Ziggle! The Len Lye Art Activity Book - Reviewed by Jo Lucre | Regional News Connecting Wellington

Ziggle! The Len Lye Art Activity Book

Written by: Rebecca Fawkner

Massey University Press

Reviewed by: Jo Lucre

Many moons ago, I remember the impending installation of the Len Lye windwand in New Plymouth being met with a certain amount of mockery, derision, and a rolling discourse from the locals that it was not, in fact, a work of art. Nowadays, the bendy sculpture is hailed as an icon of the city, a must-see for tourists, and a familiar sight on the coastal walkway.

Art in all its glory makes everyone ripe to opine. Ultimately though, what is art is highly subjective in the end. In Ziggle, author Rebecca Fawkner, who has worked at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery| Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth for 20 years, has created a zany and comprehensive activity book with 65 Len Lye inspired ways to be an artist. Fawkner brings together synergised activities that follow Len throughout his life, each activity paying homage to the way Len expressed himself through art, and whose fascination with the melding of art and science, light and colour, and kinetic sculptures abounds throughout.

My son and I enjoyed the Exquisite Corpse activity (bizarre name, I know), based on a drawing game Surrealist artists played together to generate new art ideas. In a nutshell, you fold a piece of paper into three: one for the head, one for the body, and one for legs. You should only see the section you are drawing and then swap alternatively with your buddy. You have no concept of what each other has drawn and the ensuing creature is a whole new piece of art altogether.

Ziggle is cool, especially for those young creatives who might otherwise be tempted by a digital world. The activities are simple yet intelligent and experimental.

At the end, there’s a reminder that if you get stuck on creating, think like Len and trust the artist part of yourself and just start doing. To leave you with a quote from Len himself, “I encourage you to untie mental shoelaces so your thoughts can go barefoot and trip the light fantastic.”

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