TrustMe x Flox 2020
This piece draws inspiration from the personal and wider dialogues of the artists as individuals who are engaged in an ongoing collaborative project.
The artwork is centred around the journey, the evolution, the cyclical nature of the artists development and how this is reflected in life outside of art making amongst an increasingly unstable environment across the world.
The nature of the ongoing collaboration relies on the artists’ ability to blend individual responses into a singular cohesive work. Here the work of TrustMe provides the backdrop to Flox’s personal narrative.
The Tui is the main hero, it flies across the canvas in different states, addressing Flox’s own personal journey with some challenging health issues which affected her life and practice significantly. For 15 years the stencil making process has been at the centre of Flox’s signature aesthetic and it was the labour involved in this time consuming task that saw the decline of her health and a need for change. “At my worst, I was in a neck brace, unable to move. I had simply pushed my body beyond the point of return, and so for the last 24 months, I’ve really had to listen to my body, tune in and rethink some of my processes”.
The Tui sits alongside the punga, which besides it’s obvious role as a symbol for growth, serves as a reminder for what was learnt during “lockdown”. Lockdown for some kiwis, created space to breathe again, to rethink and go back to basics. It was an opportunity for us to reevaluate and be grateful for what we have. Flox’s incorporation of these quintessential kiwi motifs pay homage to these notions.
Underneath this all lies a moment of abstracted self acknowledgement where TrustMe reflects on his own journey across the same 15 year period. Its a movement from outside to inside and relates to his relationship with the site of the mural and the nature of his art practice. TrustMe entered the Karangahape area with a prolific street art practice but with no relationships in the community. Since then his work has led him deeper into the ecology of the precinct, at one point serving as the President of the local business association. He has continued to advocate for the area and has now become a small but central part of the local ecology.
These moments of introspection cannot take place removed from what we see and experience outwardly. With the current international pandemic in full swing, a level of uncertainty and complexity has been introduced to our lives that we were largely unprepared for. Compounded by significant and overdue disruption to the social, cultural and political order of things, clarity is something that currently feels quite evasive and reminds us that nothing should be taken for granted. It is this idea of having to “work through, engage with and earn insight into”, that manifested in the heavily obscured text elements, the overlaid imagery and the contrasting colour schemes.