Benched Part 2: The Art of Montage

There are four exciting phases to this job: The pre-shoot planning, where most of the important work gets done; The shoot, where challenges are met and discoveries made; Post production, where visions actually become realised and the final product created; and release, where my stuff finally goes out into the wild and I can finally share a little of the story. The process is like a montage.

My latest two art projects were montage pieces. The first came about when my friend Lynne Harrison came in with some props for her shoot to celebrate becoming a judge. She had borrowed a robe and wig from her friends at Downie Stewart, one of Dunedin’s oldest law firms and asked if I could make a picture from them as a thank you. The wear, tear and textures of the box and wig made a strong case for macro treatment, and the legal subject matter made an orderly, symmetrical montage of images seem right. A 90 x 60cm copy of this picture now hangs in both Downie Stewart’s board room and Lynne’s chambers in New Plymouth (famous for its Len Lye centre).  (New Plymouth that is. Lynne does have a some very nice stuff on her walls but she doesn’t have a collection of massive kinetic sculpture or early abstract movies as far as I can tell).

DS montage

After seeing that picture, Andre Shi asked me to do something similar at the Ra Bar in Dunedin’s Octagon, to be refurbished, renamed and relaunched as Vault 21 last week.  This was to be on a slightly larger scale.  Andre and his builders let me wander through the construction, prospecting for shots that would tell something of the history of the place.  He finally settled on four images that featured the door of the old bank vault the venue is now named for, the tin ceiling tiles recycled as wall art, and the old wooden beams and cast iron load-bearing columns that he’s had made into dining tables.  One of my favourites that didn’t make the cut was the maker’s plate on the vault door.


The final montage can now be seen above one of the bar’s back tables, in its 180 x 120cm glory (vertically arranged rather than the landscape version you see here).  I’m so glad these works are now out in the wild, up on walls where people can enjoy them.


Next art project?  That’s already in progress. And it’s larger still in scope: Dozens of pieces created from several quite complicated images, one piece a floor-to-ceiling work on glass. That’s very exciting, but the unveiling of that won’t be until February or so.

I’m sure there will be something else to share in the meantime.

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