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WWFD: In conversation with the FUZZYVIBES 5

Our monthly feature WW…D is an interview segment where we speak to various artists, writers, curators and art folk.

Ophelia King, Emil Dryburgh, Nina Lloyd Joy, Liam Pram and Tristan Marler make up F U Z Z Y V I B E S on Auckland’s Krd. Between day jobs, night jobs, and running a gallery they found time to answer our questions. This month we spoke with the crew behind the new Auckland based space F U Z Z Y V I B E S. Read below for What Would F U Z Z Y Do?

Who are the people behind F U Z Z Y V I B E S and what are your day jobs?

Ophelia: Graphic design is my day job, fuzzy is my fun job.

Emil: I work as a Gallery Assistant at Auckland Art Gallery. At this stage of my life, I can’t imagine a better day job… I give tours of the permanent collection, and meet lovely and interesting people everyday. Until very recently I was also a student at the University of Auckland, moping up the last papers of my history degree. I continue to practice as an artist and writer whenever possible.
….It’s been a very busy year!

Nina: There are five of us involved with Fuzzy. Unlike the others, I’m not from an art education background. I studied Landscape Architecture for a bit before moving on to other things, running a food store, a little travelling, a stint in Taranaki. I moved back to Auckland in 2012 where my day job became mishmash of role at a publishing company / tech start up. These days I manage customer service and… do other customer relations, marketing, social media type of things.

Liam: There are five people who are involved in the operations of F U Z Z Y V I B E S, they are myself (Liam Pram), Emil Dryburg, Ophelia King, Nina Joy Lloyd and Tristan Marler. On the day job front I will talk only for myself, my jobs are mainly night jobs. I am a cleaning operations manager at Contours Greenlane, and I play guitar in a band that deals largely in private and corporate functions and events.

Tristan: I actually work a night job cooking pub grub and study Visual Arts by day. I’ve also been working on a few carving commissions and was recently in Venice supporting a Whatarangi (storehouse) that I designed and carved for the inaugural New Zealand pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

When was the idea for this space first conceived?

Ophelia: I honestly can’t remember but I think that one day I just started trawling trade me and then once we had had a look at a few spaces, it was just a matter of finding the right one. I guess the idea to start a space had been mulling around for a while at least for Emil, Liam & I, and then it collectively surfaced about a year after we all finished honours at Elam. Now that we have FUZZY, everything leading up to its incarnation feels like a past life but I remember we all felt there was something missing from our art world, and therefore decided to try and fill the void. Who am I kidding, we were desperate for our own thing.

Emil: Hmmm… I reckon it’s been in the pipe-line for years. Of-course it didn’t become a pragmatic possibility until we found our current site on K road, but I guess I bought into the idea of the artist-run space as a post art-school utopia. What a fool!

Nina: I fell into it, I was living with Emil, Ophelia and Liam, and I know that starting an art space had been on their minds for a while. Ophelia had been super proactive about finding a space that could work. When we found Fuzzy I did a little uming and arring – it was a big commitment but decided it was something I would regret not doing, so here we are.

Liam: There had been a long-term discussion between myself, Emil and Ophelia about the possibility of opening a space of some kind (considering the options that might realistically continue an art practice/community after leaving art school).

This particular idea came about when the space was discovered, and thought the “idea” of what this space might be, or attempt to perpetuate has been discussed at length, at many points pre and post execution, the space still exists in my mind as a flux zone that has not settled on being any one particular idea.

Tristan: Well I couldn’t say for sure because I’d only met the rest of the Fuzzy family a few months beforehand… I had no idea what I was getting myself into really, that being said this has been the most exciting chapter of my life so far!

Describe F U Z Z Y in 3 words?

Ophelia: goodvibes, seeking & hard working!

Emil: earnestnervous, mostly acting with purpose.

Nina: Cozy, concrete, creative

Liam: Free Proposal Space

Tristan: Gargantuan, tyrannical, unstoppable.

If F U Z Z Y was a mythical creature what would it be?

Ophelia: A orange dragon with turquoise spirals who breathes wine.

Emil: Can’t say I have given this a lot of thought… but probably a Manticore. With a lions head, sharks teeth, bat wings and a scorpions tail… it seems suitably contradictory.

Nina: A yeti, a fuzzy orange yeti.

Liam: Charon

Tristan: F U Z Z Y is akin to the Lamassu, an Assyrian deity with a bulls’ body, eagle wings and a human head, sent forward through time to stand watch over the future emerging artists’ community.

What are your joint or individual curatorial motivations?

Ophelia: The funny thing about collaborations is that you do have lots of common interests but probably not the ones you thought you shared.

Fuzzy is ever changing, as are our joint and individual motivations. I think we have some joint motivations for the bigger picture but we probably have stronger individual motivations all round. Fuzzy is still so young so I think our collective decisions are motivations are still very much a work in progress. My personal curatorial motivations are to have more fun. Starting to make work again would probably be a good start.

Emil: Our joint curatorial motivations would be almost impossible to pin down! We are five people with different agenda’s, so I find it really hard to describe our motivations as a group!

Individually though, I try and encourage a culture of inclusivity and openness at Fuzzy. I never wanted Fuzzy to be a marketing strategy for me and mine. While operating an artist-run space is inevitably a bit self-serving, I try to be sensitive to the community around me.

Nina: We haven’t really formed a central ethos or mission statement at this stage; we’ve kept this side of things more relaxed. Our general rule around decision-making is the most interesting idea wins. Each of us has our own personal reasons for embarking on this project. My motivation isn’t centered on the curatorial side of things – I don’t consider myself a curator in anyway, more a facilitator. My hope is that we are adding something to Auckland and the arts community. I got sick of complaining about this city so thought I should start to contribute to rather than whine about what’s not happening, what its lacking. That, or leave.

Liam: I don’t believe we have a joint curatorial motivation, perhaps that we are all interest in the propping up the “best” ideas, over other considerations.
My personal curatorial motivations are centered around reaction based practices. Basically meaning I’d like to put up anything that is talking loud, indulging in provocations or talking to the occupation of space and it’s use functions.

Tristan: For now I’m focussing on myself and taking this opportunity to develop and exhibit my painting practice. In the future I’d love to work with artists in Hokianga communities.

What does the future have in stall for F U Z Z Y ‘s audience?

Ophelia: Lots of good things. We are all pretty happy with the programme for the rest of the year, which is divided between quite diverse proposal based shows and us individually- I’m sure in our slots all of our personal curatorial motivations will come out. Today, Fuzzy is only getting easier and funner so right this second I feel really positive about the future.

Emil: Hopefully a real mix! I am really chuffed with our current exhibition ‘Watching’ by Campbell Patterson.

Nina: The rest of the year is looking exciting, we have a full calendar of a range of shows and events. Six months in it feels like Fuzzy has its groove and its great.

Liam: Change. Facilitation of communal and curatorial gaps in the Auckland discussion.

Tristan: Anything and everything you can or and cannot imagine… who’s to say? I’m really excited about the work I’m doing, I’m sure that goes for everyone else on the team and their own projects, and for all the artists who have shows lined up in the space. The only sure thing is a boozey opening!

What words of advice do you have budding curators?

Ophelia: I don’t consider myself a curator and to be honest I don’t fully understand the role a curator is meant to take. The fuzzy team have come up with ideas for shows, selected artists and controlled installs but none of us would call ourselves curators. Maybe it comes back to the whole not wanting to put a label on it thing. Is fuzzy a Gallery, dealer, project space, retail, environment, artist run initiative or all of the above? Im not sure but I can tell people budding to start their own space to make sure you find a real estate agent you like, make sure you can afford it, go in with people you love and get a cat.

Emil: My advice would probably be a bit contradictory… on the one hand you should dream big and challenge the way artists around you share their work, but I also think you should be pragmatic. New Zealand is a small pond for professional curators and the vocational opportunities are rare and extremely competitive to access. So love the work you do and believe that it is important, but also be realistic about it’s potential to sustain your livelihood.

Nina: I am not a curator, but if you are interested in starting a space think carefully about the balance of people involved, the financial ins and outs – all those boring sensible things. But if you have those covered you will be able to focus on the fun stuff and give your deeper motivations more time and energy.

Liam: “What if you can’t make yourself happy?”
“Then I don’t know. You know what you do then, you forget, you block it out… If you want to be happy don’t think… if you stutter don’t talk.”

Tristan: We are all so lucky that New Zealand is such a safe and easy country to live in, and while the art world here is small and penniless, at least it’s kind. If you find a space and are passionate about getting in the game then don’t hold back!

F U Z Z Y V I B E S is located at 151 Karangahape Road or check out whats happening at

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