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Toni Hartill

Toni in her happy place

Toni Hartill – Printmaker, book maker, creator of magical dream vessels.

We are pleased to have Toni Hartill join us for the collection The Beach – Paper, Books & Baskets. The endless fascination I have with Toni’s work is her attention to the tiniest of details – nothing is overlooked or unresolved. Each piece of her art holds your mind through your eyes as well as through the sensitive use of materials and textures. The palette chosen by Toni for her collection for The Beach is so resonate with our own waters here in Ōpunakē that they speak to my soul and my sense of belonging. It is wonderful seeing the works up close and personal.

Working from her home studio-come-workshop in Western Springs, Auckland, Toni Hartill is an artist who enjoys working with a variety of media. With a background in interior and spatial design, including custom decorative paint finishes and bespoke furniture design, plus as a secondary school art & design teacher, Toni has developed a broad range of skills allowing her to not feel limited to working within the bounds of any particular medium. Although currently working primarily in the many-faceted medium of printmaking, she is just as likely to include paint, collage, fabric, stitch and construction using ephemera and found objects to create her work. Her love for the tactile qualities of paper and found objects often result in her unique artist’s books and sculptural constructions.

Toni exhibits regularly in group and selected shows and enjoys participating in collaborative projects. She has works in collections in New Zealand, Australia, USA and UK, most recently the special collections of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Libraries’ Angela Morton Room. 

Toni has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Elam and a Post Graduate Diploma of Secondary Teaching, University of Auckland.

Read Toni’s own description of this exhibition and of her future involvement with the gallery.

Colour, texture, pattern and form in the natural environment is an eternal inspiration in my work. Common themes include explorations of environmental concerns and a fascination for the strong ties that come with connections to “place” especially through my connections to Aotearoa as a 6th generation New Zealander. I am greatly inspired by the coastline and the sea. Growing up in, on or near the sea in Northland, I readily seek solace, respite and refreshment from our coastal environments. Big skies ground me and help to put things into perspective while there’s nothing like a lung-full of ocean air to revitalise, soothe and energize. 

Although I work with many media, printmaking holds the greatest allure because it allows me to be spontaneous, experimental and playful and to let go of my “perfectionist” tendencies. It is also a great starting point to spring off into using other media and processes as the inspiration and imagination demands. I often start with an idea of what and why, and then allow the choice of media and process to follow, to best express my intentions. I have a particular passion for mark-making and colour, and love the eternal opportunities for play and experimentation that printmaking allows.

My work often strays off the beaten track into creating unique artists books, mini dioramas and other, often sculptural, creations, many with a touch of whimsy. A starting point for my artist’s books can often be a found “treasure” and, with time and contemplation, I seek to coerce the imagined story out of the object into being. I try to capture an essence of a time and place, perhaps from memories or treasured places long since gone, or I might reimagine places to suit my developed narrative.

Backstory for involvement in exhibition:

Early in February 2022, as I was preparing for my first solo exhibition, Artful Narratives, I was contacted by Viv Davy via my blog site. Viv extended an invitation to have a solo exhibition and to do a residency at her gallery, in November 2023. 

Of course I was delighted, and excited at the prospect, and immediately set about percolating ideas for a completely new body of work. As of November 2022, I have completed a number of pieces, with plans and a vision of where I’m aiming to take my work over the next few months.

Meanwhile, in September, I was invited to also take part in this summertime exhibition and to participate in the collaborative project of reworking one of 8 concertina books prepared by Wendy Watson. Despite a heavy workload, I couldn’t resist the challenge, and have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to create these works, inspired by the whiff of the ocean breeze and sand between my toes. 

To view Toni’s work and to connect online:





You might also enjoy this interview with Toni.

Please call the gallery on +64 021 407 424 or email for more details about any of these works.