Recent article in Art Zone issue 92 Spring 2022 by Hannah Mahon

A Jellytip wrapper is a find for Jay Hutchinson. For the artist trash is fine art. He began to notice discarded stuff, and was “drawn to the colour and the nostalgic relationship I have with the products.” ‘Embroiderer/graffiti artist Hutchinson wants his work to encourage other people to pay more more attention to their environment.

His work explores “urban environments, brand nostalgia, mass consumption and the decaying environment.” His embroideries brings together a mix of textiles, including sewing silk, cotton drill cloth, and urban materials such as tarmac slabs, steel, and concrete, to illustrate pieces of trash found around cities. Hutchinson says, “I don’t embroider every piece that I pick up; however I do try to pick up every piece that I come across, much to my wife’s dismay.”

Hutchinson originally went to art school to paint graffiti on big canvases, but after being nudged into a craft diploma at Otago Polytechnic, he found his love for hand stitching. He finds the methodical process of hand embroidery “a great way to relax and calm my mind as I get satisfaction out of the stitch by stitch progression.”

The Dunedin artist admires the work of Fiona Connor, Glen Hayward and Dene Barnes, which help inspire his pieces. While he finds the trash at random, he abides by a set of parameters and rules, including sticking to one area at a time. “The trash sets the theme for the exhibition, I love seeing the different types of trash disposed of in different areas of the city.”

Currently, Hutchinson has work on a group show at Fiksate Gallery in Christchurch and some being shown at Otago Museum in Southern People, Southern Land. He also has a project underway with Olga Gallery in Dunedin opening in November.


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Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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