The work of Ha Ha explores the power of mass media within Australian popular culture. The reality TV phenomena, the religion of sport, criminal lifestyles, get rich quick & instant fame becomes the obsessions, the new virtues of the 21st century.
By using multi-layered stencils of up to 40 layers Ha Ha’s work is a reflection of popular culture. He gets his images direct from the newspaper or from photographing the subject to tell a story of the here & now. Without the aid of a computer, his cutting technique produces lifelike imagery.
Ha Ha is a self taught artist who started off by spray painting stencils on the street & has since then graduated to the gallery. He has been exhibiting for over 8 years he has held 10 solo shows in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart & Sydney. He spoke to Damo, about his most recent show, ‘Rise and Fall’.
Damo: Can you could introduce yourself a little bit and talk about your practice?
Ha Ha: Yeah like again my name is Regan Tamanui aka Ha Ha from New Zealand. I’ve been in Australia for like 20 years. I’ve always been into art and into oil painting but never went to art school. I got introduced to pretty much straight up in 1999. I didn’t actually do anything till 2001. I’ve just been stencils pretty much. So over a period of time I got rid of oil painting just went with straight up stencil art.
Damo: Why did you do that? Why did you choose to go down that path?
Ha Ha: I had a few exhibitions with oil paintings but like nothing really sold. To be honest wasn’t really feeling a vibe. But once I started incorporating stencils into my art work stuff was selling I was like I should go down this road. so that’s what I would do.