I was introduced to the incredible art of Steve Hoskin recently, and I'm so pleased I was. Steve is a self taught New Zealand artist with an equal passion for art and the ocean.
He creates the most amazing 3-dimensional masterpieces that capture the soul of surfing and bring back memories of when life was more simple.
|'A Spanner In The Works'|
There's no question, if you're a Kiwi, that these images of old baches, shops, and seaside settings will stir up memories and feelings of nostalgia. It took me right back to my childhood summers spent in Gisborne and Ohope. You can clearly see why people are fast falling in love with Steve's work.
|'The Perfect Backyard'|
I asked Steve if he could answer some questions about his work, and he was kind enough to oblige. So here's a little insight into the mind and work of Steve Hoskin...
|Steve surrounded by his work|
Can you tell me about your background - where you live, what led you to become an artist?
I now live in Army Bay on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. It's been a big change for us moving from the West Coast to the East after 30 odd years, but being a part of our grandchildren's lives has been worth it. We still have ocean views and live in a cool little bach, but hey I just have to travel a bit more to catch a wave - all good :)
I was brought up in a typical kiwi household. One of seven children, sat around the table for all our meals, Sunday roasts, sing songs around the piano, good times, good memories... simple times. They were the days kids could walk or ride their bikes 3-4 kms to their mates house to play, or ride 10 miles on their bikes just for the fun of it. I have fond memories of those simple times. My grandfather had a bach at Port Waikato where we would spend many of our summer holidays with my cousins and family friends. That was where I was first introduced to the West Coast which I grew to love and respect. I started surfing at the age of 17 at Bethells Beach on Auckland's West Coast, my brothers are still local surfers there. I love going back there, the place has hardly changed - that's what I love about it.
As to becoming an artist, I was the kid who always loved to draw. I was always asking for, and looking for a clean sheet of paper. In my school reports the teacher always said I needed to work on concentration! I was often away with the fairies, a bit of a dreamer... I was thinking about what I was going to draw next! However, I did get top marks in art - I guess I have always been an artist in a way, it's just in you, it's who you are. But I only got back into my art seriously six to seven years ago as a surf artist, inspired by my love of the ocean and surfing and the old surfing culture, which my art portrays.
Your passion for the beach and surfing is clearly evident in your work. That's a great combination - surfing and art. I imagine you going for a surf in the morning, and then coming home to work in your studio - is that how it works?
You are right, surfing and art is a great combination because both are creative skills, and without my passion for the ocean and surf my art wouldn't be where it is today. As for going for a surf every morning... yea right, haha! Unfortunately that's not how it is. As yet I don't make a living off my art. I'm a painter/decorator by trade, this is what pays the bills. I'm working towards becoming a full time artist in the near future. I do my art for enjoyment and its a great bonus that it is becoming sought after and selling quickly, so there are times like before exhibitions where I do work full time on my art to meet deadlines. As far as going for a surf... unfortunately there's not surf out there every day, I get a surf in when I can. I wish I did go for a surf every morning then spent my arvos in the studio, in my dreams!
What materials do you use in your 3-dimensional pieces? And what's the process, how long does each piece take you?
An artist has his secrets... If I tell you it's no longer a secret ;). I use quite a number of materials. The process is a lot of shaping, gluing, sanding, a lot of work goes into my pieces before I put a brush to them. I've never really worked out how long a piece takes me because they're all different and sometimes I'm working on more than one piece at a time, so it's a bit hard to calculate. One day I might be able to give you a better answer, but really, I don't want to work it out because I just like my art to happen without time barriers. Sometimes if you work out how long it takes you in comparison to how much you get, you might be disappointed. I don't view my art as a job, I view it as recreation, like my surfing. If you start to put limits or time barriers on it you might loose that aspect and that'd be a shame.
|Work in progress|
Are the baches and shops you feature actual places? Do you work from photos or memory?
No they're not actual places, they could be anywhere in New Zealand. They can be anywhere you want them to be depending on your own memories. I sold a piece just recently titled 'Childhood Memories'. The lady who purchased it said "that's exactly my childhood memories!". She emailed me and thanked me for creating a piece that made her smile every time she looked at it - for her it was somewhere, to me it was no particular place. That's what I like creating - pieces that people can relate to, where they remember and that can be any coastal town in New Zealand. I can't work off photos, If I did it would be to stylized and that's not me. Everything I do comes out of my head, based on my own memories. I love old shops and old baches and I guess I take notice of them without even really realizing.
I file them away in my memory and when the time is right, I recreate them in my art. It's a way of preserving the past. Many of our iconic family baches have gone, because they were built on prime coastal land, that's a shame, replaced by city type dwellings with no character, in my opinion. Baches portray simplicity, good times, uncomplicated times. Those times have disappeared with those bachs and old shops. So through my memories I try to recapture those times.
Your mixed media work on surfboards are incredible. Do you still create these?
I do ocassionaly. Sometimes they are commissions done on someone's old surfboard with their own history of that board. I love working on the surfboard as a canvas because it is already 3-dimensional and because someone has had so many good memories with that board, not just on waves, but also in travel.
Where can people see and purchase your art?
They can see and purchase my artwork from Art Matakana, Leigh Road, Matakana. That's a lovely gallery worth looking at - definitely worth the drive to check it out! I also do commissions and this can be arranged by emailing me - firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also see images of my artwork on my Facebook page, my daughter Rochelle manages this for me. She manages all the behind the scenes stuff with my art, so she keeps my page up to date with all my latest pieces, exhibitions, events, etc.
|'Too Close For Comfort'|
What other creative people inspire you?
There are heaps of great kiwi artists, past and present. I love Aaron Kereopa's work - he carves surfboard blanks and does amazing work. Other surf artist like Tony Ogle, Daryn McBride and Peter Lambert...all great artists.
|'The Car Park - Odd Man Out'|
What does the future hold for you - any upcoming exhibitions?
The future? Just for me to keep going with my art. It's an ongoing process. As long as I can keep doing art which brings a smile to someones face and triggers a nostalgic mood, then I will keep doing it, because that's what my art is about. I exhibited at the NZ Art Show in Wellington last month, which meant I was flat out working on my art for about six months.
I do have another exhibition in the pipeline...so will definitely keep you posted as to when this will be - details will be on my Facebook page!
|No Time For Rules|
Thanks for taking the time to answer these, Steve, you're awesome! :)