New Zealand Flag Debate



Phantom Rescues Wahine

Lester Hall Art Phantom Rescues Wahine


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All Phantom images start at a simple place. They ask the question, what is it with images of the Phantom created by New Zealand artists and why can a simple plagiarized image demand figures in excess of $30,000.00??!!

I do not really care so long as I can join in as I loved the Phantom all through my childhood and love the simple pleasure of black line painting. I decided that I wanted my images of Mr. Walker to reflect some idea of New
Zealand in reference.

So, without putting too finer point on it, I get to sit in my studio and create compositions of a cartoon character and drawer and colour him in for a living. Gotta love that.

This is an entry level work for the Pakeha thinking about the complex nature of looking into race relations and conceptualizing in NZ. The artwork is an entertaining way to ask what the word Wahine means in New Zealand today. Are white women Wahine? Do Pakeha think Maori women are wahine or Maori women? Do Maori think of Pakeha women as wahine or Pakeha women. It is a question about language and titles and how the bilingual nature of NZ is starting to work. The setting for this question is a 1898 stamp of Milford Sound with a Phantom character embedded in the style with a pulp style heroine resigned to her fate.


I am including here some of the Phantom images and artists that inspired my versions.
Paul Hartigan's well known image is quick to come up in Google as is this kiss by Frizzell.

I would add here that as Wellingtonian I did see him every weekday of my childhood in the Dominion news paper. As I am sure he does for these other artists, Mr. Walker now holds a narrative of mine and he is a way I make my feelings and ideas known. I love the lines drawn by the original artists of the 30s and 40s and tend to use those. My first Phantom was based on the first ever Phantom cover image which was Italian and you can see it here in his splendid red suit and leaner more debonair look.

In Italy he is "L'Uomo Mascherato".
"Phantom Country" asks the viewer if New Zealand is in fact real or a phantom, clean and green and a bi-cultural paradise or a pie in the sky? The Phantom himself I think represents the very best of the viewer.. the heart of us and our nation. The heroic.

In my treatment of a kiss "Aroha" I am sheeting the artwork back to a simple Maori archetypal word. Love. I use the image to introduce the Maori language in it's written form into the home. Maori language by small increments that do not deluge or create resistance. I fully believe the language will make it's way into our lives like this if we are just open to it.

This latest work using him also includes a young woman found in one of my favorite pop art genres, the pulp comic. Female bondage and peril is huge in these storybooks and the theme is now ubiquitous because of the 50 shades series of books. This tells me that peril and rescue are archetypal story lines about the human condition. I am really enjoying the darker ideas coming through from the sub-cultures of tattoo and Victorian morbidity. I see the themes all about the fashion World in the use of taxidermy and natural history, dark and deadly. I think it is a natural movement away from modern clean lines and what has become a homogenized delivery of all sorts of style. Yes, I know there is an over the top end to all of this but that is the way with all style. I intend to enjoy the dark side as well as the light and this "peril in the sounds" image is one way of presenting that.


I found this guy wondering about the same thing on line.

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All works printed by the artist on Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper and K3 Archival Inks