Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Mixed media on board


Mixed media on board

Valley Girls

Mixed media on board

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Semi-fresh Press

Interview in Issue 3 of Collectif Magazine. Q & A via email.

What is paradise to you?

I find the idea of paradise to be slightly problematic.  Something about the notion suggests to me an end-state or a static environment that I'm not entirely happy with. Perhaps the etymology of the word 'paradise,' meaning a walled enclosure has something to do with my discomfort with the term. For sure, paradise might be a remarkably pleasant place but it is one that is inherently bounded. If all your dreams come true, what are you going to dream of?

Jumping over the semantic issues, if you allow a rephrasing the question into one of a Utopian vision then instantly the answer is the dissolution of all walls and barriers. The place I'd really want to be living in all the time is pretty much what we have now, negotiated through some kind of political philosophy of Anarcho-communism.  I'm favor a global non-hierarchical society of networked individual communities with the means of production placed collectively in the hands of those communities. Throw in there an abolition of the money system, free exchange of all ideas, and a renegotiation of religion into a collective investigation of metaphysics and things start getting warmed up. In an ideal form, we're also talking about maintaining the technology of contemporary civilization removed from the pathology of contemporary civilization. 

It's the kind of project however that requires a lot of hard work both individually and collectively, and that work will never stop. But that's the central idea: the paradisiacal destination as a constant journey.

That's my little imagined happy-place anyway.

What colour is your hair?


Skulls seam to be very prominent in your work, why?

When I was living in Wellington a friend who was a musician and also a  painter saw a couple of paintings in my studio that incorporated a skull motif. In his own work he had been using skull and skeleton imagery pretty much exclusively for quite sometime. He challenged me to a race to see who could be the first to paint 1000 skulls. It seemed a fine enough idea to me at the time, so I started working more with the skull as the central subject of my work. The idea of the race was soon forgotten however, and we've lost touch since then, but I continued to use the skull in my work and found it to be an interesting tool in accessing the peculiar world of culture.

Formally I discovered the icon of the skull to be an really useful hook on which to hang the more experimental side of my practice, which is exploring the inherently expressive material qualities of the paint itself. With the skull the question of subject was immediately resolved and work almost became about the pure process of painting.

There is an essentialness to the skull image that occupies a very particular area of culture in that is emblematic of the central drama of the human experience, individually and as a species. I tend to believe that the core factor that makes the human animal distinct and peculiar is our awareness of our own existence which is inexorably linked to a consciousness of the finitude of this experience. Being aware that you are comes at the price of knowing that one day you will not be, and the image of the skull - a human form only truly presentable in death and rendered from the transient flesh - is an eternal reminder of that.

To a certain extent, the relationship that image of the skull has to what it means to be human has led to it becoming a grossly overdetermined signifier. There is a tackiness to the skull that is fun to play with because even in tackiness the image carries a weight. Take, for example, the skull as the emblem of the outlaw that found it's prime realization in the Jolly Roger of the classic pirate. My contention is that the embracing of this image as rebellion is a defiance in the form of determinedly living in the face of death. The rebel's liberty is activated by the acceptance of their inevitable demise.

To go a little deeper, to me the skull works as a kind of logographic for Martin Heidigger's notion of Dasein; a human entity directly engaged with the nature of its own being, phenomenally bound by time. I believe strongly in the existential freedom posited by embracing rather than fleeing from the unavoidable fact of one's own finite situation. The image of the skull is fucking fascinating way of exploring and reifying the terrible beauty of that freedom.

To me the skull is an expedient tool of my practice and yet even I can't step from its shadow.

What does each day involve for you?

Waking up in the morning is really the worst thing that can ever happen to you in a day. It's an event that tends to hit me with all the terror and anxiety of being shot out a cannon aimed a brick wall. Though, once I've gotten over this recurring shock of the new I know that the day can only get better from there. Drinking quite a bit of coffee helps.

None Gallery (, where I have my studio, is a collective artist-run project space, and the majority of my day is generally split between working on my own projects and helping to maintain the space. This generally involves liaising with the artists who show here and keeping our online archives up to date, through to fixing broken stuff around the building and just plain old sweeping and cleaning. There are seven people involved here full time, a mix of artists and musicians, so it's fairly social space to be involved in and most days pass as pleasantly as they do productively.

Occupying most of my time at the moment is helping to organize a fundraising art auction for None's neighbor and compatriot Glue Gallery (check out for their current project). Amongst this I'm managing to slowly work on some new paintings and do a couple of music projects.
We all have an imagination, what does yours consist of?

Generally it approaches me as a shifting palimpsest of images, sounds, and in particular chunks of words. Forever amorphous and impossible to itemize and catalogue I can only wildly grab bits out and try to do something with them. Somehow, however, it sort of makes sense to me.

What inspires you as an artist?

Necessity, intuition, synchronicity, volition, memory, transformation, identity, redemption, community, fermentation, possibility, distillation, and the wonderful malleability of reality.

Where were you born?

Hastings Memorial Hospital. As good a place as any for it I suppose, not that I had that much input in the decision.
What are you parent’s names?

I call them Mum and Dad.

How would you describe your work?

An expression of ontological skepticism and an investigation into the generation of meaning.

What were you doing at the age of 18?

I was unemployed with a trench coat and a funny haircut, drawing a lot and not sleeping very much.

If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be?

Arturo Belano.

Do you have any animals?

Unfortunately my life has no space for animals right now. I live in a warehouse flat in fiscal uncertainty while still harboring some ambitions for travel. If I ever did find myself sticking around an appropriate piece of land for long enough I'd like to take care of a dog and maybe a couple of goats. Pygmy goats. Pygmy goats are fucking cute.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grvdgr Pnk

A recently rediscovered lost artifact, Pnk was a limited edition EP released as part of an exhibition with Erin Templeton at Thistle Hall, Wellington, New Zealand, 2006. Not too sure what I was thinking when I put that Aleister Crowley sample in there but I'm sure it must've seemed hilarious at the time.

Pnk by BrendanJon

Friday, June 8, 2012


Brendan Jon Philip Necronomicon Glue Gallery

Upon entering Brendan Jon Philip̈́'s Necronomicon I felt magneticized by the room's chaotic ambience, which offered a poignant study of the process of painting. Featuring a selection of paintings and small sculptures, Necronomicon sharply reminds us of own mortality and physical decay, through the repeated motif of the skull. The image of the skull pertains multiple connotations and Philip's works references his exploration of the associtaions which linger in use of such iconography. The title of the show Necronomicon takes its name from the famous fictional grimorie of forbidden lore and magical rites by horror and science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft in 1924. When translated from greek it means "an image of the law of the dead".

Engrained within each of the pictorial planes was the presence of chaos, yet this chaos was always subdued an threatened by a sense of order. Each work appears tactile and abstractive, with ghost-like traces of form suggesting a balance between such opposites. Babel (2012) submerges the eye's gaze into a map of his reductive process of painting. Babel is both an aggressive an soft painting, yet as much as it tries to cover its traces it also reveals its past. There are traces of form hidden beneath a cyclonic assault of paint to uncover a disquieting abstractive work. One could spend hours searching through its layers which are overlaid in part by a varnished quicentro of paint and the appearance of untouched canvas. Time (takes a cigarette) (2012) highlights the confrontational treatment of paint, as disparate strands of bright colour smear the surface of a skull. The skull is formed in a manner which suggests both a correlation between the space in which it was created, None gallery, and the non-space in which it occupies, the Glue gallery space. Both building's are victims of Dunedin's urban decay and yet also function as building's being renewed again by purpose, as factories of creation, which are designed to interact with the community. The fluidity of Glue's space means the works are unable to be avoided, yet each work warrants endless absorbtion. Although many work through the space to access other areas of the building, each work in Necronomicom commands attention and the space in which it lies undermines the museological model of the curation and viewing of art.

Each of the found canvases were painted vertically, enabling the development of Philip's process of chance to be fostered. The trial and error process by which he works is informed by Philip's interest in relational dialectic theory and process. Relational dialectic theory is a communication pattern with an unceasing interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies, such as guitar feedback. For in guitar feedback the sound unexpectedly moulds together in discordant vibrations. This perfectly describes Philips' process, yet his work is also innately a by-product of gravity. The reality of gravity means that while Phillips' shapes the paint to the edge of the surface, painting vertically allows for the shape of the paint to become something unexpected. This results in the dripping of paint. Using a tool kit of pastels, acrylic, turps, pencil and sometimes varnish Philips' works on as many as several at a time. This heavy production level means that some works are rich and tactile, while others remain seemingly ghostly and minimal, yet all appear effortlessly polished and thoughtfully rendered. Monsterism (2012) and The Divine invasion (2012) feature menacing animals, which would sleep in our nightmares. Monsterism is reminiscent of Rohan Whellans' He with Glands of Wasp (2009), which featured in the recent The Obstinate object contemporary New Zealand sculpture show at City Gallery. It also recalls Francis Bacon' s Pope I – Study after Pope Innocent X by Velázquez (1951).

Such a fixation upon morbid iconography, at such a high level of production, signals a liberation from the exhaustive, meditative and philosophical act of painting. The repeated use of the skulls harbours the sensation of decay and mortality. The sensational affects from such an experience affects the way we view our own flesh. This was most potently gestured in each of the shrunken neolithic skulls, carved from jibstop. In the centre of space rested a plated display of these skulls, displayed appetizingly like little cakes on a chopping board. Never was the presence of death so ardently felt.

Hana Aoake

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Mixed media on board, 57x43cm.

Three Witches

Mixed media on paper, 134 x 220cm.

The Dvine Invasion

Mixed media on paper, 48x108cm.


Plaster, dimensions variable.


Mixed media on paper, 134 x 220cm.

Lost Oso (Orange Bears)

Mixed media on paper, 134 x 220cm.


Mixed media on board, 51cm diameter.


Mixed media on paper, 134 x 220cm.

All Worlds

Mixed media on board, 56cm diameter.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


"To study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die.”
- Cicero

The art of Brendan Jon Philip begins with disaster and moves from there. Imagery meets with catastrophe and signifying cues are multiplied, layered and distorted; the signal is overwhelmed by noise until noise becomes new signal.

This collection of recent work continues the narrative of dissolution and dissonance as an impetus of liberation that has become characteristic of Brendan's practice. Anchoring the jump-cut semiotics at play in these works, the human skull serves as a leitmotif that weaves its way through the show like an unruly ghost.

The skull as a recurring element, speaks to the transience of human existence though the art- historical context of vanitas while also evoking contemporary iterations as an icon of punk and heavy metal subcultures, among others. In the marginalized spaces occupied by such subcultures, and impelled by the urgency engendered by our mortally finite situation there is an opportunity for experimentation and emphasis on immediacy of experience that informs new modes of expression. Thus the skull becomes an iconographic key to opening new aesthetic and ideological territories.

Building from this core is a dense and assaulting treatment of color, a phosphene burn against darkness that finds these works shaping dissonance into an intuitive personalized aesthetic of association surrounding a primal hook. The result is a palimpsest of historicized subcultures, psychedelic rock, comic book psychologies, science fiction ontologies, and touching upon geopolitical expressions of dissent and resistance reminding us that the evanescence of life is it's greatest affirmation.

Brendan Jon Philip studied at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design and Elam School of Fine Arts, as well as receiving distinction in Film and Media Studies at the University of Otago. He has been a practicing artist engaged with experimental aesthetics through a variety of projects, spaces, and media in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Manufactured for the exhibition 'noneDNA'

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012




Mixed media on paper


Mixed media on paper

Monday, March 26, 2012

Halloween 1

Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, 21x30cm

Friday, March 23, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012


Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.


Oil Pastel on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.


Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.


Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.


Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.

Orbis Tertius

Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.


Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.

Evil Bunny

Mixed Media on Builder's Paper, 134 x 220cm.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

House Stark

Mixed media on paper

Friday, February 10, 2012

Time Takes a Cigarette...

New Work on Old Themes
24 - 26 Feb @ none: 24 Stafford St, Dunedin. (
Opening: Feb 23, 6PM.

Come early, come often, bring cash.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Mixed media on paper


Mixed media on paper

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Occasionally Updated Photogrpahs

Flickr page.

Currently full of South East Asia and probly will be for a while.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One Painting from South East Asia

Acrylic and oil pastel on rice paper salvaged from a used Loi Krathong lantern.