Category Archives: art + design

AWA17: 5 mins with Mardo El-Noor

Mardo El-Noor is a chai-latte drinking, left-handed, hybrid creative. Armed with a Masters in Art & Design (AUT), Mardo’s work can be found globally.

New Zealand music lovers will be familiar with his conceptual music videos, including ‘Shine’ by the Modern Māori Quartet, ‘Treat you better’ by Theia, ‘Sunday’s best clothes’ by Opshop, ‘Hometown’ by Salmonella Dub, and ‘Jump’ by Kings. He’s also made three animated short films, screening at NZIFF and other film festivals around the world.

Mardo’s most recent work; a series of ground-breaking images with renowned political commentator and editorial cartoonist, Tom Scott (ONZM) can be found in the NZ Parliament Buildings and (next year) at the Waikato Museum.

Mardo was 2016’s ART Venture recipient, an acceleration programme for experienced creative entrepreneurs working in Auckland.

This Artweek Auckland, check out Mardo’s hyper-real photo-illustrations depicting people as characters in elaborately staged scenes that tell their personal stories.

Describe your piece of work in three words
Family-friendly David LaChappelle.

Baby by Mardo El-Noor

What inspired it?
People. People. People. Everyone has a story but not everyone is a storyteller. I’m a curator of people’s stories.

What’s your creative process?
I depict people as characters in elaborately staged, highly-detailed scenes that tells their personal stories (Imagine a freeze-frame in a non-existing movie, with you as the star!). The process starts with a conversation/interview, which leads to a pitch of a sketch, then a photoshoot, then a long post-production process.

Havana by Mardo El-Noor

What do you think of the Art scene in Auckland? New Zealand?
I’m not familiar with it – as my background is in commercial art & advertising. New Zealand market is quite small, which makes it easier to stand out.

Unnamed by Mardo El-Noor

What is your social media of choice?
Facebook. You can customise your newsfeed to follow all your fave websites (& block out all social noise from ‘friends’)

Who do you follow and where?
I mainly follow trending videos on Vimeo, Nowness & the likes. Behance is a huge source of inspiration too.

What are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist right now?
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation (album)
Future Islands – The Far Field (album)
The National – Sleep Well Beast (album)

Word Association:
Auckland – Traffic
Art – Stories
Festival – Festival
Creative – Job
Collaboration – Synergy
Politics – Status Quo
Summer – Recharge

Mardo El-Noor, Personal Stories at Ponsonby Central as part of Artweek Auckland.
2-15 October, Find out more.

DocEdge 17 | This Air is a Material

New Zealand | 2016 | 49 min | English | Becky Nunes

Ann Shelton, originally from Timaru, is one of New Zealands foremost female photojournalists; Her hyper-real large-scale works blur the lines between documentary and fine art photography, and have received international acclaim.

‘This Air is a Material’ provides wondeful insight into Ann Shelton’s vast bodies of work, with input from other industry professionals (artists, writers, etc.) whom provide further observations (some full of wisdom) in regards to her work. Driven by Becky Nunes (Photographer and Director), ‘This Air is a Material’ pays close attention to many finer details, and delves into Shelton’s work thoroughly, notably the historical and conceptual importance of said work.

Relevant to any creative – especially those in New Zealand – I would highly reccomend this for your DocEdge 17 shortlist.








The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

DocEdge 17 | Max Gimblett : Original Mind

Australia / United States | 2017 | 50 min | English | Rhys Mitchell

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is a glimpse into the life of Max Gimblett – one of  New Zealand’s most outstanding living Artists – and gives us insight to the workings of his Loft Studio in New York, which he acquired in 1974.

Gimblett talks about some of his earlier inspiration; being influenced by Matisse and starting ink drawing while he was in San Francisco in the mid 60’s, and becoming more strongly influenced by Japanese Calligraphy a few years later, when he was in Indiana. This influence helps us understand perhaps why he moved to Buddhism; He is now an avowed Rensai Zen Priest. These concepts and belief systems are evident in much of his work, and his spirituality seems to be a driving force behind his studio practice, as well as his everyday life.

Gimblett’s approach of creating, doing and feeling before over-thinking results in much of his extraordinarily expressive yet minimalist paintings and drawings. Over the years he has built an impressive and immense body of work, and this is continuously growing – his creative genius seemingly no where near exhausted.

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is 50 minutes of enjoyment and insight into one of New Zealand’s most relevant and intriguing artists, and well worth viewing.

The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

guest blog | Marc Conaco

Illustrator Marc Conaco is a long-time friend of mac+mae who won ‘best comic art’ for his debut comic, haunted at Chromacon 2017.  Marc is on a mission to get to know his pre-colonial self better by drawing inspiration from his own culture and heritage.  We asked him to share his Chromacon experience with us…

A little about me:
Hello! My name is Marc Conaco. I am an illustrator who exhibited at Chromacon 2017. The comic I debuted, ‘haunted.’ won best in comic art. My stories revolve around the celebration of Philippine pre-colonial culture and mythology. The reason for this goes back early 2016 when I began my journey of decolonisation, which is another long post in itself.

Zine cover of haunted

Zine cover of haunted


I got confirmation that my Chromacon application was accepted on the 21st of January 2017. I was already working on a very rough draft of ‘haunted.’ so the confirmation was the push I needed to finish the comic. It is a sort of love story wrapped inside a Philippine pre-colonial history and mythology lesson. I would do my writing and sketching at the Auckland Library after work – I find that I can concentrate there better without the distractions of the TV and iPad at home.

Dalikamata: Goddess of health & ailments

Dalikamata: Goddess of health & ailments

I knew that I wanted to get a range of items for my booth just to keep it exciting and varied: I had high-quality A5 prints, printed using archival inks. I had my comics (I’m from an Auckland ZineFest background and adore DIY printing using coloured paper and a photocopier) and I had cheap-as-chips stickers.

Maklium sa Tiwan - God of the plains, forest, animals

Maklium sa T’wan – God of the plains, forest, animals

During Chromacon:

I really like interacting with people during Chromacon. The reason I do my comics is so that I can share them with people, especially people of colour who share their own stories back – stories that parallel my own experiences and come from unique perspectives. I really like it when Filipinx* and half-caste Filipinx* come to my booth and are amazed and most importantly, inspired, by the wealth of culture and heritage that they were unaware that their ancestry has. It’s an exciting 2 days.

I’m pretty bad with taking breaks as I get super amped up that I forget that I’m hungry until quite late in the day. It actually helps that friends pass by and randomly give me coffee, or a cake, or a piece of candy. Hahaha! All donations are welcomed!

Chromacon has a number of very helpful volunteers who can watch your booth while you go on toilet or food breaks so it is very convenient for exhibitors like me who are a one-person show.

Booth at Chromacon

My booth at Chromacon 2017

Post Chromacon:

I’ve done all the Chromacon events (2013, 2015 and 2017) and every single time I come home exhausted with all my extroversion depleted. I don’t feel like talking to anyone for a whole day and I literally curl up on the couch for a while not talking. Which is hard because I have work on the Monday.

man and dog

A sticker I made dedicated to #dogs

If you want to know more about me, please follow me on Facebook or Instagram.
If you want to read my comic about my journey of decolonisation, please click on this link.

* I use Filipinx, because it is the gender-neutral term for people who’s ancestry link back to the Philippines. Filipinx includes people who are trans, queer, agender, non-binary, gender non-conforming or gender fluid. When we were colonised by Spain, they forced their heavily gendered language on us: Filipino is male, Filipina is female, which excludes people who don’t identify as either.

NZICF15 | Ben Defend New Zealand

We Kiwis have heard it all before, from the dirty sheep jokes to the prime minister’s hair pulling, it is time we take the stand to defend our nation. Come watch New Zealand’s very own Ben Hurley defend our country against three international guest comedians. Each night invites a different line-up of comedians keeping it ‘fresh as’, this is a great chance for you to sample what NZICF2015 has to offer. I attended a Thursday night show in week two with guest James Roque, Tevita Manukia and Steve Wrigley.

If you constantly tune in to watch 7Days on TV3 then you would know that Ben makes regular appearances on the show, but did you know he also is the head writer for it? This man is just as funny as he is on television. The sense of humour flows strongly in this one and he has a God given talent in public speaking. I had put my name down to see Ben Defend New Zealand not because of the funnies but the ‘burns’ I wanted to witness. Part of me wanted to see some serious word battles of the century, I wanted to see some tears of defeat among blood shed. In my mind I had a vision of one man up against three in a boxing ring with microphones.

What I had imagined didn’t quite turn out that way so to all you peace lovers out there, no one gets hurt. Instead of a boxing ring where people thrash words out like ‘are you mad bro?’ it was Ben one side of the stage interrogating the three poor guest speakers on the other end. Okay, so I may have exaggerated a little bit, it was more like a small quiz on what they know about their own country. I enjoyed this show not because of what I expected to see or hear (obviously), but the fun and games that it turned out to be. The whole show became a hilarious conversation about countries, traditions, habits and strange news. The only issue I had with this event was it wasn’t long enough, this needs to last the whole day darn it!

Here is a tip for this show do not avoid front row. If you think you can avoid being picked on by avoiding the front row you are wrong as proven by a lady I met at the venue. She was waiting for people to fill the front row so she could sit a row or two behind to avoid embarrassment, it didn’t work out well. When you’re target for the comedian you will be one no matter where you are in the room. So my tip is sit in front row if you can, don’t miss out on the full experience just to avoid a small chance of being teased.

Ben Defend New Zealand is showing in Auckland only and is happening at Q Theatre’s Loft. Tickets are available to purchase here on Q Theatre’s sessions page, this show ends this Saturday (16th May) so book your tickets now and don’t miss out.

WHEN:  10:00 pm   Wednesday (13th May) – Saturday (16th May)

WHERE: LOFT @ Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street AUCKLAND 1010


Adults $25.00
Conc. $20.00
Groups 4+ $20.00

Cheap Wednesday $20.00
Thursday Special $20.00

* service fees may apply

Check out New Zealand International Comedy Festival’s Website for more fantastic shows and acts to see. Click here to visit Ben Hurley’s website and follow the links on his website to stalk him on social media.

been | TEDxAuckland 2015

TED. Good old TED. Even if you’ve never been, seen or bothered finding out what TED really does, surely the term “TED Talks” should spark some form of curiosity. TEDxAuckland did more than just turning a few curious heads this year.

D-Day May 2nd: casual city strollers and the skater boys at Victoria Park must have wondered what was going on in that giant conference centre across the road. Little did they know, a two-thousand-odd group of people was sponging up every drop of inspiration from TedxAuckland’s sixteen speakers.  Heralded as a stellar line up with the likes of Sir Bob Harvey, the controversial Tama Iti, provocative Samoan artist Michel Tuffery, award-winning political cartoonist Tom Scott and the renowned etymologist Max Cryer; this year’s event duly achieved its mission of providing a cultural focus and impetus for conversation and debate. Not one to easily launch straight into a substantial conversation with strangers, by the end of the second session, I found myself itching to visit a good friend with whom I usually daydream about saving the world or ponder upon existentialism.

Must have been some pretty amazing talks – I hear you say. For me, only one or two speakers truly grabbed my lazy inner thinker by the shoulder and shook her wide awake, figuratively speaking of course.  Most noteworthy were Dr Hong Sheng Chiong’s admirable crusade against preventable blindness starting with his invention of the mobile eye-imaging adapters; and the simple yet utterly logical capitalization of spare capacity which Janette Searle adopted in her “Take My Hands” operation: distributing prosthetic equipments to those in needs via major freight providers’ unused cargo space. Other attendees of the events could argue differently, citing Sir Bob Harvey as the most impressive leader or Gavin Healy’s spiritual motivation as eye-opening material. That’s the true beauty of TED talks. One takes away what they can from the event. If the idea, stories or innovations themselves weren’t enough to spur the audience into action, the speakers through their own palpable passionate delivery would  have ignited certain appreciation or sense of awareness inside each of us. The act of discussing the talks afterwards alone is enough said.

The “x” in TEDxAuckland stands for “independently organized TED event” – in other words this was a TED-style event licensed by big brother TED. A commendable effort by the licensee’s organization, business partners and many wonderful volunteers. The venue choice however, may have hindered smooth sailing on the day. How did two thousand people queue for coffees at two stations (meters away from each other) inside a narrow hallway? They didn’t. I heard the small café around the corner hit jackpot that day. The food truck lunch service was delightful and it goes without saying, the organizers themselves must have been scratching their heads with portion numbers. I really hope food tickets or vouchers of some sorts will be employed at next year’s event.  There’s nothing sadder than seeing your fellow inspiration-seekers hungry.

Despite such minor technicality, TEDxAuckland still left my mind and body supercharged with a certain positive enthusiasm.  I did pay my above-mentioned friend a visit that night and boy, our usual “ponder-this” session was so much more engaging. Next year, I will drag this dear friend along!

seen | in Pursuit of Venus [infected] – Lisa Reihana

In Pursuit of Venus [infected] opened at the Auckland Art Gallery this weekend. A must see for everyone.

This is surely one of the most spectacular installations that the Auckland Art Gallery has been the temporary home to. Lisa Reihana, world renown visual artist, revealed the piece on May Day evening at the invite only opening night. The evening was packed out with people from the varied art community in New Zealand, and the numerous people that had been a part of Reihana’s extensive team had joined her to share in the unveiling of this incredible artwork.

Reihana has taken the work of a French wallpaper maker from the Enlightenment period, Joseph Dufour, who in 1804 (in collaboration with another artist Jean-Gabriel Charvet) produced a twenty-panel set of scenic wallpaper entitled Sauvages de la Mer du Pacifique (Savages of the Pacific). The panorama was designed to be hung over a ‘dado’ in the neoclassic spirit of ornate French stately homes of the time.

In the original there are Pacific Islanders in a collection of different scenes – all based on the historical events and records collected from the travels of Captain Cook. The original was painted in the style of ancient Italien frescoes discovered in 1748 and well-known Greek and Roman structures. It was one of the first of its kind and the result of new technology in industrialising France at the time, where long panoramic wallpapers were becoming the new trend, especially with the wealthy in America.

Reihana has taken this classic piece and reclaimed a whole slice of history. Using multimedia techniques, the wallpaper comes alive; a beautiful, stylised rolling projection of the wallpaper with the surreal and living scenes of the colonial encounter. The characters act out different sets of customs and ceremonies in traditional dress from across the Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and French Polynesia.

There are echoes of hakas, Hawaiian songs and then the horrific scenes of punishment both between the colonial voyagers, white men in their uniforms, and within the communities, which are coming into contact with these external forces. We witness whippings, fights, stabbings but also moments of unity and shared experience, as a soldier receives a tattoo and other soldiers sit around listening to Hawaiian comedy. The ongoing roving scenery takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of the deepest kind, a lived experience of a violent and difficult colonial past. It is affronting and at the same time a sensory delight of the highest kind. The aesthetics of the piece could not be more beautiful, the observer is immediately thrust into a dreamy landscape – a landscape that was the object of beauty in French elite homes two centuries ago but the historical land and livelihood of generations living in the Pacific long before Captain Cook arrived. The actors are all flawless, and the costumes are wonderful – Reihana evidently brought together a team of highly talented people to create this ground-breaking piece, which is an inherently political act. Using the dreamscape to conjure up the realities of colonisation, Reihana reclaims the historical process that is often left unseen and brushed under the carpet by those living comfortable lives of opulence in other people’s lands. Yet she remains sympathetic to the complexities of this encounter and the struggles that the multiple identities faced as history was in the making.