Denise Fort’s “Crazy Beautiful Intense Little Worlds” Now at Debrasic
“Math is my best subject,” said Denise Fort with a giggle.
One look at her drawings and it’s obvious: the intricate symmetry and impeccable visual logic of her work would be impossible for anyone not deeply talented in (and maybe a little obsessed with) mathematical precision and order.
“I create myself this little logic game,” she said about starting a new drawing. “Then I go. I like that challenge.”
In Denise’s work, this logic balances a huge imagination.
The result is a series of drawings, paintings and screen prints that grab viewers and pull them into a wildly different and intense little world.
Denise’s work will be on display at Debrasic through May. The creativity and off-the-charts technical skill that go into each piece make them a natural fit for Debrasic’s aesthetic.
But the biggest connection is her artistic approach, grounded in strong ideas of independence and responsibility.
“It’s pure freedom,” she said of creating each little world.
Denise grew up in Germany as the daughter of immigrants who left the Czech Republic in search of greater freedom. Her own journey to life in New Zealand, she said, has been about carrying on that quest.
“I fell in love with this overwhelming strong feeling of freedom when I came here [to New Zealand] the first time,” she said. “My parents left the Czech Republic for freedom, and I grew up with being very conscious about my freedom. My father, he understands how hard it is to travel and work, to build a new life in a new country.”
Denise traces her sense of responsibility as an artist back to her days as an industrial design student, where she was taught to create designs that could be made cheaply and sold for a high price.
With that, “I realized how this world functions and I didn’t like it,” she said. She gained an awareness that long production chains can mask the working conditions and environmental impact of a product designed to be a bargain.
“We do know what’s happening but we want to deny it,” she said. “Everybody is for fair trade if you ask them but when it comes to bargains, we like to forget how this low price is possible.”
Now, Denise is focused fully on truly responsible making. She makes many products herself and works with others locally so she can see the full production cycle with her own eyes. Next up, she’ll be collaborating with Raglan fashion designer Dominique le Courtois to screenprint her designs on clothing made from upcycled organic fabric.
We’re thrilled to showcase Denise’s work and were honoured to see the reflections she shared about collaborating with Debrasic:
Talking to Lauren, jewellery designer and owner of Debrasic, helps me to feel better about my very overwhelming dream to have equity in this world. . . Lauren and her energy gave me another boost. We talked about it how it is difficult to trust a long production chain, possibly overseas, to offer a product that truly has been produced in a fair work environment. But with producing locally, quality products we do get control, built competition locally, make trade work for our community, everybody wins. . . but it's up to you.
Thanks to Denise for bringing her inspiring perspective and amazing little worlds to Debrasic.