I'm excited to kick off this week with another of our 'Favourite Spaces' blog posts, this time it's the work space and viewing room of amazing local artist, Tony Harrington. Also, long time followers of my Cush & Nooks blog will see that the blog is now part of our Bibby + Brady website. We're growing up and it was time to incorporate everything under the one umbrella. I hope you'll continue to visit me here. The content will remain consistent, it's just a new address - same, same, but different.
Tony Harrington is the coolest guy - super talented, a genuinely nice guy, and very humble! He creates beautiful pieces using a variety of mediums, many of them made from recycled timber. Tony has a great respect and appreciation of the Maori culture, and a lot of his work is influenced by traditional Maori art forms. He brings the Maori and Pakeha cultures together to depict a nostalgic and truely Kiwi perspective.
Tony's favourite space is his self-made studio "The View Room" at the back of his home, along with his back yard. He and his wife and their two young daughters have lived in the house for nine years, and when they first arrived there was only one solitary bush out the back. Tony built the deck, the fence, his built-in BBQ and outdoor bar, as well as the art space. The latest addition is an outdoor bath, which his girls, Ella and Lily, love.
I asked Tony a few questions about the space, and more, so we could get to know him a bit better...
What do you love about the space?
Just the whole vibe of the area. It's a place where the whole family can just kick back, relax and reflect in. The View Room space has been a welcome addition and revelation to the whole backyard. I can sit in here, enjoy a quiet ale and the artistic inspirations just flow! Its our own little sanctuary, the holiday zone at home!
Did anyone help you?
Yes, a good builder friend of mine, 'Marky', helped with the construction of the View Room, and my two little girl helpers are always on hand with backyard builds - especially the recent addition of the outdoor bath.
What is your favourite time of day?
I'd have to say probably late afternoon leading into evening. I am at my most productive this time of day and work well into the night. Although I must say I do definitely enjoy my morning coffee.
Who or what inspires you?
Everything and everyone! I am constantly finding inspiration on a daily basis, from what I am experiencing in my environment, what I am reading, listening to, seeing and just being.
What are you reading/listening to?
I am not a big reader but when I get the time I do enjoy a good book. I tend to go for autobiographies, currently I have Bear Grylls - "Mud, Sweat & Tears" on the go.
I always listen to music while I work, and always on the playlist to kick things off is Bruce Springsteen, mixed in with some good kiwi sounds from the likes of Kora, Six60, and Tiki. I also can't go past some classic 90's rock from Pearl Jam and the like, then rounded off with some mellow reggae beats.
Sweet of savoury?
Oh that depends on the mood, but mostly savoury.
That's a tough one! I saw a good quote recently which went something like: "coffee keeps me going until I can drink beer".
Favourite item you own?
This would have to be my retro Healing Cruiser, 3 speeds of pure timeless craftsmanship. I love the morning rides to my local coffee shop, Switch Coffee Roasters. Best way to start a day.
Top of your wish list for home?
Well, the next major renovation project for the home is going to be the kitchen/dining room. For this space I have a vision of a custom made dining table probably raw steel and wood. I have an idea of how this will look but it may change during the fabrication stage, as things usually do!
Thanks Tony, I'm sure that dining table will be amazing. If you want to get in touch with Tony you can message him through his Facebook page, or email him, especially if you want to see his work in person in The View Room - Kennedy Road, Napier. He also has work at The Poi Room in Auckland, Ora Gallery in Wellington, and Moko Artspace in Hot Water Beach. He will also be exhibiting at this year's NZ Art Show in June at the TSB Bank Arena, Wellington.
All of these photographs have been taking by the awesome and talented Florence Charvin - go and check out her Mother's Day Special Offer. As we were leaving this shoot, Florence found her favourite space at Tony's home - an adorable 'tree house' that he made for his girls - lucky kids!