Tristan Marler is a multi-disciplinary Artist who is formally trained in Whakairo Rākau (traditional wood carving) and specialises in Tā Moko, Blackwork, Dotwork and Patterning. We have got some new work from Tristan so figured it was the perfect time to get to know him & what inspires his practise a little better.
What do you make/art practice?
I am trained in Whakairo Rākau (traditional wood carving) and have also been working as a Tā Moko artist for the past 5 years. Outside of working I am passionate about making prints and paintings using traditional Kōwhaiwhai, Tāniko and Tukutuku patterns.
I love the way geometric patterns fit in grids, just as weavers use the warp and weft to create patterns, I design my prints and tattoo designs using a computer.
What does a normal day look like for you?
My day starts early with exercise. I am at my most creative in the morning and this is when I do all my drawing. My day is usually filled with tattooing and in the evening just as i’m falling asleep I let new ideas come to me.
How did it all begin - where did this passion for art?
My passion for making art was cultivated by my parents who are both architects and artists. I became passionate about carving through learning about Tāonga Pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments). During my study of carving, weaving and as I started to get tattooed I became interested in Tā Moko.
Where do you find inspiration as an Artist come from?
I am inspired my Toi Māori, I love visiting museums and poring over the collections and artefacts. It never ceases to amaze me how skilled our Tūpuna were at creating beautiful objects from purely natural sources.
What do you love most about working & living in Aotearoa?
I love it how we’re so connected here. I love being close to my family and being able to escape the hustle and bustle of the city so easily.
How has your artwork change over time?
My art practice is ever evolving and the further I go the more I draw on history and pre-european Māori art for inspiration. It’s both fascinating to think about an artists role in those societies would have been and tragic that so much of our knowledge was lost.
How has the social media and the internet affected your artwork?
The digital space is both a blessing and a curse. In terms of opening artists to audiences around the world it’s incredible. I also save a lot more time and make less waste drawing on a computer than when I was using paper. The downside is that I miss working with my hands more to create free flowing patterns so I imagine part of my practice will move back to that in future.
What is your studio/creative space like?
I work at Sunset Tattoo in the centre of Auckland city. It’s a busy studio with a range of artists from different backgrounds and who all have different styles of tattooing. Everyone gets along really well and we all inspire and challenge each other to be better artists. It really is a dream place to work because it never feels like i’m working.
What drew you to working with The Poi Room?
I was drawn to The Poi Room because of the wide range of Māori art they deal in.
Describe your relationship with The Poi Room & how our values fit with your business?
Melanie-Jane and Clayton are such lovely people to deal with and have really made me feel welcome as an artists being represented by The Poi Room. I love how they push Toi Māori and represent it’s true value when so many businesses are ruining it by selling cheap souvenirs made in factories.