Gallery acquires CPIT designer's work

Gallery acquires CPIT designer's work

Hot weather and hard work in northern Greece fuelled the inspiration for PARADE, an artist’s book produced by CPIT senior creative designer Harley Peddie and his partner Janna van Hasselt, which was recently acquired by the Christchurch Art Gallery.

The couple, both artists who always travel with sketchbooks, spent three weeks working on an organic farm in Mesohori under the international Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WOOF) scheme. They worked from 6am until the intense heat sent everyone off for an afternoon siesta, building a retaining wall - a project that would have been labour intensive in any conditions let alone the sizzling Greek summer. What were they thinking?

“We wanted a holiday but didn’t want to sit on a beach for three weeks so WOOFing seemed a good option. It was something physical, which appealed because after this we were heading for three weeks of artists residencies,” Harley said.

“It was quite an intense affair. One of the main themes was the never ending bug parade. Each morning a horse fly would wake us by circling our tent. Anything left outside was demolished by ants. I pulled a scorpion out of a pile of building materials – there was a whole aspect of wildlife that you don’t get here in New Zealand.”

After Greece, Harley and Janna continued on to undertake a collaborative artist residency in Kasterlee, Belgium, where they recounted their experiences in Greece in colourful, playful prints and conceptualised PARADE as an artist's book. The time constraints meant just five editions were printed.

The project then went on hold for a year after Harley and Janna returned to Christchurch, but an intensive weekend of binding the books during show weekend saw PARADE completed. One copy of the art book was sent back to Belgium as a condition of the residency. Then Christchurch Art Gallery heard about PARADE and made enquires about acquiring a copy. PARADE has now joined the gallery’s artist book collection, alongside works by Leo Bensemen and Ralph Hotere.

The two artists brought different printing styles to the project with Janna’s expressive lithographic drawings combining with Harley’s more graphic letterpress angle. Moving parts on some pages add another unique element into the design.

Despite the work involved, Harley has not ruled out another project in the future.

“After we finished PARADE, I vowed ‘never again’! But while I’ve been working on design projects at CPIT such as the new website and the new suite of brochures, it is nice to come home and have tactile projects going on in the background. It helps generate new ideas and balances the onscreen work I do during the day, so there might well be another project in the new year.”

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