We are so pleased to welcome Tess Costil to our galleries so we thought it was the perfect time to find a little more about Costil and her practice as a young New Zealand artist.


What do you make/art practise? 

I create digital collage prints that touch on the world of surrealism and forge an interplay between dreams and reality. Characterized by bold colours and pictorial representations the compositions calmly bend the laws of nature, displaying whimsical creates and botanicals together. The energetic works often hint at deeper meanings which can be unveiled though captions which are paired alongside. Both explosive and playful, my prints aim at inserting magic into the mundane, provoking imagination and providing a brief escape from reality.
What are your creative goals for 2020? 

In 2020 I want to use my overseas experiences as inspiration to elevate my work, by bringing more depth and intricacy to my art. I also want to increase my exposure through different platforms and I am going to be featured in a book about creative New Zealand women that will be released later this year. I am excited to be represented by the Poi Room.

Right Image Credit : Ann Orman

What does a normal day look like for you? 

Busy! I’m up early battling the London underground at rush hour to get to the studio. Once I’m there it’s a full day of graphic design work and on a normal night home after 7pm. Luckily, I find it easy in the evenings to tap into my creativity, and when inspired I can work for hours and hours without stopping. I find it refreshing to be able to express myself freely and just play around at the end of a day.
How did it all begin – where did this passion for creating prints come from? 

Collage art has always interested me. I think bringing different influences together and making something new is often what the creative act is all about. Being able to collect, cut, edit and paste together different images and meanings to create something unique is exciting. I enjoy being able to respond to images and see where they take me, not having an objective when I start a piece is liberating and a nice contrast to my graphic design work. I also find crafting composition and creating prints calming, it began as a therapeutic act in the midst of a traumatic injury I acquired in high school but has evolved into something a lot bigger and more exhilarating since then!
Where do you find inspiration as an artist? 

I find inspiration from the world around me, frequently drawing on my own experiences to inform my works. If I’ve stopped for a while and find it hard to get the rhythm back returning to nature always helps.
What are you currently doing in London? 

I’m working as a junior designer after winning the international Sir Winston Churchill / Pol Roger champagne gift box design competition.
How has your artwork changed over time? 

A lot of what I do is re-purpose old imagery. I use photography to bring it back to life and re-pack it in a modern, unique and totally different way, where it blurs the boundaries between fiction and reality. The experience of living abroad both in Cologne and London has helped me reconceptualise myself and my work and has influenced the change of themes present in my art. I haven’t been making art for long so I’m excited to see how I will evolve and what new directions I will take moving forward.


How / has the digital space affected your artwork? 

I was never great with traditional media, I enjoyed it growing up, but I later found creating in the digital space more exciting. On the computer I’m able to easily explore a variety of solutions and make work I am proud of. It’s a space where I can arrange my thoughts and find order in the chaos. I have access to an entire world of stock imagery and am able to quickly, play, manipulate and construct pieces. I’m continually moving things around almost like trying to solve a puzzle I deconstruct images and re assemble them. I find the digital space more forgiving, I can make mistakes, back track, test and try without any commitment. When I eventually see these creations appear in the real world it’s really satisfying.
What is your studio/creative space like? 

My laptop, and wherever I am with it.
What drew you to working with The Poi Room? 

Melanie-Jane and Clayton, after meeting them I instantly knew The Poi Room was the perfect fit. It’s clear to see their passion and how they value each and every one of their artists. It’s the people behind it that make the gallery so wonderful, and my art is right at home in their gorgeous stores.
Describe your relationship with The Poi Room and how our values fit with your business?

It’s a relationship I really value. I feel lucky to have so much support and understanding from The Poi Room. It’s easy to see their integrity and how much they really care about showcasing New Zealand art. I’m grateful for their enthusiasm and positivity, our values perfectly align.