Saturday, November 12, 2011

installation views

Well, the piece is now up at draw inc., in Hamilton. Some installation views and video...

safe little world: gallery installation at draw inc., hamilton, new zealand from andrew killick on Vimeo.


another quote apropos to the safe little world thing:

"The work you do as an artist is really play, but it is play in the most serious sense. Like when a two-year-old discovers how to make a tower out of blocks. It is no halfhearted thing. You are materializing - taking something from the inside and putting it out into the world so you can be relieved of it."

Leslie Dick, faculty of CalArts, when asked “What is an artist?” in Seven Days in the Art World, by Sarah Thornton.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

exhibition (at last)

an exhibition...

14 -21 November
draw inc. 35A Ward St
Hamilton, New Zealand

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Last weekend, while visiting the World Press Photo exhibition at the Tauranga Art Gallery, I unexpectedly encountered the work of New Zealand artist/illustrator Graham Percy. Big, bad, wide world, shrunk beautifully down, as I ascended the stairs to the upper gallery, into safe little world.

Then I wandered across the road into the city library to see if they had the book of the Percy exhibition. It's called 'A Micronaut in the Wide World'.

"A micronaut" says Gregory O'Brien in his introduction to the book, "is someone who dwells on or is moved by small things; he or she is a student of miniature objects or a traveller across minute spaces. Seated at his work table in his South London town-house, Graham Percy was a micronaut par excellence. His eyes would scan the objects, works of art, postcards and books in the room. He began with these, the smallest, most unassuming of things."

"As well as being an astute observer, Graham was scholarly in his attentions. If he were to sit down with the present book, I imagine one of the first things he would do is look up the word micronaut in his dictionary - to find it derived from naut (Greek), 'a sailor'. Micro- is easily sorted. If he searched further he would find the term was used by an American [toy] distributor in the 1970s for a range of science-fictional tin figurines..."

"Continuing to research the word 'micronaut', he might arrive at Friedrich Froebel, an nineteenth-century German educationalist best known as the inventor of the kindergarten. Froebel described the child as the archetypal micronaut - an explorer who should be left to make his or her own discoveries. Since Froebel's time, much has been written about the affinities that exist between the modern artist and child. Graham Percy's approach was very much that of the wonder-struck child... Weaving together imagined and observed realities, and inspired by intellectual as well as material accumulations - the books and bric-a-brac with which he surrounded himself - his 'micronautical' art embraced the wide world beyond the personal and private.'


Percy's love for his little world was so complete that, when he died, his ashes were placed for safe-keeping inside a scale model of the Le Corbusier-inspired house in which he and his wife lived for 26 years. The model is kept within the real house. It is made of tin, wood and frosted glass. You can put a candle in the front section of the model house so that it lights up - to remind you of Percy working on his drawings late at night. O'Brien describes the model as the "last residence of a micronaut".

I'd never heard of a 'micronaut' before, but I want that title! For this micronaut, there is too much to get excited about when I connect all this with Safe Little World.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I'm raising capital for an exhibition project I'm working on at the moment. I'll be exhibiting a large piece (consisting of 23 individually framed images) at draw inc in Hamilton, NZ.

Good times! The pledge target is NZ$350 - which sort of covers the cost of framing.

So, if you'd like to be part of it, you can pledge. Pledgers get sweet Safe Little World items as a thank you.

Get amongst. Click the link below to check out the project and / or make a pledge:

Friday, October 14, 2011

unpacking terms

I find the meanings and implications of words and phrases fascinating. All words and phrases have a history and a web of connotations. It can be interesting (I think) to unpack some of the terms we use almost without thinking… yesterday I used the term ‘religious experience’ on my tumblr page to describe something that isn’t easily describable that happened to me one time when I encountered a Culbert - Hotere artwork.

After that, I got into a bit of a discussion about the word ‘religious’ with a friend on Facebook. The word ‘religious’ has become a bit dirty in the last 50 years. Generally speaking, contemporary people aren’t big fans of religion. Even in Christian circles the term is avoided because of its associations with a tired, old-fashioned, legalistic, formulaic, nominal form of belief.

In thinking through my use of the term ‘religious experience’ I found a rather nice definition of the phrase on Wikipedia, and realised that the term was more appropriate to what had happened to me when I saw that artwork than I had hoped or dreamed when I somewhat casually used the term in yesterday’s post:

“Religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience in which an individual reports contact with a transcendent reality, an encounter or union with the divine. A religious experience is most commonly known as an occurrence that is uncommon in the sense that it doesn’t fit in with the norm of everyday activities and life experiences, and its connection is with the individual’s perception of the divine.”

The article also carries William James’s description of the characteristics of a religious experience, which I also found fascinating:

Transient - the experience is temporary; the individual soon returns to a “normal” frame of mind.

Ineffable - the experience cannot be adequately put into words.

Noetic - the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience.

Passive - the experience happens to the individual, largely without conscious control

Thursday, June 16, 2011

mount ruapehu

a few shots from a cloud-covered dusk expedition up mount ruapehu (turoa)... (click on 'em to see 'em a little larger - and a little less noisy)

dillard quotes

more quotes, hijacked to be subsumed into the 'safe little world' concept that obsessively captivates my mind... (this time annie dillard is the source - 'a pilgrim at tinker creek')

"We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery, rumours of death, beauty, violence..."

"We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise."

"Everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

the little things 1

it's the little things.

i find clothing tags make very pleasing book marks. look at this one marking rob bell's book 'drops like stars'. it's matt black, it has a brass eyelet, a black ribbon, a tiny black safetypin. you better believe this is where it's at!

how about this one? it's doing its thing between pages of jack kerouac's 'the subterraneans'. it fulfilled its first job hanging off a huffer tshirt. now look at it! it's shiny black, with a shiny silver ball chain, a little silver huffer charmy-thing, and a weird little safety pin with a bulbous end! it marks my book with style and panache.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sex God!

a little something to add to the noise around rob bell. my review (ostensibly) of one of his old books. this review also appears on Goodreads.

Before that book, the one about love winning, Rob Bell was already famous. He was famous because he'd written a book about the Christian faith called Velvet Elvis. Who'd ever heard of a book about Christianity having a title like Velvet Elvis? Extraordinary. His second book was called Sex God.

In both Velvet Elvis and Sex God, Rob Bell established a method of writing that revolves around a 'chatty' writing style, story-telling, the sound-bite, beautiful design, and of making statements and asking questions that are intended to spark thought and discussion more than present a dogmatic fixed position. It was a style that presented truths but trusted that the reader would be smart enough / thoughtful enough / be prompted by God Himself enough to be able to consider concepts (perhaps outside the strictness of 20th century evangelicalism) without risking their soul to eternal peril. It was, in short, a style designed to speak to a postmodern (substitute "21st century" if you like) audience.

We now know that this style can land a man in the depths of the ugliest controversy. A controversy so ugly that it has led some to attempt to push God off His seat, assume the role of judge of mankind, and assign Rob Bell to hellfire.

This all kicks off, in large part, because Rob has a tendency to be controversial. His style invites controversy. Take the title of our book, for example, Sex God. How a title like this avoided the kind of heat that Love Wins attracted, I'll never know. Or what about a chapter titled God Wears Lipstick? This controversial edge has a tendency in two directions (formatted here a la Bell):

To be compelling


To be sensationalist

It's a fine line that Rob Bell walks. I love him for being prepared to take the risk, but it is a risky business indeed. In all fairness to him, I believe his intentions are good with regard to controversy. He wants to get people thinking for themselves. He wants them to see things differently at least for a moment. He wants to communicate that there might be more to things than what we often automatically accept. That's the ideal, but have we seen that what happens in reality is that, when confronted with controversy, people often tend to retreat more deeply into their citadels? By now, after everything, will Bell wield the tool of controversy more carefully?

I feel certain that underneath all this, there is a mild mannered man with a profound level of insight. And to get back to the matter at hand, reviewing Sex God, here is a book that will certainly challenge your thinking. It isn't really the controversial book that the title and its chapter titles suggest. Instead, it is simply a book that explores ideas about what sex really is, and about how what it really is plays a part in who God is and what His plan is for humankind.

Which brings us back to talking about Bell's overall output to date. What we have is an author who, though he wraps his work in controversy, is really just a guy who wants us (whoever we might be) to think about God, our relationship with God, and what that means.

Sex God is excellent.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


a little encounter between me, a waltex magnifier, a copy of fashion quarterly, and a 15 cent 1966 action comic book... (click 'em to see 'em a little larger)

Monday, April 25, 2011

a quote

a quote here from t.s. eliot which is dear to my heart as far as the creative process goes:

"A thought to Donne was an experience: it modified his sensibility... the ordinary man... falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

serendipitous random song list poems

a lot of the time i listen to my music randomised across a pretty big music library. every so often, i'll notice a combination of song titles has formed a rather cunning little poem (henceforth established as a new genre under the designation: 'shuffle poems')... here are some that my music library and media player have created over the last few months:

Spies Spies Spies
Groovin' with Jesus
Lord Lord Lord
Don't let it pass

[artists: the naked and famous, the violinaires, kanye west, junip]

I can't sleep
Out here in the cold
I'm Jimmy Carter

[artists: frakkur, gotye, vancouver sound]

Hold you close
Asleep in perfection
The ghosts you draw on my back
O Death

[artists: stereobus, augie march, múm, ralph stanley]

How to be a Werewolf

Bright little things
I have the moon, you have the internet

[artists: mogwai, starflyer 59, funki porcini, the fields]

bonus material! this random playlist pairing: 'ball of confusion' by the temptations, followed by 'sphere of no form' by biosphere.

Monday, March 07, 2011

church art

this here is a version of a graphic i put together for the website of a new church i'm going to be attending ('new' as in new for me, but also in that the church is holding its first public service this coming sunday). the church is called st lukes. the graphic is for a series of sermons / talks that pastor joseph mcauley will be doing based on the theme of 'stories'. you can see the final version on the st lukes website.

Friday, March 04, 2011

wedding invite design

a month or so ago i completed these wedding invites for my sister-in-law and her fiancé. they wanted a retro/scrabble/lamp/tiffany blue thing, so this is what came out...

the front cover is 2/3 the width of the back cover so that the lamp on the right hand side of the inside is visible from the front.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

man on a mountain

i made this this week (click it to see it a little bigger) - perhaps a product of a milieu of existential angst that came about as a result of the christchurch earthquake, a murder 5 minutes from our house, and some on-going spiritual wrestling. but it is also, of course, just a picture of a cartoon character standing in snow!

i don't want to flood a perfectly nice little picture with over-discussion, but i'm probably going to anyway. look away now.

the thing i like about the process for the creation of this picture, is that it took ages to come together, and then came together very quickly. the elements for the picture have been sitting around for years (literally) waiting to be used for something...

the photograph was taken on slide film at the top of fox glacier over five years ago. in the time between having the slide developed and scanning it into the computer it grew mould on it. this is very bad from a preservation perspective, and i always intended to clean it off the scan with photoshop. in this composition it looks best left there.

the little man came about after i read a book on graffiti street logos a few years ago. i decided i needed one for myself - even though i don't think i'll use it unauthorised on any walls. i loved the aesthetic, and designed this guy. he looks a bit glum.

i collect pictograms (wingdings / icons / picture fonts) and had always been fascinated by a set i had of cellphone related symbols. i thought the half-charge icon would be perfect for this guy. (his battery is half full or half empty depending on your perspective [cliché acknowledged].)

the last step was to paint him up with a rough sort of white paint look. put a little shadow at his feet too, but you can't probably notice that - just cements him on the landscape a bit better.