Rocking the Art World |

Kirsten Cooper, Bachelor of Arts and Media student, with her work


Kirsten Cooper, Bachelor of Arts and Media student, with her first prize winning work “Erratic Boulders – Out of Place” at BAM2021, on display at the G Block and the G-Space Gallery at the Nelson Campus of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

Three years ago, Nelson’s wife Kirsten Cooper knew nothing about painting, but now she has won an award for excellence and is venturing out as a visual artist.

Cooper received the Jens Hansen Gold and Silversmith Excellence Award for BAM2021, the Bachelor of Arts and Media student end-of-year exhibition at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

His work, entitled Erratic blocks – Out of place, is a collection of graphic paintings and engravings inspired by geomorphology or rocks and boulders.

The life of a visual artist is a far cry from her journey, which began in the sciences when she obtained a degree in zoology and ecology and then worked in the television industry.

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In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cooper was a screenwriter for the longtime soap opera Shortland Street, and for the past 16 years he has worked on Rural Delivery, first as a producer and now in as principal investigator and director.

Her change from an arts student – which she did while working on Rural Delivery – came after Cooper and his family moved from Auckland to Nelson three years ago. She had always wanted to study art.

“I didn’t know anything about painting when I started at NMIT,” she said.

Hand painted two-dimensional shapes in Cooper's work “Erratic Boulders - Out of Place”.


Hand painted two-dimensional shapes in Cooper’s work “Erratic Boulders – Out of Place”.

Although she originally signed up for a one-year arts degree only, she enjoyed it so much that she stayed and completed the three-year Media Arts Bachelor program.

His work Erratic blocks – Out of place was the highlight of being challenged to look at things around her differently and explore what color, shape and line do, Cooper said.

Her interest in the environment had led her to explore geology and, as an avid walker, she had hiked the Heaphy Track and Cobb Valley, which had influenced her exhibition work. Cobb Valley was an “extraordinary” area for people interested in rocks and fossils, she said.

“It was really inspiring for the work I was doing.”

The series includes hand painted works and graphic prints. The 15 paints are largely acrylic on plywood, the paint being applied to a paper called Rockstock, which is made from crushed stone waste. All six engravings are laser engraved in Perspex.

Cooper's laser engravings on Perspex.


Cooper’s laser engravings on Perspex.

One of the pieces has an augmented reality look where people can access an app on their cellphones that brings the work to life, Cooper said.

She hoped to continue her graphics and painting, while continuing to work on Rural Delivery.

“I think anyone who works in the creative arts needs to have more than one string to their bow,” she said.

In addition to winning the Award of Excellence, Cooper was also one of three recipients of the Nelson Suter Art Society’s Distinction Award for BAM2021, which would provide him with an exhibition opportunity next year, he said. she declared.

Cooper was delighted to have won the award of excellence.

“I was extraordinarily surprised but really grateful. I feel very proud, ”she said.

“As someone who started out with the intention of trying this for a year and ended up staying for three years, it has been personally and pedagogically rewarding.”

BAM2021 is on display through December 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at the G Block and G-Space Gallery of NMIT in Nile St, Nelson.

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