Russ Harris

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I am a fifth generation New Zealander from the North Island. However I left Aotearoa in 1969 and took the overland trail to the UK and there I stayed until two years ago. I spent four years in London and the rest of the time in Wales where I worked on building sites, farms and forestry. The last 22 years I worked as a teacher of Art, Design and Technology at a high school in Mid Wales. Now I am a retired man, lucky enough to have found my way here to Banks Peninsula. I like to write, make music and make art.

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After a workshop with Shane Tuffery I began to develop my skills in block printing and now spend time at Ferrymead Printshop using the mighty Albion Press. I put together words and images to make posters. I like a narrative in my art, a line of thought, an idea. As such, apart from the usual guys and girls - Picasso, Matisse, Kathe Kollwitz and all those giants - I like illustrators such as Arthur Rackham and Shirley Hughes; and block print makers such as William Rice, Mervyn Taylor and Hinehauone Coralie Cameron.

Both my partner Jane and I draw inspiration from the old rocky volcanic island that is Banks Peninsula. There is a lifetime of things to say about this place. I live in Governors Bay, the jetty is in front of me. To stand at the end of the jetty is to place yourself in the middle of a bay surrounded by the rocky walls and lava flows of ancient turmoil. It is a wonderful structure with a fine history and, for me, great humour and heart. As the harbour silted up the jetty was extended … and extended. Extrapolate that idea and eventually we would be able to walk across the water to Lyttelton!