Documentary Video review - Rei Hamon

Rei Hamon - Man of Nature. DVD Documentary 2009 KOG TV in association with Maori television &NZ On Air I had come across Rei Hamon’s art before briefly and already then thought it was amazing. What made me admire his work, besides the fact that it is is mostly plant based, was the detail in the drawings. All this detail was achieved through the simple process of pointillism. Having just watched a video documentary on his life, I realize that many of his drawings were fictional, the detail was real, but the overall composition of the details together are mostly fictional. Hamon came to art through a back accident, after having worked int he forestry and on the roads. His exceptional detailed knowledge of the bush enabled him to create these drawings. This video was a delight to watch for me as I was watching both an artist at work and a man who was passionate about the bush, our natural environment. In fact he was so passionate that, together with his brothers, he managed to have a large portion of the Coromandel declared a national heritage. This action alone has admiration from me. There were a coupe of quotes that I found either inspirational or resonated with me from this video: “The really good artist educates our eye, we look at things in a slightly different way after we have looked at their pictures” TJ McNamara This statement is so simple, but so true. A good work can make you rethink the world, whether natural or otherwise. Isn’t that one of the joys as artist,is to have this ability to make people view their world slightly different once they have seen your work.   “An artist is a person who can express their most inner thoughts & feelings into a form that others can appreciate and understand” - Ross Jennings As artist we are always putting ourselves into our work, it is one of the things I do struggle with at times. To display a passion you may have for something, means putting a piece of your soul/yourself into the work. This can lead to feeling vulnerable - I feel that often. I am starting to learn to disassociate myself a little from the work once it goes out into the world. (This world my only be a few friends). Listening to their interpretations and comments takes a certain mindset I find, as my inner thoughts and feelings may not be theirs or obvious to them.   Rei had a feeling and a connection to the natural world, a oneness with nature, this was brought out through his art and strengthened by his maori side. As a person who has a deep affection for the natural world I can really appreciate that. And  being married to a Maori from Taumarunui (Ngati Haua) for 30 years, and experiencing some of his (& his extended families) approach to the natural world, I can only begin to imagine how strong this connection must have been for Hamon. There are times I would love to take myself back in time to experience their closeness to the natural world, to experience that deep understanding and relating.   ‘When you are hungry for something you go looking for that, this hunger can be for food, but can also be for a feeling, a connection.’ This quote I found very relevant to me, as my first career was in landscape design, but I often did some sort of night school art course over the years. I had a hunger that I was trying to satisfy. Many times this was the case, when I was involved in creating stands at the Ellerslie Flower show. These creative and collaborative projects satisfied this hunger while I was teaching. It has been interesting to become a student again at an older age, the difference in approach and desire to learn is huge (no silly teenage hormones to deal with or social pub nights to recover from!!).   Rei saw the beauty in the small things in nature - he is a man after my own heart. It is great to learn there are more people out there who see this beauty, the small things that are often over looked.

Posted by Elle Anderson

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