Some preamble about the persona of Treedragon.....
Some preamble about the persona of Treedragon..... I do answer to just
about anything, it matters not to me what i am called, but mostly i am
called martin. From the very earliest of ages i was never comfortable
with my given name, it is not me and not mine, in fact on a legal basis i
do not even own it and neither do i claim to any ownership of my given
name. Starting life with someone elses definition doesn’t seem the best
way of begining to me. The “name” is something between myself and
Another aspect is that i am not into the cult of names as seen today nor
any of the ascribed importance to such name, it is not possible to pin
down and delineate an ever changing aspect of consciousness.
Naming and defining limits and encourages one to not be present in the
reality of the being in front of you............ hence i do not mind being
called “hey you” be aware though that it does invite tailored
responses......... for entertainment purposes only you understand :-)
It is said that i was of an “artistic” nature from the beginning, that’s not how i saw things, rather that was a hopeful
parental viewpoint. My earliest sculptural memories being of carving dinosaurs out of blocks of wax tinted with
crayons, (and then there was that xmas scene in a box..... sigh) A favouring of art in college with no particular
merit being shown, it was just something to do arising from a lack of any real idea of how i might live my life.
Somewhat introverted in my early years i had few friends so just tended to do my own thing, spending a lot of time
wandering the hills collecting rocks and minerals and enjoying the mountains and bush.
This solitude has manifested into an a typical "do it yourselfer" who can rarely leave well enough alone, (there is
always a way to make it work/look "better"......) and I have a few more friends these days I note :-)
Probably the first truly useful decision made was before leaving home was when i decided not to go to university,
this after having direct work experience with university graduates and their wider hoplessness (at many things)
except within their narrow "specialist" field. When i did leave home it was with the words to me "....... just do what
you think best" and this after growing up being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, bizarre really, set
me up for life in a peculiar sort of way. My first job involved living in a Forestry Camp where, with the support and
encouragement of a new friend, i started painting. They sold.
Memories of these days are a bit thin but it was a time that got me into things creative in oil paints on canvas,
linked with the idea there was a living to be made, a view still debatable to this day. I spent most of my time there
doing things with trees, driving big machinery and trying to figure out what the game was. Although as a result of
these times i was to later take up painting as a means of supporting myself (sort of), as an artist you might say.....
They all sold, (we won't mention the bulk closing down sale to my brother, he has goood taste though..... )
Coming up with ideas of what to paint was generally painfully slow, uneconomic even, so i gave it away.......
I did a lot of other things decidedly un-artistic in nature, drove trucks, managed a hotel, did carpentry, bought a
fishing boat and fished then turned it into a gaff rigged yacht and lived on it, in fact just about anything that didn't
require the brains i was supposed to have had some would say...... in other words i was a specialist at not fitting in!
One day while at my sisters house i had a stroke of genius, (in retrospect), resulting from watching her feed the dog.
It was a flash of the future.
At the time i needed a gift for someone and preferring to make one i decided to do a bone carving, something i had
never done before so..... the dog lost the bone, i bought a knife, started carving, liked it, then decided to work as a
professional bone carver.
I did very well, and ended up with a working gallery in Nelson, my home town. Very prolific i was, and in demand
The years pass, i create a flourishing business and managed to wreck my hands in the process, and never seemed to
see the outdoors or get to sail. End of bone carving......
Then one memorable day as a result of seeking to sort out my then growing hand problem, i met Marie and we ended
up in South Canterbury, near Geraldine, on a magical property with the most amazing energy, springs, trees, and 47
species of birds (at least). This is where i created the Labyrinth, definitely a work of art with a lawnmower.
The Stone was calling
I had toyed with the idea of sculpting stone for a long time as i had done some bits and pieces when bone carving. It
felt right.... familiar even............. i decided to work as a sculptor.......... Still am............. well for the most
And now............... (2011)
Well things are different, i have left behind South Canterbury and all involved there, a long story..........
I have been back in Nelson for a few years now, initially sculpting but life then got in the way of things artistic i
note, that is now changing, there are stone projects to be done (and i am still wondering if i will ever find a cliff
to carve) trying to get by in todays sheepledom society is a lost cause for me so now i will return to sculpting the
I am now contemplating if i will even stay here in Nelson there is little to keep me here but then again you never
know what might be lurking around the corner..... The call to move to the far south coast is very strong, how it
will come about eludes me at present so i am trusting that events will transpire in the appropriate direction.
The photographic side of things is still progressing though with thousands of photo's to sort through, plenty to
tweak and no doubt I will post a few here if for no other reason than to prove I am still breathing.
Much More time has passed...... 2016
I am still playing with stone but am decidedly not a sculptor or artist of any sort, toooo limiting that definition. so
am now up in the Coromandel trying to get my head around the local Hinuera Stone
PLAYING WITH LIGHT
It is the play of light, changing throughout the day, that makes any Oamaru Stone sculpture come to life.
With it being a fairly uniform and light coloured material it demands that the sculptor uses the ambient lighting as
part of their palette.
Smooth curves, highlit, extending to other curves with dimensions of shadow that wax and wane with the day,
adding a depth unexpected.
In Oamaru Stone is found a material that is easy to work and yet has the body to take a reasonable amount of
Speed and detail resonate so it well suits the flowing forms i create.
It's creamy richness seems to enhance feelings of growth and unfoldment, and as you will note, i favour the spiral,
the koru, (unfurling fern frond), potential of future growth as yet undefined as forms for movement.
That combined with elements of water and simple land forms, along with intimations of light,
create an expression that is alive in a material normally considered solid and fixed.
Mind you i like form for forms sake and will often start many a piece simply by exploring the shape of a curve.
The truth is, coming up with designs hasn't got any easier, but at the very least i end up with a lot of lime for the
garden, and that can't be all bad.
The Spirit Within
There is another aspect to sculpture, or any art form, unquantifiable in a way yet essential to all successful works.
The spirit or soul of a work.
Viewpoints abound so here are some more perceptions: Two main aspects.
First, the "feel" that someone unconsciously projects into a work when they first see it, always in accordance with
their true held beliefs, (seen and unseen), and hence those aspects of life they choose to identify with. This is the
most common source of any initial response to a work of creativity, make or break in the first few seconds. Within
these belief structures you will also find the forms as identified with by society, or any particular culture etc, often
containing the common ground for mass appreciation, (I'll have some of that)
The second aspect, is where some pieces have a specific quality that is perceived in the same way irrespective of
form or viewer. A life of their own. This still has the same basis as above but implies some interesting belief
structures within consciousness, particularly when it is obvious that these qualities can be placed within the work by
Intent is the key here. Clear focused intent as to the purpose and how it is, (not will be), belief followed by
experience. Then add in a suitable degree of attention to the job in hand. Some artists do it automatically, to do it
consciously .............. even better. Many of you can feel where a creator is coming from, some of you will have
even unconsciously picked up if a work has been done for money or for the creation itself.
Done for money stuff can be really nice but that is where it ends, (an insight:- the underlying belief structure is
often around a lack of money........... think about it). Over the years I have seen many many technically well
skilled pieces that are dead, and amateur pieces that are absolute shockers BUT they have THE FEEL.......
Intent.................. it's all about intent....... the soul of a work