Shane Hansen’s influences are his Māori heritage, nature, his environment and he admires the work of graphic designers who developed the artistic practices such as Gordon Walters, Dick Frizzell and Wellingtonian Mark Ussher.
Shane studied art at high school but began his professional life as a fashion designer. He commandeered the sewing machine on which his mother had worked from home churning out nylon jackets and created the label Vampire, a series of jackets, shirts and t-shirts in bold colours decorated with cartoon characters he illustrated himself. He later designed garments for the International surf label T&C and New Zealand stalwarts Canterbury. He then trained as a graphic designer, eventually combining these two disciplines at Fly, where he was co-founder and creative director, carving out a niche creating innovative marketing and design strategies for corporate clients and retail stores.
Shane likes a strong, clean line. He has drawn constantly for as long as he can remember, and his creations spring from a world of bold colours and optimistic clarity, a pop-art invitation to a feel-good New Zealand celebration. He now designs his works from home and they are professionally applied to plywood or glass - raw materials that he says "aren’t too polished" and take on unique and unexpected qualities that add depth to his finished works.
But to overstate the simplicity of his work is also to underestimate it, as its approachability is often a friendly invitation to deeper contemplation. The word 'whānau', for example, is buried in the black, white and red curves of a large work on plywood and prompts reflection on the twisted, intricate nature of family ties. Another work featuring the word 'Aroha' is not cheerleading a one-sided celebration of this big emotion, but acknowledging its multilayered complexity. In these works, Shane is fusing his own Maori heritage and strong sense of family with his admiration for the clear graphic sensibility of the wharenui.