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“my formal training began in 1989 with a 2 year craft design maori certificate at what was then called waiariki polytechnic in rotorua. i really enjoyed these 2 years and learned many skills both design wise and practical that have held me in good stead over the years. the concept of craft design schools was new and fresh which is always a good thing. what i hold in my heart was the camaraderie with my fellow students. i also gained a healthy respect and sometimes awe for the various art forms we studied.
after travelling overseas for three years on my return in 1994 i began a fine arts degree at what was then called whanganui polytechnics ‘taupo quay school of fine art’. again it was a school in growth with fresh ideas. interestingly most of my tutors were american which gave a different view to the art world in general. again i had a great time there and am grateful to all who shared there knowledge.
i graduated with a fine arts degree majoring in sculpture in 1996 and in 1997 after a short business development course i set up what was then called ‘jamie pickernell art furniture’. my wife and i and our newly born son stayed in whanganui until mid 1998 when the pull of our home town and the then two complete sets of grandparents drew us back to Rotorua where we still live semi rurally, my workshop is also on our property.
for the last 17 years i have made a full time living through exhibiting in outdoor sculpture shows and commissioned works, both private and public. these commissions range from sculpture to furniture through to architectural hardware and sign housings. i believe having a wide skill base and a can do attitude has held me in good stead. i’m constantly inspired by this country, it’s materials, ingenuity, culture, history, flora and forna.
i’m very eclectic. i don’t fit easily into any boxes. drawing boundaries between craft and fine art, or between the functional and non functional, makes no sense to me. there’s so much touch, interaction and design challenge to be had from functional objects. They enfold themselves into our personal culture and history. i love the ‘how’ as much as the ‘why’ of making. i love the mauri, or spirit materials. i love the power of surprise in the unexpected. i love humour and wit. i love scale. the work has come to fruition from the physicality of living and loving life in gods own!” says jamie.
jamie won the mcconnell family supreme award 2015/2016 and the people’s choice awards 2011/12 and 2013/14 in the ‘sculpture in the gardens’ exhibition at the auckland botanic gardens. his work ‘bird lady’ is in the permanent collection there.
he also has numerous other public works around new zealand including ‘kiwi boy’ on the whakatane river walkway.
jamie also has work in the wallace arts trust collection.
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