and music posters that are now in stock at New Zealand's wall art specialists since 1966, please check out our music and film poster collection to see everything we currently have for sale.