Shane Hansen likes a strong, clean line. His creations spring from a world of bold colours and optimistic clarity, a pop-art invitation to a feel-good New Zealand celebration. Shane is of Maori, Chinese, Danish and Scottish descent, which is reflected in his art as he navigates his way on a journey of cultural discovery and self acceptance. He describes his work as his therapy, kai for the mind and soul.
‘My mahi is my way of connecting with those around me. I am lifted by the positivity that comes from those wanting to connect with myself and my mahi.’
Shane started his career as a self-taught fashion designer, setting up his own label at the age of 19, then going on to work for labels such as Canterbury International and Town & Country Surf Designs. His flair for fashion is evident in his work, through beautiful flowing lines and the use of tactile textures. ‘I want people to engage with my work in more than one way. I want them to touch it and smell it, as well as view it. By doing this they feel more connected to the piece and feel a sense of familiarity with it.’ Shane works in many mediums such as wood, glass and metal which he sees as a reflection of his multi-cultural make-up. He mainly paints on plywood as the grains, knots and blemishes have a history, tell a story and bring a special depth to his work. ‘The detail of my mahi, is in it’s simplicity. Keeping details to a minimum to achieve an image of high impact, depth and meaning, is a challenge, but I feel the work is stronger because of it. The term less is more, is definitely the case with my work and it doesn’t mean it is less meaningful.’ In 2010 Shane was selected along with 5 other Maori artists to provide authentic maori designs to be used for the Rugby World Cup 2011. His designs are being marketed and sold worldwide in the build-up to and during the RWC 2011. He sees this as an amazing opportunity to promote Aotearoa and his maori heritage to a global audience. ‘An artist is what I am. It’s taken me a few years to get here, but now I have arrived. My journey has just begun and I want others to come with me. I love doing what I do, I love being who I am. My family is my life and so is my art. I will do this till the day I die…or chop my hands off with the skill saw!’