• Chrissie Calvert

Practical Problems

I really enjoy problem solving. Some of the fun of creating is working with the things that are going against you, and using them to you're advantage, versus avoiding the problems as if they weren't there.

A common problem for many people is money. The cost of living keeps climbing, and even though minimum wage rises, so does inflation. Actually one thing I have found is that I have worked hard to get paid more hourly, and then the minimum wage catches up and it is hard not to feel a little defeated, as though maybe I shouldn't have worked as hard as I did. So what has this to do with my practice? Money, (or lack of), is an object for me. After I have paid for rent, petrol, food I don't have much left, despite working full time. This has forced me to make do with the materials I have. Although, I kind of like that. It forces me to think outside the box which allows for weirdness.


The idea of using PVA came from my tight budget. 4L of PVA = $30. 4L Varnish = $140. 4L of Clear Surface Prep = $400. In the end though, PVA despite it being the cheapest, in my opinion, makes the most interesting works. Its stickiness forced me to prime the hessian away from the wall, which opened up a whole avenue of experimentation which may not have been thought of otherwise. If I had gone with transparent primer, I wouldn't have needed to do that, and may not have thought about painting on both sides of the hessian.


I thinking embracing problems and making them apart of artwork ads so much context, and authenticity. I hadn't really thought about it until after a zoom meeting this week with Giulio, but I have always wanted my work to be authentic, while at the same time, I was not embracing the cheapness of the materials I use. My workplace actually has a lot of influence over my work. Working at Resene, I get access to a tinting bench, and a huge ECO waste bin. People come there to dump unwanted paint. Most of the paint and stain they dump is fine, they just see no use in it. Most of my paint comes from those bins. A lot of whites get recycled, and so, if I want, I can take the white to the tinting bench and alter the colour.


Above: The tinting bench and Resene, Tawa Dr.



Two old school shakers at Resene, Tawa Dr.


From now I will embrace the cheap side to my work, instead of shying away from it.

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