Conor makes fantastic worlds out of the residue of this flawed, greedy existence. His series of golden pohutukawa trees are made
from his own process of pulping discarded daily newspapers. It is a deliberate and delightful reversal of the normal process that most of us in a modern world are subject to: acquire—consume—trash.
Conor manages to take trash and reprocess it to form a treasure.
The treasure is more than just the desirable object. It is a fairytale
parallel world—somewhere over the conspiring rainbow loop of
consumption and waste is a world that mocks the folly of big business
and the promotion of sinister consumer values. These papiermâché trees are sometimes fitted with working light bulbs to form tiffanyesque light shades that cast romantically dappled shadows.
When I first met Conor the trees formed a forest in a huge
industrial space in downtown Gisborne. The forest was inhabited by
hybrid and mutant plastic toys and backdrops were woven from black
garbage bags; this was to have been the setting for a made-for-the internet digital saga. As in a real-life Star Wars episode, the space was
lost to commercial forces. The film was never made, but the beautiful
trees remain, and friends and relatives have become the caretakers.
Conor now lives on in Wellington.
Conor also produces drawings and paintings, but it is his trees
that get to me.