Lisa Black's favourite things

By Zoe Walker

Using taxidermy for her art is just one of the eclectic loves of Lisa Black.

Artist Lisa Black sits in her favourite chair. Photo / Babiche Martens
Artist Lisa Black sits in her favourite chair. Photo / Babiche Martens

Artist Lisa Black creates taxidermy sculptures with a slightly creepy, technological twist, contrasting the natural with the robotic: think of a cute stuffed fawn with mechanical metal eye and other various antique watch parts, or a crocodile with a clock wind-up key on its back. The Auckland-based sculptor also creates "butterfly art", under the name Gilded Butterflies. Black will exhibit five new sculptures at Simon James at The Department Store in early February, including animal skulls with mixed metal components and an antique stereoscope for 3D viewing.

She talks us through her favourite things.

10 FAVOURITE THINGS

1. The San Diego Comic Con
I attended Comic Con in 2010. Those geeks sure know how to throw a party. One may not enjoy the full spectrum of body-types squeezed into home-made "Slave Leia" brass bikinis, but overall the costumes were brilliant to see, and I often caught myself mid "tee-hee!" with childlike glee.

2. Gears of War 2 for Xbox 360
The game's amazing atmosphere, attention to detail and outright brutality manage to make its otherwise straight-forward plot seem deep and interesting. Gears of War made post-apocalyptic settings beautiful. Everything from the demolished war-torn towns to the fantastic underworld threaded by the locust felt eerie, hostile and perfectly polished.

3. Ponoko.com
"Ponoko" make it easy to make things. Started by Kiwis and based in Wellington, they make manufacturing 3D printed or 2D laser-cut designs easier than ordering a pizza online. You can also browse and buy original designer objects from their community marketplace. Lamps, jewellery, toys, they have everything.

4. Sword necklace from Wunderkammer
I'm not big on wearing jewellery myself. I find myself thinking "I could get this diamond ... or the biggest flat screen imaginable!" However I do love a piece of jewellery that does something. Some little gimmick or function of design is what tickles me and this is the case with a sword necklace I found at Wunderkammer in Ponsonby. It's a two-part pendant which has been designed so that you can remove the sword from its scabbard
... genius.

5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I recommend a re-read to anyone who considers themselves even mildly misanthropic... or if you want to feel better about your day by comparison.

6. Gilded Butterflies jewellery
This is my own jewellery line. The necklaces are made from real butterfly wings and, continuing the thought of jewellery doing something, the pieces are hinged at the body so that they can be worn both open and closed. When closed, hints of the butterfly can be seen through specially designed holes.

7. Tron
Sure, it's not the best movie I've seen all year and some reviews I've read are seriously cringeworthy ... and even the movie staff I spoke to that saw it for free didn't like it. But I consider the film visually inspiring. Digital world plus mid-air activated bikes plus "The Dude" equals double thumbs-up.

8. Dr Grordbort's Rayguns from Weta
Who doesn't want a Steampunk Gun? I recently saw these along with the District 9 gun props at the Weta Workshop stand at the San Diego Comic Con. A really cool idea executed with a high-quality finish.

9. Black leather wing back chair
After a search far and wide for a chair that was significantly large enough to warrant the reverence Morphius would be proud of (you know, the Matrix scene in which he offers the blue or red pill to Neo), I finally found the chair at Early Settler in Ponsonby, dyed it black and it sits in my lounge in all its glory.

10. Pilot magazine
Pilot magazine is a truly world class art/design/fashion/culture magazine, and easily my favourite Kiwi mag. Beautifully designed, thick enough to press flowers with, and full of beauty. They are also really supportive of new and creative ideas and not afraid to showcase creative diversity.

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