‘I trained as a designer, so you can see that in my work; it comes in and out of my work, that cleanliness and clarity of design.

Wellington-born multi-media artist Wayne Youle (Ngā Puhi, Ngati Whakaeke, Ngāti Pākehā) has produced a remarkably diverse body of work since graduating from the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design in 1999. In 2010, Wayne was the Rita Angus Artist in Residence. Two years later, he was selected as the SCAPE Artspace Artist in Residence (Sydney), and in 2019, he was the McCahon House Artist in Residence. Wayne’s work is held in public collections across Aotearoa, including Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, and Wanaka. 


Having specialised in typography during his design studies, Wayne’s art embodies a less-is-more mentality, often comprised of clean lines, strong silhouettes, and flat, unmodulated blocks of colour. Though formally stripped-back, Wayne’s works are conceptually saturated. Bringing together different shapes and symbols, his compositions work to contextualise narratives, allowing simple forms to convey complex meaning, whether this be in the form of story, metaphor or historical retelling. 


Wayne draws inspiration from a vast well of sources, including figures from his own family life and personal memories, as well as different times, aesthetics, and artists who have had a lasting influence on his practice, such as Colin McCahon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sidney Nolan, Piet Mondrian, and Philip Guston, to name a few.  


Wayne’s diverse practice is also strongly influenced by his bicultural heritage. A keen observer of the ever-shifting dynamics of Māori and Pākehā culture, his practice traverses issues of identity, race, and the commodification of cultural symbols. His work speaks to a fascination with the visual language of popular culture, and desire to question how history and identity are constructed. In Wayne’s hands, simple forms and symbols take on a historical, metaphysical and psychological weight, navigating these exceedingly complex – and in some circles, contentious – cross-currents with a wry sense of humour and disarming honesty.



Quotation from Wayne Youle's 2019 Artist Talk for his exhibition 'HERE I give Thanks'


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