Learning by doing

January 25, 2019

Last week after 18 months’ planning a delightful group of 14 students from Bowling Green University Ohio arrived at our studio in Wanaka for a three-day experiential workshop in environmental land art.It was one of the hottest days this year as we all gathered for a talk and video presentation about how Philippa and I came to work together around the world, sharing our art practice, publishing and exhibiting our many land art projects that explore the transition to a regenerative model of progress based on the cyclical way nature works.

The students were aged between 19 and 22 and had chosen this trip to New Zealand because they wanted to learn about our culture and environment – particularly our approach to ecological and social sustainability. They had spent days on environmental conservation projects with scientists in the mountains beforehand. 
They expressed intense interest in our work and good discussions flowed.

Early next day we gathered for a short walk to a beautiful spring and wetland where they set about creating their own environmental sculptures from natural materials which they photographed.

The variety of materials and forms they chose was diverse. Each of them expressed their ideas and point of view creating a wide range of ephemeral sculptures, photographs and video.

Some of the group worked with us to finish a piece made from raupo stems and flax
thread which we floated on the lake. We all hiked up above the wetland to photograph the sculpture floating below. 

Later a rain shower put an end to the proceedings but Philippa and I returned later to complete two versions of the work rapidly and capture photographs in golden light just before the sun dropped behind the mountains.

We all met at the wetland the following day to witness any changes to the sculptures and to photograph them in morning sunlight. The students were all pleased and happy with what they had achieved and experienced, one was so keen on her piece she carried it off to take home to America.

Creative collaboration with French couture perfume studio

November 30, 2018

We are delighted to have received samples of three perfumes in our collaborative perfume project with Celine Verleure of Olfactive Studio in Paris.

Each of the three beautifully packaged fragrances in the Sepia Collection were launched internationally this month.
Celine’s concept is to team up a perfumer – in this case Bertrand Duchaufour – with a photographer to create a perfume evocative of an image.




























Big In Paris !

November 26, 2018


In May this year at the invitation of Vente – Privee Paris, my photographs of ephemeral sculptures were displayed on their new building with the largest digital facade in Europe.
A continuous cycling slide show of 15 works measuring 18m x 12m were viewed by 350,000 people daily.

Now they are to be exhibited again on 28 – 29 November 2018

A huge thanks to Vente – Privee for exposing our work to so many people.


Vente – Privee Digital Facade Paris from Martin Hill on Vimeo.


Circle of Life

October 9, 2018

This is my recently completed sculpture commissioned by a family in Wanaka.

Blackened Kanuka trees stand shielding a steel circle. The sculpture is designed to evoke a harmonious relationship between human systems and nature.

By placing the circle at the centre of everything a dynamic visual balance is created between the rough chaotic trees, the machine made circle and the backdrop of landscaped garden and wild mountains.
In nature the circle is sacrosanct. Everything that lives must die, everything that eats is eaten. Modern life is breaching planetary and social wellbeing boundaries. We can only become restorative with design that emulates natural cycles in industrial ecology and by taking only from the earth what can be replaced by nature and placing on the earth only what can be absorbed by nature we can return to the circle of life.

Fine Line Vanuatu

August 14, 2018

In selecting the location for the 11th sculpture on our Fine Line global project we were looking for a wild place with a dramatic landscape and interesting Pacific Island culture. We found these on the island of Tanna the southernmost island in Vanuatu. The site for the sculpture was the crater rim of Mt Yasur a continuously erupting Stromboli volcano near the south coast of this tropical Melanesian island.

On 19th June we arrived on Tanna via Port Vila, the capital where we were greeted by our homestay hosts Isso and Rachel who provided lodging, transport and logistics for the expedition. Isso is a person of influence in Tanna and his skills and contacts proved essential to achieving our project.

We knew that on an erupting volcano we would not be able to spend the time needed to create a significant sculpture, nor would there be any materials other than volcanic ash and lava with which to make it. So our plan was to use local renewable materials from the abundant jungle that covers most of the island.

Isso introduced us to the indigenous giant banyan trees and demonstrated their capacity to grow aerial roots from above down into the soil where they mature. Vanuatu natives manage and harvest these roots for many uses including building their homes. The banyan is actually a vine not a tree.

We learned how to cut these extremely versatile roots and strip the bark for its strong fibre. Using the roots and fibre from several banyans we constructed, over two days, a large latticework sphere.

Having enlisted some helpers from the village we loaded them and the sculpture onto Isso’s ute and drove the wild mud roads to the volcano. We had previously made a reconnaisence trip to check out the location of the best view of the eruptions, but conditions had changed and we had to go to a different spot on the rim. Our hired helpers quickly carried our sculpture up using poles on their shoulders – one of them in bare feet on the lava rock!


Fixing the sculpture to the mountain was essential because strong winds threatened to send it down into the crater.

Working with the cameras was extremely difficult with ash and fumes blowing at us. The eruptions were not predictable and exposing each shot required 30 seconds. As the sun set the eruptions became more visible and the crater glowed red with belching gas and occasional giant blasts shooting streams of red hot lava into the air.

After an hour we got better at judging the eruptions and camera exposures, as well as using some fill lighting from the full moon.
The primal experience of looking into the fiery depths of the earth was awe inspiring.

When Isso and our team retreated down the mountain we were exhilarated to find ourselves alone in the dark on the fully erupting volcano, our only company the sculpture, the moon and the stars.

There is only one more sculpture to make to complete our Fine line Project, joining the line round Earth where it began 24 years ago in New Zealand.

Nature’s design

June 18, 2018

This month Polis magazine Germany invited me to present my environmental sculptures and write about my design philosophy for their international publication.
Polis magazine focuses on urban development as well as recent design and architectural projects. For more information please visit their website: https://polis-magazin.com

Here is the 6 page article:

Polis Magazine


Giant exposure in Paris

May 27, 2018

At the invitation of Vente – Privee Paris photographs of our ephemeral sculptures will be
presented this week on their new building with the largest digital facade in Europe.

A continuous cycling slide show of 15 works measuring 18m x 12m will be viewed by 350,000 people daily.

We hope that this exposure leads to a wider recognition of the need for circular systems in the design of our modern world.


April 20, 2018

Opening a lens to our ideas creates an exposure. The digital revolution has meant that lens-based artists can expose their work to an ever widening new audience around the world.

In May and again in November Vente – Privee has invited us to feature 15 ephemeral sculpture photographs in a looped slideshow on the giant digital facade of their new building in Paris. At 8 meters x 12 meters, this is the largest digital screen in Europe and will be viewed each day by 350,000 people. It will run for 24 hours a day, from 28th – 31st of May then again from 30th November to 3rd December this year.

This month our environmental sculpture Diamond Lake Ice Circle is among a collection of land art works curated for L’Officiel Voyage Russian edition, a magazine dealing with arts and culture. It will expose our land art work to a discerning Russian audience. Other works included are Anish Kapoor’s Descension, Christo and Jeanne Claude’s Walking on Water, Singing Ringing Tree by Tonkin Liu and Light Field by Bruce Munro.



Our ephemeral sculptures have resonated with French and Russian curators and editors. We can’t know how the works will be received or what response to expect. Who knows what this exposure may produce?

Images of the Martin Hill installation on the Vente – Privee giant screen will be posted here in May.

Making the most of our backyard

November 20, 2017

Perfect weather in Mt Aspiring National Park made for a delightful relaxing walk to camp amid our great mountains in the bush clad Matukitiki river valley.
It is great to see that vegetation and native bird life is being protected by an extensive pest eradication programme managed by the NZ Department of Conservation with many volantears.

NZ Robin

Tititea, Mt Aspiring

Rob Roy Glacier

Philippa in the Matukituki River valley

A cool resting place

Three prints find a good home in Germany

November 14, 2017

Our online store is open!

And there is nothing like a satisfied customer! This is what Julia wrote:

“The prints are on my wall – finally! I really love your prints – Synergy, Bracken Sphere and Tide Cycle.  I think the framer did a good job too!  I have them in the room where I work. I am a psychotherapist and my patients like the prints as well!”