Martine Rolls: Artists continue to inspire


What's your favourite thing about living in the Bay?

It's a question often asked, and most people immediately reply that they love the beach and the relaxed coastal lifestyle.

I like that, too, but my very favourite thing about living in this city is the thriving local creative scene.

I'd like to tell you about all the inspiring work of local performers and artists I see around me, but there's simply not enough room on this page.

All I can do here is highlight a few of my personal favourites, in particular the creative initiatives that are run by people who make good use the internet and social media to promote them.

The first event I am excited about is The Midnight Circus, created by local artists Lynette Fisher, Skye Carson-Wilson and Simone Anderson.

The artist team is moving away from a conventional showing of two-dimensional works with a hybrid show of art, theatre, photography and music.

The tattooed lady, fortune teller and freaks will lure curious onlookers while genuine Gypsy jazz musicians weave together a heady Romany atmosphere steeped in outsider tradition, is says on their website and that makes it sound like an event I don't want to miss.

It will all happen on May 24 at Gallery 59 on 9th Ave and you are invited to attend, in costume if you wish, as long as you RSVP.

Opening day is Saturday, May 25 at 10am.

Last week I discovered yet another local initiative I got instantly excited about.

It's called On Screen Tauranga, and it's a YouTube channel and Facebook page dedicated to placing all of Tauranga's creative online community into one easy to find site.

It features films, music videos, webisodes, showreels, live performances, and documentaries and all the footage is produced by Tauranga- based online media creators.

The videos link back to the original uploader, and there is no third party or embedded material featured, which means that all view/likes/subs go back directly to the artist who created the video.

I've spent some enjoyable hours watching the most imaginative short films and videos, all locally made.

I particularly enjoyed seeing a video released in 2007 by local muso Aaron Saxon - who I nearly didn't recognise without his trademark dreads - and a clip of Grant Haua playing a great blues track.

There's also a playlist on the YouTube channel titled Audio Only With Static Photo, which is for Tauranga artists and bands who have uploaded a music track but have no accompanying video.

On Screen Tauranga is set up by Baz Mantis, an indie film director for Toggywood Productions, music video producer, sound engineer and recording artist based in Tauranga.

Baz and his mate Mark are hunting for more content for this project, so if you know of any music artists or suitable contributors with active videos on YouTube, get in touch with him via the On Screen Tauranga Facebook page.

Given time, Baz would like to see this become the go-to site for anyone who is interested in local online creative arts.

It's still early days, too, for film- makers here, he says, but maybe there'll be people who see what's already been done and are inspired to take up film- making themselves.

As if I had so much fun checking it out myself, I encourage everyone who likes film and/or music to have a look at  On Screen Tauranga.

How many "likes" can we get for this page? It's local, creative and original. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this.

The last thing I'll mention today is what local artist Memphis Robson-Frentz is up to.

She is an inspiring woman whose life so far has been a crazy ride of experiences and overcoming the odds.

I love her art work and her new initiative called One Million Cards. She aims to sell one million greeting cards to raise money to build homes for families in the slums of Tijuana, Mexico. She puts it like this: How do you raise one million dollars? One dollar at a time!

I take my hat off to these and all other creative people out there as you bring us something different every time and brighten up our lives.

If you would like me to check out your own creative ventures, let me know about them. Share your stories and photos here:

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- Bay of Plenty Times

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