We are super stoked to have the K Road legend and print enthusiast Chris Hutchinson (aka Chippy) working on our July artwork. Chris is an active and busy guy within the local art, illustration and print scene. If you don’t know him by name, there’s a high chance you’ve been to an event he has produced or seen his work plastered around town.
Founding Inky Palms in 2015 with his two friends, Chris continues to co-direct the space today with his partner Cait Johnson. When he’s not collaborating with the likes of The Grow Room, Blunt Umbrellas and Phantom, he’ll be at Inky Palms working on his solo projects and commissions, along with preparing for any upcoming zine festivals or events.
Hey Chippy, How are you enjoying your day?
Hello! It’s a bit of a rainy Sunday today. This morning I went down to the Grey Lynn Farmers Market and had coffee with some friends and then spent the rest of the day milling around at home.
You are currently in the process of leaving your day job and launching into full-time freelance life. What prompted you to do this?
Yeah so I worked at this print shop in town for a couple years after Uni but I was able to quit that recently because I got a part-time job assisting local artist Hayley King aka Flox in her studio. So it means I have most of my own time now to be at my studio working on my artwork or on illustration commissions. I’ve been doing freelance stuff at night or on the weekends for the last few years now so I feel like the only way for me to grow and take my practice to the next level is to really dedicate some time and energy to it.
I guess that leap is something a lot of people don’t get to do, want to do or are not sure how to go about it. How did you know the time was right for you?
Recently I’ve been getting enough commissions from people that it just made sense to start to take the metaphorical ‘training wheels’ off. I’m also looking towards putting together my first solo exhibition later in 2018 so I’ll need a lot of my own time to do so. Hopefully I can build up enough momentum to stay freelancing but we’ll just have to see how it goes!
You have been working hard the last few years since finishing your studies. As one of the founders of Inky Palms, can you tell us a bit about how that started?
Yeah I co-founded Inky at the start of 2015 with a my mates Dirk and Oli during our final year of Uni. So our friend Hannah-Lee used to run the 203H boutique out of the space we’re in. She was moving to Berlin and needed to pass the space on. We had already been putting on a few exhibitions/workshops for a couple years by that point at spaces like YES Collective (now defunct) and so when the opportunity arose to have our own space we jumped at it.
Inky Palms has evolved quite heavily, changed residents and moved in a different direction since launching. If you were to summarise what Inky Palms is today - how would you describe it?
Yeah in the first year when I was running Inky with Dirk and Oli we were operating the space more like a gallery/venue with exhibitions every second week and even the Inky Waves rave series. It was all super fun but quite exhausting to maintain on top of a day job/University.
After the first year those two went on to pursue other creative endeavours and I began to direct the space with my partner Cait Johnson. We were able to slow down by not doing so many events and focussing on using the space to support the local independent publishing scene by hosting workshops and using our Risograph printer to make zines, artist books, posters and other printed matter for ourselves and other local creatives. It became more of a space to print/draw/make rather than to show....
These days Inky is primarily a working studio for our resident artists that include Toni Gill, Jed Richardson, Toby Morris and Renee Jacobi. On occasion, we still do Riso printing for artists and host workshops. I’m sure Inky will continue to morph and develop but in general, it just remains to be a space to get yee palms dirty and just make some stuff!!
Inky Palms and yourself are hosting a stall at the Nippy Zippy Zine Fair at the upcoming First Thursday event. How often are you involved in art and print orientated events?
I’m pretty active amongst the zine and artist publishing scene here in Auckland, it seems like something always pops up every couple months, its real fun. Always familiar faces and people are constantly producing awesome work. In the past year we’ve had the Jive Print Fair, the Indie Book Fair, Summer Zinefest and the Winter Art Book Fair. Make sure y’all come through to the Nippy Zippy it’s gonna be cozy and Auckland Zinefest is not far away either!
As a solo artist, what have been some of your favourite projects to date?
Probably my artwork for The Grow Room last year. I admire the work that those people do and I was given a lot of creative freedom. It was awesome to see my work roll out across cassette tapes, digital platforms and t-shirts etc. Also I had heaps of fun working on my group exhibition Acrylic Air Freshener at Monster Valley last year with Toni, Jed and Smiddy. Thirdly, I really enjoyed working on the collaborative Paper Paste-up Paradise mural with the girls from Jive Prints. It was made up of around 1,400 Riso printed A3 posters which we pasted onto a 50 metre wall outside the Library. It made midtown Auckland look super colourful for once. We got heaps of positive feedback from that and it was fun as working in public and talking to heaps of randoms who liked our art.
Launching into your new freelance life, where do you hope to take your work in 2018?
Hopefully this exhibition I’m working towards ends up going smoothly! I’d love to start going bigger and painting murals and hopefully get some cool illustration jobs doing packaging and other products.
Locally and internationally, what artists, designers and creatives do you admire?
There are so many people to admire these days but I think in particular my boss Flox is doing so well living off of her passion in Auckland city. Some of my favourites internationally are Misaki Kawai, Kate Moross, Stefan Marx, Luke Pelletier, Atelier Bingo and a million others.
It would be sick to do some toys for Kidrobot.
Best thing you have seen on the internet this week?
Follow fruit_stickers on IG.
Top five tracks to paint/draw to?
Three artists you would give anything to see perform live?
Yaeji, Toro y Moi, Bjork.