Al Mackie, band, Napier – Tuesday 22/7/2014

Al Mackie co-owner of ‘band’ ( spent several hours with us on Tuesday and took us through the workings of a real life Design Company; it was stimulating, interesting and very real!

It’s obvious that to be still around after 9 years Al and Tom (co-owners) have a successful formula going on and as I waited to hear what the magic ingredient was, I was pleasantly surprised;

Talent, yes!

Good business sense, yes!

But mostly it is a willingness to work hard, work very, very hard. The up side however is financial success, which leads to being able to enjoy life to the fullest. Which I gather happens a lot (no thats not Al, just a random surfing photo, ha ha).


So what did I learn about working in a successful agency …

It helps to have:

• Natural talent
• Work ethic
• Pitch in attitude
• Work longer hours when required
• Personality
• Being able to critique and be critiqued
• Multi skilled
• Be real
• Work well consistently
• Excellent listening skills

Easy peasy…. Well not quite but it’s also not rocket science, if you want it hard enough you will get it.
So all in all it comes down to being yourself, working hard, being part of the team but with individual attitude (in a good way) and being able to listen well and consistently produce good work.

Finally, although I am a visual artist the line between design and art is constantly moving so who knows, one day I might be fortunate enough to freelance some art work to someone like band. Regardless the lessons learned here are relevant in all spheres of life.

Branding and Identity Part 2 – Anthony Chiappin Tuesday 22/7/2014

What makes a good website?

Well that’s a big question and in this session I learnt that each website is as individual and unique as the person who owns it, you need personality and attitude!

A woman with bucket loads is Paula Scher, check out her talk on the website Skill Share at, where she talks about brand identity.

There were quite a few useful things I gleaned from her talk but the most powerful would be the need to be fluid, bend don’t break, and pay attention to what’s going on around you which can stimulate change and growth. There is nothing worse then to become rigid and boring, potential buyers and employers will quickly switch off.

I also discovered the need to be organized when it comes to creating a website, the hierarchy of content is important as is the look and feel, we are custodians of our own future, we disregard this at our own peril.

And finally Paula Scher described her unique process towards creating a brand identity as a ‘“liquid identity” — a recognizable, dynamic branding system that can be adapted across medium’, I think that is a perfect way to describe our online identity brand.



The Places We’ll Go – Mandy Rudge Monday 21/7/2014

Oh the places you’ll go by Dr Seuss;

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

What a great story! I have only added the first two paragraphs and the last (see the end of this post), there are a few more paragraphs in between, and I fully recommend reading the whole story! ….

For this brief we are creating a website to express in a unique way our personalities as emerging artists. Mandy Rudge took us through an exhibition of students who hosted a show called ‘The Places We’ll Go’, a level 7 class from UCOL. It was interesting to see the exhibition and the direction some of the students had taken with regard to targeting a particular market, that’s what we are beginning to look at now so it was very helpful.

In a nutshell the creation of the website is the least important part of this project, understandably we need to know and understand our own practice and philosophy as well as who is our niche market? How do we target them and stand out against our competitors?

So a couple of things to work on;

• Mind map – Current work
• Mind map – Historical context
• Mind map – competitors
• Niche Markets – research what/who are they?
• Who am I as a person – strengths and weaknesses
• What is my philosophy?

Together the answers will create a plan through which my blog/e-portfolio with emerge.

As things happen I will post more, but to end, I defer to Dr Seuss;


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Branding and Identity – Anthony Chiappin Monday 21/7/2014

Dinner parties….

If you could choose any six people alive or dead to be guests at your dinner party, who would they be??


Pablo Picasso
Graham Norton
Marilyn Munroe
Russell Brand
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (they count as one)
Oprah Winfrey…

































This is a question that has been asked over and over, on chat shows in movies and generally as an opening statement at a dinner party… haha! And in some cases it might be included in a lecture about branding and identity, as happened to me recently, not personally you understand but as a demonstration by our lecturer to our arts and design class about branding and identity…

Communication, debate, ideas, expansion, inspiration etc = dinner parties!

What a great example and maybe because of my age I can truly relate to the mental stimulation you can get at a really good dinner party.

So what did we learn about Branding and Identity:

• Equity – what is the value of the brand?
• Strategy – the plan/systems that make it work, or not.
• Idea – what is the idea or story behind the brand?
• Architecture – how do I build it? What are the foundations?
• Personality – what is the feel of the brand? Do you just want to have fun?
• Brief – What do I want to achieve? What is important to me?
• Experience – what do I want people to experience when they encounter my brand? Is it working? If not why?
• Value- what is my brand worth?
• Promise – what can I offer the audience in return for there attention?

At this point I was thinking OMG! And then we watched a TED Talk by Jacob Cass about how personal branding and how his connections on social media rescued him from unemployment and provided pathways to more business opportunities. I have attached a link to the talk which was very interesting and down to earth.

The short of it is, that in an ever-changing world you need to be able to communicate in multiple ways i.e.: Facebook, twitter, Google, RSS. The traditional ways of getting work as a Designer and/or Visual Artist are no longer effective, paper based employment cannot compete in this new technological age where the speed of the internet trumps all. And as the method of advertising and recruitment changes we also need to develop strategies to utilize these new media so we stand out from the crowd, to make an impression which leads to a positive outcome. And while we as artists and designers need to feed the soul we also need to eat! So it is crucial in this day and age to be able to market ourselves as unique with a consistent, authentic pitch!

In my case I am firmly in the visual arts arena, so for me it becomes about how can I stand out amongst my competitors, other abstract painters, and at this stage at least, how can I market myself to appeal to my niche markets, the dealer galleries and buyers of fine art. As the world shrinks in size I also need to consider whether I see myself as purely national or do I go for broke and attempt to enter the international art scene.

Keep following me to see a complete re-vamp of my blog and the emergence of my career as an artist, as documented, right here right now.

John Brebner – Home Print

Hi All,

The next installment on the Adana Press…

Through a contact at EIT I contacted John Brebner of Home Print, a small family run, printmaking studio based in Fielding, the following is a link to his home page.

John and Alison practice and teach a range of printmaking techniques but their specialty is letterpress so I was in the right place. John graciously extended an invitation to visit bringing along my small portable flatbed Adana press featured in my previous post.

About three hours later after much talk and browsing of his fabulous collection of presses, paraphernalia, including hundreds of different types of paper and some of the amazing books he has we finally got down to examining the press. Immediately finding a small error in the previous restoration and some advice on cleaning and getting rid of some surface rust we managed to get a print done!

The print was just a blip on the page, three letters ‘eit’ but it was very exciting and the potential for future use immediately filled my mind, it was all worth the trip.

A big thank you to John who spared so much time with me I learnt so much about my press and about the industry in general, it was great.

Rather than go into too much detail I will save some of the more technical stuff for my next post, after I have had a proper play with the machine and for now here are just a few photos.











And finally the ‘print’, ink less and embossed.




Photo polymer prints

At the beginning of term we were lucky to be invited to discover the technique and process involved in photo polymer etching, always looking to increase my knowledge in technical processes I happily joined up.

To begin with we powered our way through the stages required but due to a technical hitch we were forced to put everything on the back burner while a piece of the exposure unit was replaced.

A few weeks on and we have the machine back up and running and I have some prints to show off, I’m undecided as to whether this technique is something I would use a lot of but it’s always good to have tools to dust off and use at a later time.


Raven. Photo polymer print using black ink on heavy duty paper. Note the pressure from the press has embossed an outline, the ink has a stippled effect that is interesting and the way the ink is confined or looks almost trapped within the confines of the plane makes this print work for me.



Close up of the Raven. This print was pressed onto tissue paper, black ink on white. The tissue lends a delicacy to the image and highlights the detail of the wooden stump the raven is perched on.



Raven in the Forest. The Raven on its own has limited appeal so I started to play with combining different plates and this is an outcome that I think works. The Raven has a strong outline (less intricate detail) and goes well when printed over a more detailed plate. It helps that the images are compatible but I would also like to look at unlikely matches, the juxtaposition of images married together.


Close up of the forest plate. This print was pressed onto brown craft paper using black ink. The eerie feel of the image has come through very well, the brown background is covered in a thin layer of ink giving it a atmospheric look.



Forest. Printed with a residue of black ink covered by red onto heavy duty white paper. There is depth and definition and the two colors mingle and give the image an edge. I particularity like the embossed edge, almost giving a 3D aspect to the image, on the other hand I think the containment of the image within the plane is arresting.



Forest. Using yellow ink and pressed onto tissue paper the image changes as you look at it. I had fun using tissue paper and to further this process I am thinking about collage, and layering multiple prints onto each other. You may notice I have again focused on the edge of the plane, the way ink has pooled and has a very solid/physical effect.


To summarise I enjoyed the process of preparing the plates immensely and experimenting with different inks and materials as well as combining plates, in the future I would like to push the boundaries on how far I can take this process in my own practice.



Adana Printing Press

Hi there,

I have stumbled across an old Adana Printing Proof flat bed press with a rotating ink plate and thought I would like to get it up and running and see what kind of printing I can achieve…

All very experimental and I have had to put a call out to people who may have used or know something about these printers as my experience and knowledge is pretty much zero. If there is anyone who could help or point me in the right direction that would be great!