Surreal, twisted and pure fantasy

International artist Cath Love wants her cultural conditioning to shine through her art at Uxbridge Malcolm Smith Gallery from August 27-September 30. Photo supplied by Moses Ng / studioEAST

It’s ok not to know where you belong, says international urban artist and graphic designer of Swiss and Thai heritage.

“I am a third culture child and don’t completely belong anywhere. But I always absorb what is around me. It’s important to pay attention wherever you are,” says 34-year old artist Cath Love, who is currently in New Zealand to showcase her works of art at Uxbridge’s Malcolm Smith Gallery as part of the exhibition East-Urban Contemporary Art From Here and Abroad to be hosted from August 27 to September 30.

Cath was in the midst of creating an artwork when the Times met up for a chat.

Explaining the thought process behind the art work, she says she was inspired by a Hikoi (spiritual walk) where the Maori spiritual guide also known as a `People Weaver’ who bridges the gap between the artists and business, took the artists on a tour of Cockle Bay and Musick Point.

“The places are of significance to Maori not only in terms of spirituality but also for trade as there was a lot of harvesting done there earlier.”

Having lived in Hong Kong which is a huge hub for trade and universal communication, she says that the topic of trade is of great interest to her.

“I want my cultural conditioning to shine through my art. The physical intelligence of what comes through is a natural reflection of what I have grown up with.”

Having spent the day before conducting a workshop on spray paint art with the students at Edgewater College, the contemporary Hong Kong-based artist was also invited to judge an art competition at Macleans College.

“We had fun working on the methods of applying paint …and not to apply spray paint for malicious reason or attention. Though there is an illicit element to graffiti, it is a contemporary way of creative expression which appeals to me,” says the artist, whose work is greatly influenced by hip hop culture as well as Asian and Japanese-style cartoons.

Apart from working on logo/identity design, floor graphics and being commissioned to do personal works of art, Cath’s client list includes names like H&M, Nike, Selfridges, Jimmy Choo, Island Records and Lane Crawford and Kangol.

She has even created her own cartoon character Jeliboo. That was four years ago.

“Jeliboo is fun and very visually expressive.  I enjoy painting a weird female body because it’s liberating,” says the artist, who possesses a passion for surreal, twisted and abstract art that is pure fantasy.

This is her third visit to New Zealand and but this time it is for the art project that focuses on building connections between urban contemporary artists within the Pacific who identify  or are influenced by Asian culture.

The project is a partnership between Zoe Hoeberigs of Malcolm Smith Gallery and Olivia Laita of Aotearoa Urban Arts Trust.