Hamish Foote is a practising artist as well as Senior Lecturer at the School of Landscape Architecture at Unitec, Auckland. In 2004 he completed his Doctorate of Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland.
Utilising different mediums over his career from lithographic printing to painting in watercolours, oils and egg tempera, Foote works in the finest detail. Every medium is mastered to further his exploration of the landscape that surrounds us, as well as the beings occupying it. With subjects ranging from living beings to skeletal remains, Foote draws on the rich history of zoological illustration, depicting a variety of species with meticulous natural realism.
Indeed, Foote’s central concern is the exploration of exotic and native plants, birds and insects. Each series of works has progressed from the plant to the landscape to the birds and insects that occupy the land. This progression has happened virtually subconsciously for Foote and highlights his strong interest in the natural world.
Although his choices of medium are traditional, Foote’s treatment of subjects and compositions locate his works strongly within contemporary art practice. By presenting the native kea in front of the denuded land, cleared for running cattle or sheep, Foote highlights not only the last impacts of colonisation of land but the constant changes that occur due to human interference.
Foote has also created iconological works in which he has painted insects such as cicadas, wasps and shield-backed beetles. In raising common, everyday subjects to objects of reverence Foote hopes to “authenticate, draw attention to, endorse and glorify his subject matter.”