Artist Profile: James Atutahi



Nga Puhi, Te Arawa
Contemporary Carver

James grew up in Maketu on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. His mother is of Nga Puhi and Ngati Hine, from Pipiwai in Northland. At the age of 12 James learned to surf at Maketu. Since then, surfing and the ocean in general have featured predominantly in James’s life.

His work comprises paint on carved wood. His early pieces were inspired by surf designs and traditional Maori art. Over time his ideas have evolved and more recent designs are an eclectic mix that owes much to his love of the ocean and the spiritual beauty of contemporary Maori art.

Though James has carved with native timbers, he continues to use particle board (MDF), as it is the most versatile medium for the designs and effects he prefers.

James has been working solely as a carver since 2004. He works from his studio (garage) and provides stock for 11 galleries throughout New Zealand. James is often invited to exhibit with others and his artworks are held in private collections internationally.