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Podcast: Emma Bass

Emma Bass Art Ache

The Impossible Garden

Aimée Ralfini chats with photographer Emma Bass about her latest exhibition up at Alberton House as part of The Auckland Festival of Photography.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 14.06.20

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

It’s always a delight to see the love affair between an artist and their medium, and it’s a thrill to catch it in infancy and watch it grow. Looking at Emma Bass’s latest series, in comparison to her previous, it’s impossible to ignore the sharp right turn the artist has taken from her visual arc.

Podcast commissioned by Artis Gallery and Albert-Eden Local Board – now playing.

Emma Bass is an established photographer with a global audience. Her 2016 work ‘Hydrangeas 8.50 am’ presented at the Royal Academy Summer Show is typical of her photographic style; decorative and seductive floral compositions in collectible vases. Anyone familiar with her work ought to brace themselves, as this new series sees her re-contemplating her approach on all levels.

The Impossible Garden blurs the boundaries between painting, photography and collage. Bouquets have been created by layering rather than arranging, making the works surface aware with an acutely tactile finish.

Gone is the central itemised vase sitting atop its ledge. In fact, at first glance, this latest series seems to completely dismiss her usual style, however upon closer inspection the same elements the artist has always worked with emerge.

Bass is passionate about the language of flowers, their beauty and ability to heal, in this series she presents vibrant and complex floral portraits entrenched with flora and symbology. The artist has revived the work of 17th century Dutch and Flemish artists such as Bosschaert, Van Aelst and Breughel, by using reproductions of their Still Life paintings as the canvas upon which she lays her pollen.

Bass extends the opulence of the original artworks like a magpie, by adding insects and objects of intrigue – ranging from jewellery to plastic children’s toys – which add a touch of humour.

These items are placed upon the printed art, photographed, then further invigorated with appropriated Matisse shapes painted in 24 carat gilded gold leaf, which pop and dance resplendent against the nostalgic fuzz of the printed paintings in a uniquely curious way.

“The gilded gold shapes are replicas of Matisse’s cut-outs – in respect to his artistic endurance – he made them whilst incapacitated. Knowing they were created from his sick-bed reiterates for me the healing power of beauty.

Adding them to the Dutch still life allows me to create a new synergy whilst also paying homage to both artists…

“With this series I am honouring the artists whose work has strongly resonated with me and played an informative role in my creative development.” – Emma Bass

The juxtaposition of the historic artworks with exotic garden life and shimmering gold creates a new work, brimming with life, yet conversely, as with all Still Life the visual energy has been created with a collection of dead (still) things. It is here where Bass’s homage is most potent, as she has bought these masters back to life, creating new pleasures, with buzz.

Written by Aimée Ralfini for Art Ache

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

Artists websiteInstagram| Dealer Gallery Artis (for this series)

Further reading: Dish Magazine | Verve Magazine | Mindfood | La Botanica |  NZlife

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The Joy Campaign

Art Ache Vanessa Green

The Joy Campaign

It’s time for that fresh start we’ve been waiting for.

Nationwide digital billboard colab with LUMO. April 2020.

Up and down the country in Tauranga, Hamilton, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, artworks by 7 amazing artists have been created to bring joy to our front-line workers and apartment dwellers.
The brief was simple. Create an artwork that has a sole purpose of evoking joy and happiness from the viewer. Every single one of these billboards which are currently playing on every LUMO digital nationwide.

“I wanted to pre-empt the next period of pandemic-adaptation with joy. These artists are effortlessly positive visual songbirds.

These are for our front-line workers and apartment dwellers who can’t go for that walk in the bush, can’t have animals, can’t escape the dominating lines of urban architecture. These are for you; we are thinking of you and want you to feel good.”
Aimée Ralfini, Art Ache

Artworks have been produced by a range of well-known New Zealand artists; Evie KempGreta AndersonTanja McMillanAngus McNaughtonVanessa GreenRalfi Lafini and Cherry Lazar.

“I always like my images seeing the light of day. They are made to be viewed and I would like mine to be there for the essential workers to see. They are legends.” Greta Anderson, Artist

“I really wanted to bring some pure colour, simple joy and total cuteness to our urban environments, it’s as simple as that.

The world is scary and unknown right now so I thought it was a good opportunity to just go all out with happiness.

Everyone is sacrificing so much to help stamp out Covid-19 in Aotearoa, this is my little (no contact) thank you card!” Evie Kemp, Artist

The Joy Campaign will be on display nationwide throughout April 2020, artworks are located in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

About Art Ache
Art Ache is an artist-centric movement in art communication. It aims to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation in New Zealand. Art Ache believes at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors. Art Ache Manifesto

LUMO Digital Outdoor 
Art Ache and Digital billboard company LUMO have been collaborating for almost two years now. Both share the same core values around the importance of intelligent visual communication. LUMO billboards present the very best in luminance quality and uniformity, true-to-life colour calibration, brilliant contrast and reliability in digital screens in New Zealand, as well as offering the most up-to-date OOH interactive technology, which allows Art Ache’s artists to dream big when creating art for the digital medium.

For further information please contact Aimee via email.

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the fine Art of Disruption

Aimee Ralfini Verve Cover

The (fine) Art of Disruption

By Lizzy Dent for Verve Magazine

March 2020

To an outsider, the art world is exclusionary.  Great white walled, polished floor galleries and huge price tags intimidate the art-curious, and artists are largely kept away from the front lines. And, when most other sectors are working hard to diversify, many segments of the art market continue to be built upon the networks of the rich. So in 2012 when Aimée Ralfini launched herself into the New Zealand art scene with new, more inclusive take, her fresh approach caused such disruption, it left traditionalists struggling to catch up.

At a time when most artists and galleries were not properly utilising social media, Ralfini created the art activation model Art Ache, that centred around the cross-platform promotion via social media and press. She wrapped local artists in fully-fledged creative campaigns, applying all that she’d learnt from decades in the media industry to Fine Art.

“I looked at the art scene as it was back then, and thought things need to be way cooler …  So I began researching, sharing art to social media, I created the ELAM THE 90’s group, and went nuts posting art. One thing lead to another and before too long I was hosting art events at pubs.

We’d sell little studio works at low prices, people loved the direct connection with the artists in such a personal setting, they loved fossicking through the various studies and test-works the artists made available, I soon partnered with The Golden Dawn on Ponsonby (RIP) and started interviewing artists on the radio and it just built from there.”

Fast forward 8 years and Ralfini has held 22 art activations which range from events to billboard campaigns up and down the country. She paved the way for many artists on social channels through her own fearlessness, she made art radio genuinely entertaining and has interviewed and worked with many of Aotearoa’s top creative talent in the visual arts sector.

So how has the scene changed since?

“It’s changed a lot. Artists are comfortable and active on social media, Dealer galleries work harder for their artists, they reach out to press and are way more supportive towards each other, building a stronger community…” but there are still problems, she says,

…Professional wages are scarce to come by, making jobs only sustainable to those with additional support. There is a great divide between the boomer artists and everyone else, greed over art motivates some of the more established gallerists, who behave unethically, absorb Creative New Zealand money to advance their business’s and sabotage grass root initiatives. The secondary art market doesn’t give back to the wider art community which they profit off 100%.”

While some steps have been made to address funding issues, Ralfini believes the overall problem remains the same; most skilled experienced professionals simply can’t afford to work full-time in the arts, leaving start-up creative hubs wide open to poor management and a short shelf life, which invariably leads to a wasted return on investment for everyone involved.

Ralfini finds this frustrating. The contribution Art Ache has made to Auckland’s art sector and the wider grass-roots arts scene across New Zealand is quantifiable to over $1m, yet in the 8 years it has been running It has received less than $10k worth of funding, none of which was from Creative New Zealand.

“Culture doesn’t pay the rent (especially in Auckland). So the cycle repeats and the arts fall back into the hands of the rich. “

While Art Ache has been tough but rewarding, the project has helped Ralfini fortify strengths as a creative director, “I’ve learnt I’m much happier directing creatives, for me, translating an artist’s work into a campaign is my art. I much prefer painting the city with other people’s work, which the recent digital Billboard campaigns have allowed me to do. I like the idea of the city scape being a gallery that everyone can enjoy.”

And in the end, it’s liberating Art from its financial and social barriers, onto the streets and into people’s hearts that was always the main goal for Ralfini. Something her disruptive approach has helped achieve through Art Ache and the wider art community.

“I truly believe artists are the litmus paper of society, they feel things so deeply, they are curious and brave, and it is important that as a society we enable them to explore. I personally know of the ability art has to heal, and connect people, something that during these illuminated times is needed more than ever.”

Aimée Ralfini is a graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts and a regular contributor to Verves Monthly art guide. Art Ache regularly podcasts to iTunes and Spotify. For more info visit

More Info / on Aimee Ralfini / article source.

Art Ache podcasts on iTunes / Spotify

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Podcast: Māoriland Film Festival

Maoriland Art Ache

Māoriland Film Festival

AM Ralfini chats with Madeline de Young, the Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka (Programme Manager) for the Māoriland Charitable Trust which operates the festival.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 26.01.20

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

In 2014 Libby Hakaria and Tainui Stevens established the Māoriland Film Festival. Based in Ōtaki on the Kapiti Coast, their goal was to show thought provoking indigenous films that move, hearten and unite their community. The festival began with 11 films and by 2019 had grown to138 films from 94 Indigenous nations around the world and included over 200 events and screenings over 5 days. The festival has grown to be the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the Southern Hemisphere.

More information:

The Māoriland Film Festival is based in Ōtaki, and runs from the 18th – 22nd of March.

The Māoriland Hub is located at 68 Main Street, Otaki, Kāpiti Coast.

The Māoriland Hub is a home for the Indigenous, a home for the imagination, a home for ideas and conversations – he whare taketake, he whare tapere, he whare kōrero. It is open year-round in the largest building in Ōtaki Village showcasing Indigenous creativity and innovation through film, visual, music and performing arts, technology, kōrero and more.

Thank you to Liquid Studios for supporting contemporary art journalism.
Produced by Aimée Ralfini for Art AcheTM
All rights reserved.

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Art Ache summer 2019/20

Billy Apple Art Ache 2020

The Beauty Around Us.

This years Art Ache Summer campaign features the work of Janet Lilo and Billy Apple. Both artists work have public artworks around the inner city which the campaign reflects.

Art Ache Summer 2019–20.

“This campaign encourages fresh engagement with our urban landscape. Both artists have presented works which connect to their own Public artworks. 

As we go through our daily routines it is easy to blinker out elements of the cityscape that doesn’t directly effect us. Using billboards as a medium to exhibit art gives us the opportunity to manifest a chance encounter beyond expectation, which opens up the mind to the possibility of discovering the magic around us, which we may have previously overlooked.” – Aimee Ralfini, Art Ache.

Lilo’s Artworks can be seen to echo her series Don’t Dream It’s Over – light poles covered in bananas usually positioned along K.rd. Apples work directly references the Billy Apple Compass, a commissioned work by Albert Eden Board created to encourage people to navigate around his artworks in the area. The QR code on the billboard will link directly to the app, and allow anyone participating to have their very own Billy Apple.

Billy Apple established himself as an art brand in 1962. He has had over 250 solo exhibitions and has been curated into more than 250 group shows. Apple has exhibited with Andy Warhol and other pivotal artists associated with the New York and British schools of Pop Art in the 1960’s and Conceptual Art movements in the 1970s. He is considered a pioneer of using neon in art.

Janet Lilo b.1982 (Ngāpuhi, Samoan & Niuean) works in digital video, photography and Installation. Her art practice explores experimental documentary and drawing processes for exhibition, performance and archive. She is interested in documentation as a conversational and social tool for recording time, people and place – often with reference to popular culture.

“I like the sentiments of objects or things. I also like doing, using, appropriating subject matter that is local and global.

Banana’s are everywhere, just like basketball hoops and Michael Jackson. 

The identity of such things is so worldly and I am generally interested in the commonalities rather than differences. I am also very into being a bit playful with my art practice.” – Janet Lilo. Artist.

Art Ache and Digital billboard company LUMO are holding hands. Both share the same core values around the importance of intelligent visual communication.

Art Ache is an artist-centric movement in art communication. It aims to make art and culture part of the everyday conversation in New Zealand. Art Ache believes at the core of every happy healthy society is a strong connection with its cultural ambassadors.

LUMO billboards present the very best in luminance quality and uniformity, true-to-life colour calibration, brilliant contrast and reliability in digital screens in New Zealand. They have real-time capabilities making them New Zealand’s only Smart Billboards. The audience on one billboard alone can reach up to 29,645 on average daily. That’s a lot of people who get to experience art.

More Information

Artist Janet Lilo: Instagram | Artists website
Artist Billy Apple: Wikipedia | Artists website

For press, sponsorship and collaboration enquiries please contact Aimee Ralfini.

Additional Press  The Big Idea

Locations of work: On display 23rd December 2019 – 19th January 2020.
Located on LUMO digital billboards the campaign will be moving around the following locations over the four week period.

27 Beach Road, AKL  |  19 Newton Rd, Grey Lynn  |  10 Mt Eden Rd, Grafton  |  18 Stanley St, Parnell  |  394 New North Rd, Kingsland |  182 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby  |  505 Grey St, Hamilton East.

For further enquiries about the artworks, their locations or the artists in relation to this project, please contact Aimee Ralfini. Special thanks to Kent at LUMO digital.

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Podcast: Denmark Design

Art Ache Denmark Design

Danish Design – Denmark Design

Emma Jameson – Assistant Curator of international and New Zealand historic art for the Auckland Art Gallery and co-ordinating curator to this particular exhibition shares her insight on the subject.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 26.12.19

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

Danish design is renowned for sleek lines, sophistication, and ground-breaking craftsmanship. Denmark Design, currently on at the Auckland Art Gallery is the perfect summer showcase, examining the history of Danish Design Icons, the exhibition presents over 200 original objects – including iconic furniture, fabric, jewellery, ceramics, and toys.

More information:

Denmark Design runs until Sunday 2 February 2020 at the Auckland Art Gallery.

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki is located on the corner of Wellesley and Kitchener Streets. Open every day from 10-5pm except Christmas day

Thank you to Liquid Studios for supporting contemporary art journalism.
Produced by Aimée Ralfini for Art AcheTM
All rights reserved.

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Podcast: Samoa House Library

Samoa House Library Art Ache

Artist Run Spaces – The Samoa House Library.

Kathryn Aucamp reflects on the first year of life for Samoa House Library.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 13.11.19

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

Artist Run Spaces – the indie bands of the Art world. Supernovas of ambition, freedom and idealism. Often created by a collective of Art School grads, they provide a safe space for the next wave of critical thinkers to collide, collaborate and critique.

The organisational team of Samoa House Library emerged from the Save UoA Fine Arts Library campaign in September 2018. It’s been up and running for  almost a year now, Aimée Ralfini checks in with Kathryn Aucamp – one of the volunteers involved in Samoa House Library, to see how is all going.

With ongoing closures of specialist facilities in education – such as the Fine Arts Library, there is a proposition is that the Arts aren’t well treated.

When the Samoa House Library first opened its agenda was clear – in recognising the nature of a library, as a collection of both people and books, and as a space. Its aim was first and foremost act as an alternative Fine Arts Library, but also to function as a place of community development and communal learning through workshops, lectures, screenings and critiques.

Podcasted discussion now playing via Spotify and iTunes

A self-motivated “youth initiative” such as Samoa House Library, is testament to collective progression towards making change and creating a new world. It’s never easy running an artist run space, in its first year Samoa House Library had achieved a myriad of initiatives including Zine Mingle as part of the Auckland Zine Fest and implemented a free, open education program Curriculum – an introductory discussion group that sought to bring together a range of local practitioners engaged with pedagogy in the arts.


Podcasted discussion now playing via Spotify and iTunes
Information on the upcoming Xmas Party on Friday 13th Dec can be found here.

More information:

Samoa House Library is located at Level 2, Samoa House, 283 Karangahape Road, Auckland 1010. New Zealand.
Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Events

Further reading on Save the UoA Fine Arts Library.

Thank you to Liquid Studios for supporting contemporary art journalism.
Produced by Aimée Ralfini for Art AcheTM
All rights reserved.

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The Art of December

The Art of December

Written for Verve Magazine by Aimée Ralfini.

Published 01.12.19

If you’re feeling the need to escape the chaos of consumerism, single use plastic everything and society in general, take some time-out at an art gallery. Gather your thoughts, engage with your intellectual side, challenge your mind or just zone out at the pretty colours. The Art of December is here to help guide you, enjoy.

Although many galleries are closed in January, they will all be open leading up to Christmas. Post December, all the majors will be open for business as usual and are an excellent way to enjoy a day with family, or just take some wellness time for your soul. Here are some suggestions for your Dec–Jan art calendar.

There’s always so much to see at Auckland Art Gallery. The beautiful work of Louise Henderson ‘From Life’ and international exhibition ‘Denmark Design’ are but a few on display over the holiday period.

Holiday closing times: Dec 25th.

In the heart of Auckland’s art district of Karangahape Road you’ll find Melanie Roger Gallery, well known for its stable of exciting contemporary artists. This December the gallery exhibits its summer group show Ice Cream Salad – opening Dec 11th.

Holiday closing times: Dec 22nd – Jan 29th.

Right at the top of Ponsonby Road resides Endemicworld. With mainly print editions and some originals available, it’s an excellent place to find a visual treat for under $500.00.

Holiday closing times: Dec 25th, 26th and 30th. Reopening Jan 3rd.

Auckland’s fashion district – Newmarket, houses Sanderson Contemporary, a gallery which boasts a range of New Zealand artists well worth investing in. So, if you find yourself shopping in the area, put some time aside to pop in. Their Summer Showcase with multiple artists is currently on display.

Holiday closing times from Dec 25th – Jan 6th.

The Pah Homestead hosts a changing program of contemporary art exhibitions from the Wallace Arts Trust Collection as well as additional curated shows. With a wide range of art events including exhibition openings, talks, musical performances, community activities and café, there is always something on for the whole family to enjoy.

Holiday closing times: Dec 25th, 26th 30th. and Jan 1st and 2nd.

Belinda Griffiths Art Ache
Belinda Griffiths. Courtesy of Eden Arts and Wallace Arts Trust.


Verve is Auckland’s free lifestyle magazine. It’s a feast of local news & events, personalities, fashion, food, health & beauty, entertainment, travel, real estate and much more. Online publication.

To submit your art event for consideration please email us!

Widget image credit: Louise Henderson, January. Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery.

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Podcast: Juliette Hogan

Art Ache Juliette Hogan

The art of Juliette

Unraveling the core creative behind fashion designer Juliette Hogan’s work, the artists she works with and the heritage that has made her the woman she is today.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 22.10.19

Podcast now playing via Spotify and iTunes

Juliette Hogan’s is a name synonymous with stream-lined contemporary women’s wear. The brand has been established for over 12 years now. With her first store opening in Ponsonby, Auckland in 2007. But did you know, Juliette initially trained in textile design, a love of which plays a key role in the creative development of her lines every season.

Listen to the podcast via Spotify and iTunes

We often separate creative outputs, sculpture from photography, sound from painting, and in the wider creative industries, we compartmentalize artists into industry; Musicians, Fashion, Artisan.

It’s part of our human condition to box and categorize, in an attempt to make order from chaos.

Interestingly social media plays an enormous part in blurring these boundaries when a painting is fed to us on the same pixelated surface space as a photograph of an installation, our engagement with the artwork aligns.

A crossover too often ignored is between textile, print and fashion design. Textile is a discipline in itself, and when presented via functioning items of clothing, it becomes an incredible mechanism for storytelling.

Listen to the podcasted interview with Juliette via Art Aches Spotify or iTunes.

Details of discussion:

The imagery presented here is documented composites of Juliette Hogans High Summer line 2019-2020. Available in stores now.

The bespoke textile and Print design discussed was created for Amisfield winery in Queenstown – a delightful place to spend an afternoon. The launch for this new uniform design is scheduled for late November 2019.

More information:

Juliette Hogans Website:
Thank you to Liquid Studios for supporting contemporary art journalism.
Thank you to Anthem for sponsoring this podcast – helping you find your strongest voice.
Produced by Aimée Ralfini for Art AcheTM
All rights reserved.

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Podcast: Dane Mitchell

Dane Mitchell

Post Hoc, 2019. Artist Dane Mitchell.

New Zealand National Pavilion, Biennale Arte, Venice, Italy.

Recorded live for Art Ache – 13.08.19

Podcast link HERE.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

What if it’s a cell-tower disguised as a tree?

In Venice, Italy…

Known as the Olympics of art, the Venice Biennale is pretty much the ‘top’ for artists. New Zealand’s 2019 representative is Dane Mitchell, whose project delivers cryptic lists of the vanished, the lost, or the destroyed.

Mitchell’s work broadcasts a vast inventory of bygone things to locations throughout the
city via fake tree cell towers, providing smartphone access via hotspot which you can hear the lists.

At the Palazzina Canonica – the epi-center of the work, scrolling lengths of paper lists emerge from a printer placed high upon a structural frame, they cascade down settling in ripples on the floor, forming an elegantly minimal installation of all that which has been lost.

Dane Mitchell produces artworks and spatial experiences that investigate how systems of knowledge are constructed and practically applied.

He is known for intellectually agile work that isn’t immediately obvious or readable.

Through his practice, Mitchell tests how human beliefs and convictions exist in spaces between logic and perception. Operating on the threshold of logic, his work supports the existence of uncertainty, or instability, within rational understanding.

Listen to the podcasted interview via Art Aches Spotify.

Details of work:

Post Hoc, by Dane Mitchell.
The Palazzina Canonica, Riva dei Sette Martiri, and surrounding locations, Venice, Italy.
On until November 24th 2019.
For more information go to

More information:

Artists website: Dane Mitchell
Interview by Aimée Ralfini
Thank you to Liquid Studios for supporting contemporary art journalism
Produced by Kelly Carmichael for Art AcheTM
All rights reserved.