February 05, 2024
Embarking on an artistic journey in Auckland, New Zealand, Clinton Hewett stands as a testament to the vibrant New Zealand art scene. Born and raised in this culturally rich landscape, Clinton, the youngest of five brothers, discovered his artistic inclinations in solitude, an experience that laid the groundwork for his future as a prominent New Zealand artist. His mother, Lesley, played a crucial role in this development, providing him with the basic tools for creativity - paper and coloring pens - nurturing his budding talent from a young age.
The roots of Clinton's artistic fervor are deeply embedded in his family history, significantly influenced by his maternal grandmother, an ardent lover of art and poetry. Her profound impact on Clinton's life, through introducing him to various art forms, including French and poetry, helped shape his artistic perspective, characteristic of many New Zealand artists. Moreover, Clinton's artistic lineage was further enriched by the inheritance of his maternal grandfather's art books and artwork. Despite never meeting his grandfather, who was a practicing artist, Clinton received a precious legacy that deepened his connection to the artistic world.
Clinton's artistic endeavors were not confined to visual arts alone. During his late teens and mid-twenties, he delved into the music scene, a common pursuit among New Zealand artists, playing as a guitarist and lead singer in a rock band. This phase of his life showcased his multifaceted creative talents, blending art and music.
However, his musical pursuits took a backseat when he followed his parents back to his ancestral home to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, marking a pivotal shift in his artistic journey. In Aitutaki, Clinton's artistic path took a transformative turn when he discovered an old carving chisel in a burnt heap of rubbish. After cleaning and reclaiming the chisel, he began creating small crafts, which caught the attention of his father. Seeing his son's potential, Robert provided Clinton with a chainsaw, further enabling his artistic growth. Clinton honed his skills in wood carving and drum making, learning from local artisans and mastering the art of making and tuning Cook Island drums.
In Aitutaki, Clinton's artistic abilities were honed and recognized, leading to a commission at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and establishing him as a resident artist at Are Tamanu. This period was crucial in defining his identity as a New Zealand artist.
Returning to New Zealand, Clinton's art took a culturally significant turn with the creation of 21st Keys, an integral part of Pacific Islander and Maori traditions, symbolizing a coming of age. This endeavor not only showcased his artistic skill but also his deep-rooted connection to his heritage.
Clinton's dedication to preserving his ancestral stories through writing and painting is a reflection of his commitment to the cultural heritage of New Zealand. His journey, encompassing a blend of family influence, personal passions, and cultural heritage, highlights the unique journey of a New Zealand artist. Clinton Hewett, through his diverse artistic expressions, embodies the spirit and creativity inherent in New Zealand artistry
November 24, 2023