It is still open to the public on a donation basis to the two remaining environments.
47 Gillies St, Kawakawa - opposite the Hundertwasser Toilet.
The Amazespace is a single art project comprising several individual works.
The principal function is to provide enough uplifting experiences to create a positive experience for visitors; a happiness generator.
When I began the vision was 50 individual environments within the guidelines of;
Themed but meaningless- the experience is individual not requiring a game of identifying with the Artists message
No representational symbology- avoiding preconceived interpretations and reactions within visitors
Uplifting positive effects- the lighter side of life
Within a short period I decided that natural forms- animal and plant kingdom have been part of the human art experience from the beginning and these are found throughout the project.
The aim to provide a work avoiding offense to individual beliefs (personal taste in a completely separate issue!), open to for persons to experience includes a disabled access path at a 1in8 incline to most areas.
Holiday makers carry less daily burdens making easier subjects to be uplifted by bizarre unique works.
It was hoped that after eight separate environments the positive shock a visitor received would begin, providing reactions that left a feeling others would pick up and increase.
Obviously the more environments the greater the experience.
Amazespace is a response to so many people visiting Kawakawa to see the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian born Architect and Painter who lived nearby for the last 27 years of his life.
In 2003, Matthew Nisbet watched the visitors finding some confusion to the highly original work on the toilets in a small rural town- they didn’t know what to do!
A steam engine that runs through the middle of the main road has always marked the town as unique and since.
Since beginning work in 2009 there has been a lot of art work appearing in the main street.
While the economy was better, 6 art businesses were operating- an organic street level growth on the seed begun by Hundertwasser.
Aware of the copyright issues protecting the integrity of Hundertwasser’s unique ideas and designs, I approached the Hundertwasser Foundation in NZ and Austria to declare my intention to build the Amazespace, seeking their endorsement and ongoing inspection to avoid plagiarizing the Artist.
I have always been drawn to modern Germanic art-the strong colourful expressionist and abstract painters including Klee, Klimnt, Macke, Marc, Kandinsky and Hundertwasser have a similarity that provides a difficulty to produce in 3D without being too similar to the Toilets over the road, or the Intervention on the corner.
I ran into similar personal issues when pumicing the tree, with Chris Booth’s Studio up the road in Kerikeri, there were many moments I has to keep repeating “the idea just made sense and still does…” and “he hasn’t done a tree yet……..i hope”
In essence very little is truly new, the Greats like Bridget Riley, Picasso, Kandinsky, Brancusi, Gaudi et al create images that become so well known that there assimilation into mainstream consciousness effects creation and interpretation.
Amazespace is also my response to Environmental Art. The explosion of modernist environmental expression post WW1 and WW2 with Dadaism and Beuys always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I consider there was so much to be reacting against at the time and place of their creation.
Rooms full of challenging intellectual arrangements of unusual shapes just appear too clever at times or too deeply emotionally thought provoking, do I need to work that hard for a message when I can google the news?
I wished to provide a place that helps make the world a better experience.
And the Amazespace is a meaningless response to this.
There have been changes to my original vision.
I was aiming to finance the ongoing construction from the entry charges; a confusion to how to get in to the walk, the economic downturn, working to cover overheads with a gallery then sweet shop then café, and being overwhelmed by duties left little time to create and less inspiration.
So much time has been finding the money for the next tight budget that after five years leaves me ashamed and apologetic to my idealist goal.
Concrete is exciting and boring- liquid stone forming most any idea yet grey and prone to organic surface growth when unattended.
I read somewhere the fashion to grey stone building in Europe was influence by the ancient structures that survived centuries, but the that originals were covered in ceramic tiles to protect the weather of the surfaces over centuries-possibly the mosaic Mosques are a remembrance of times past.
I always wondered what a modern city would look like if every bare surface was coloured- hopefully the modern graffiti movement is just beginning.
How would our lives be effected ?
I remember walking Vienna being struck by the contrast of the Eastern post WW2 architecture to the buildings built prior to this period- dull flat surfaces one block like another- depressing and foreboding verses a sense of individuality and comfortable conformity.
I understood the urban sanity of Hundertwasser’s Window Right belief- that every person has the right to reach out and alter the outside of a building within the reach of their arm.
Normalized to the Amazespace as I am there is always a joy to walking along the paths covered with mosaics, tiles with organic lines
The Flower Trees were a collaboration between Alicia Courtney and myself.
Her genius with fabric and jewelry was directed toward covering some cargo nets to be hung from trees.
It just made sense to cover the trees with blue material and her work after seeing piles of non fading flowers.
There have been many local trades people and artists working on the project.
For many the interpretation of my ideas has been a challenge!
I discovered my forte while developing the Stepahead Ceramic designs and earlier in the eighties organizing alternative music events.
Working with a team of creators on a main topic, there are many possibilities that are discussed and trialed; when successful, an idea develops from one reality into the next until a satisfactory solution can be found.
The physical manifestation of ideas provides a basis for ongoing brain storming and trials.
Also while I landscaped as a trade I saw the true potential of a design after starting the job or when completing a major structural solution; every change leads onward and often the initial designs need to settle before being balanced into the overall new look.
I had hoped to have the site at a level successful enough to invite a major international artist or two to install environments; support to facilitate this idea possible was found in Auckland.
Alas the confusion of what the Amazespace is, compounded with no marketing and the ongoing nature of the development has been responsible for failing to provide a track record justifying this dream.
There is an overall rough finished aspect to this project.
When I first started the construction I found ‘Fantasy Worlds’ a 2007 Taschen publication exploring parks of unusual design and construction throughout the world.
Such inspiration! It seemed a rough finish was acceptable in the genre that I have become involved!
Focus to provide an environment that will handle close and adventurous interaction with children has been challenged, in most areas successfully!.
The development of a playground for adults and children to interact is an idea that may eventuate here or elsewhere.
Currently, winter 2014, I am working on the hill visible above the shop roof line and hope this provides enough interest to become successful.
The entry point through the shop has been closed and now a donation system with access through the front fence is proving feasible.
The Amazespace now is ‘just marketable’ and this winter will tidy up loose ends and begin the marketing.
Where the next stage is I am unable to forecast, following work at the top of the hill.
The Amazespace is providing smiles and wonderment for most of the many visitors and excites younger people.
Maybe a bit more work and publicity will provide a reality that decides where to go next!