Thursday, April 18, 2024

Artist tackles her biggest creative challenge

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Katie Blundell with one of her six reduction woodcut prints. Photo supplied.

A talented local artist is showcasing her latest works at an exhibition this weekend.

Katie Blundell, 43, spent the winter in her Clevedon studio working on her newest project ‘Farm Girl’. She told the Times she was inspired by the tractor outside her studio window.

“Heavy machinery is powerful, dominant and masculine,” Blundell says. “As a woman artist, to me these ideas seem both confrontational and inspiring.”

This inspiration resulted in 29 different and creative pieces of art that will be shown at her gallery in Clevedon on December 4 and 5 from 10am-4pm.

“I’d say I’m an abstract expressionist,” Blundell says. “I’m always speaking from my own personal experiences and heart. I find it really fascinating how that often links in with the collective, universal experiences of being human. It’s quite wonderful.”

Blundell has always loved art. She enjoyed making signs in the orchard shop she worked at. Post high-school, where she continued to excel in art, Blundell completed a Bachelors and Masters of Fine Arts at Elam with printmaking being the focus of her Masters.

She then trained as a teacher. “I was art teacher at Onehunga High School and Diocesan School for Girls,” she says. “I taught for around 10 years.”

Seven years ago Blundell moved to Clevedon to focus on her family and her art. She also, along with exhibitions and art projects, hosts art classes for children and adults. Her gallery and studio will be a part of the 2021 Clevedon Art Trail Open Studio Event on January 29-31.

Blundell describes herself as “multi-media” artist. Depending on the ideas, it will dictate which medium she uses for her artwork. “Sometimes I make drawings or prints or sculptures,” Blundell says.

Her art, she says, has evolved.

“I think, when you look at art, it should have strong ideas and be technically strong too,” Blundell says. “I like to think I have a lot of interesting ideas. I also like to challenge myself,” she says.

In her project ‘Farm Girl’, Blundell faced her most difficult challenge yet. She painted and carved a tractor on a woodblock, then used her cousin’s large industrial roller to print as was it was too big for her mangle press. She worked on it for four months. The result was six limited edition pieces that will be featured in her exhibition this weekend.

“I was inspired by noticing super large black and white prints on social media,” Blundell says.

“A seed was planted and I wondered if I could pull off a super big reduction woodcut print.”
Blundell is also a finalist in the 2021 Walker and Hall Waiheke Art Award. “It’s great to be a finalist,” she says. “I’m very excited.”

On Auckland Anniversary Weekend, January 29-31, the Blundell family will hold the Riverhaven Artland Sculpture Park fundraiser for Franklin Hospice.

The charity event will feature a tour through the park of more than 40 acres (16ha) with a growing collection of permanent works by New Zealand Sculptors, including Blundell herself.

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