What’s happening in the chaos on this year’s Fringe artwork?
One of my favourite things to draw, and I say this with a pinch of humour, is angry animals. So I chose three that I felt were locally inspired: pekapeka (bat), tuatara and tāmure (snapper).

Part of the inspiration was some of those early Māori stories after the separation of Papatuanuku and Ranginui, when light came in and all the sons started to fight. And I’m really interested in Godzilla and old Japanese movies. So I wanted to make a modern version of the clash, with giant monsters fighting and the tuatara as Godzilla.

I always love to depict local disasters, so it’s set on Bank Street with the Old Town Hall’s clock tower on fire – I think Pekapeka was actually the culprit, or at least had a part in it. And of course, the big flood of 2020 is there: I’ve brought Otuihau Whangārei Falls into the middle, flooding Bank Street at night while everyone sleeps, and the three monsters fight. I thought this is what happens after dark, much like the Fringe festival. The creatures come out to play.

What do you do when you aren’t destroying Whangārei in creative ways?
I manage Te Kowhai Print Trust, a community arts facility that is open access and one of the last of its kind in the country. Artists locally and from all over the country come in to use our facilities. Whangarei District Council and a number of other funding agencies really get behind us and support the community to have affordable access to the arts.

What about your own work?
My practice is centred around printmaking, which is primarily what we do here at Te Kowhai. Most of my practice is centred around historic printmakers that I appreciate and contemporary printmakers making art based on the historic traditions that came before.

Gutenberg, who invented the first printing press in the 1400s, was a game-changer. Before then, everything was hand-written, and then this revolutionary idea came along that print was mass-produced and everyone in the community had access to it.

​I’m really socially minded so I really liked that idea. Printmaking, at its core, is a dissemination of ideas, and I like the core idea of making it accessible to people. I guess most of my work is around that. I’m trying to present ideas that I’m excited by and interested in.

Hamish Oakley-Browne's limited-edition, hand-printed, black and white linocut Fringe artwork