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Collaborative artist sets art scene alight

July 2008

Collaborative artist sets art scene alight

The innagural Petone Winter Carnival will be held this Saturday 19 July. As part of the event, Awakairangi Hutt Public Trust have invited five artists to present a fire sculpture work. Starting at 9am, each artist will be provided with a kit of materials in which to create their sculpture. The group have until 5pm to complete their work. Once finished, it will be set alight prior to an epic fireworks display on the esplanade.

One of the sculptors involved is Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) lecturer and artist, Grant Corbishley. Grant received critical acclaim recently for his installation entitled ‘Blackbox’ which was part of the Shapeshifter exhibition for the International Arts Festival. “I see myself as a multi-disciplinary visual artist, painter and new media collaborator more than a sculptor - although I think I was invited because of my work with Shapeshifter” he says.

Grant is looking forward to the task. “We’ll arrive on Saturday morning and make something on the day. All the material will be supplied – timber, cardboard, plywood, straw, paint, nails and wire. It should be quite challenging. Each sculpture had the opportunity to use two helpers but I suggested that I collaborate rather than have a helper.”

Grant will be working with Emil McAeoy. “It’s good to be able to challenge and extend each other with different approaches. That way you are always being stretched.”

Grant is no stranger to collaborative projects, his installation ‘Blackbox’ was another collaborative effort with WelTec lecturers Tony de Goldi and Andy Irving. He’s also currently working on a new combined project with WelTec Information Technology lecturer, Todd Cochrane and Engineering tutor, Patrick Herd.

“I’m working with Todd and Patrick on a project in Second Life - an internet-based virtual world where users can explore, socialise and learn. We are going to showcase a Second Life 3D web cam at an international symposium on electronic art in Singapore in two weeks. These web cams are newly invented, no one really has used them before in this way. We want to look at the virtual and real world and show how we can disintegrate the boundaries between the two - it sounds strange but we want to show that Second Life can affect things in real life. “

Grant finds that his work at WelTec balances his own artistic endeavours well. “When I started teaching, I’d stop work to do my own projects. Now I’m able to blur the lines between the two. I’m able to take from my practice and it makes it a lot more fluid. I love working in groups – I did my Masters in new media collaborations and so that is my passion. “

Grant teaches on the Bachelor of Creative Technologies programme, launched by WelTec this year. One of the main principles of the programme is its multi-disciplinary nature and focus on collaboration. Both students and staff are thriving from the challenges and opportunities presented. Four student teams and one team of teaching staff recently participated in the 48 Hour Film Festival. “Our digital media students create a film each year and a team of staff decided to go for it. It was a good opportunity to work with other people from different areas. I felt stretched and challenged – but it was a great experience.”

“It’s mind blowing how people can solve problems in a way I couldn’t – when an issue came up a problem to me can be nothing to someone else. You can problem solve so easily when you have the right kind of attitude.”


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