Ex-Otamatea High School student Kohl Tyler-Dunshea is making it big in the New Zealand art scene. She gained first place in the 2017 Estuary Art and Ecology Art Awards, with her installation ‘Offerings’ and collaborated with New Zealand shoe company Merchant1948, with their spring/summer collection.
Kohl studied at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She said winning the award felt “incredible, it is my first year out of art school so winning a prize like that was a very big confidence boost.
“Growing up in a rural town, Paparoa, encouraged me to venture outside and make my own fun. It encouraged me to look at the environment and create work about what I found.”
Her work often revolves around themes of ecology, globalism and relational aesthetics. “Ecology is deeply important to me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop making work that doesn’t lead back to working with and protecting the biosphere. I feel It gives my artwork purpose, which I find rewarding.
“I think that’s why I wanted to be an artist, I want to share ideas, to make things, and add to important conversations within our culture.”
Her advice to aspiring artists is “find out what you are passionate about and master it. A career in the arts is a lifelong commitment so spend time building your reputation and that will pay off eventually. Also be ambitious!”