This publication celebrates the successes of Art Compass and it’s participating artists during the last five years. The artists included in this publication are the artists present during the last semester of the studio’s operation in 2006. Many more have practiced their art in the studio over the years.

The main language used in this publication is visual language, the innate language of the participants at Art Compass. An intellectual impairment can make it difficult or even impossible to learn spoken and written language, yet some have learnt sufficient spoken and written language, which at best, allows them to survive in our world.

What is evident from the following pages is that all artists have the ability to express themselves using visual language, have stories to tell and a culture to express. Successful exhibitions of participant’s art have surprised many people including their closest friends and family.

Sales of prints and original art have proven the economic value of participants work. Applications of their art as graphic design for publications, T-shirts, furniture and buildings prove that their work has economic potential beyond the sale of the artwork itself. The response from the general public to the T-shirts proves that their art and designs are ‘cool’ and desirable. It is beyond reasonable doubt that they have something unique and marketable to offer to the community at large.

Seeing the artists in action at the studio has left many visitors stunned. They are pleasantly surprised by the display of work ethic, concentration and dedication by the artists. They thrive in the studio environment. The side effects of this are hugely improved sense of identity, self-esteem and personal growth that effortlessly spills over to other areas of their lives.

People with intellectual disabilities are seldom provided with opportunities to study, develop or use visual language and explore its potential. That is what Art Compass set out to provide during the last five years. The key to the success of the studio lies in simple but essential principles; we observe and listen; take their aspirations and stories seriously and allow them to freely express themselves. Only then can we begin to attempt facilitation.

It is about ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing or caring for’ and providing appropriate challenges to stimulate artistic development. Where there is artistic development personal growth follows naturally.

Art Compass studio is unfortunately closing. The success of the studio has not been matched by sufficient financial support or investment from government agencies to take the potential of the artists any further. There is still so much untapped potential and so much work to be done to provide artists with intellectual disabilities the place in society they deserve. Until such time they will remain socially, culturally and economically marginalized, their potential will remain dormant at a great human and financial cost to the individuals involved, those that are part of their lives and society art large.

A variety of ways have been explored at Art Compass on how art and creativity of the artists can be employed as a tool for social, cultural and economical integration. The following pages highlight some of the achievements of the artists and the facilitators that worked with them over the years. For the rest we will let the art do the talking. After all, art is a language and for these artists perhaps their first language.

Marcel Baaijens
Programme Director and Art facilitator
Art Compass
New Zealand

Title Page

Beyond Reasonable Doubt

A publication produced by

Art Compass Studio-Gallery
132 Tory Street
New Zealand

ISBN 0-473-11034-2
Copyright 2006 Art Compass
(sorry, not available in print)

Format design: Michael Hobbs
Overall design: Brooke Dallimore
Text: Brooke Dallimore and Marcel Baaijens
Blogging: Marcel Baaijens


Special thanks to:

The artist featuring in this publication:
Yelena Barbalich, Emmet Dale, Tamzin Hine,
Claire Hargreaves, Damian Miliszewski, Vicky Dooly, Francis (Brendan) Crosbie, Miss Amy Szostak Special Star, David Barnard, Jeff Dixon, Laura Heider and Daniel Philips.

The art facilitators who worked at Art Compass:
Past: Chris Barrant, Michael Apathy, Luke Savage,
Michael (Boofa) Hobbs
Present: Brooke Dallimore and Marcel Baaijens

The board of trustees and advisors to the board:
Joan barbalich, John Di Stefano, Marcel Baaijens, Jan Dowland, Elizabeth Goodwyn, Sarah Maxey, Peter Dixon.

The primary sponsors of Art Compass:
The Sisters of Compassion

Many others have supported Art Compass over the years, volunteers, cleaners, administrative staff at the Compassion Centre, benefactors, Community Accounting Mentoring Scheme, colleagues working in the industry for other organizations, Arts Access Aotearoa, funding agencies staff, parents of participants etc., etc. Without all your help we would not have been able to come as far as we have.

Yelena Barbalich

Yelena can barely write her name, yet she ‘writes’ intricate patterns. It is evident by looking at her extensive body of work that Yelena is driven to make art. She never erases or reworks and accepts her art as it naturally flows out of her with complete confidence and great satisfaction.

Her work has been used in graphic designs for a government policy document, an annual report, light fittings and features on the cover of a book and the glass front doors of a commercial building (100 Tory Street, Wellington).

Vicky Dooley

Vicki’s art is bright and dynamic!. Her trademark paintings of tall buildings have evolved into sculptural works, creating a little city of terracotta buildings. As well as these works of Architecture Vicki explores subjects such as Clowns and Flowers. Her simple compositions are bold, vibrant and full of joy just like Vicky.

The use of computer design software as a medium brought out different qualities in her work. The level of depth, complexity of composition and variety in colours used, changed drastically through the use of this new media.

The software enables her to employ generic shapes and brush tools to create complex layers, sophisticated patterns and compositions. It also enabled her to demonstrate abilities that were invisible before.

Tamzin Hine

Tamzin takes ordinary paper, embellishes it from end to end, and makes it extra-ordinary. It is as if she has taken on the duty of changing the world of plain paper. Maybe a mission impossible but definitely a labour of love.

How can there ever be enough hearts in this world? If she were in charge, the world would definitely look different from the one we have created. Will she ever be appreciated for her mission?

Judging by the number of T-shirts sold with her cool designs called ‘punk’, ‘horsing around’ and ‘platypus’, there is no doubt that she deserves a medal. She most likely will remain unphased by any medal and just carry on with her labour of love, and embellishing the world until there is no ordinary world left.

Sarah Straker

Sarah has a real commitment to her work that can be seen in her attention to detail and line quality. Since her recent arrival at the studio she has quickly developed a unique style that is bold, fun and vibrant.

Her choice of a fluorescent palette make her detailed patterns glow, a glow that appeared not only in her art but also in Sarah.

Having access to art making and being allowed to engage in a creative process has definitely stimulated growth and development in Sarah.

Laura Heider

Laura makes art with poise and grace. She carefully composes
art as an extension of her world. There is meaning to every line,
shape and pattern she creates, a story to every drawing.

Reoccurring symbols can be seen throughout her work,
disappearing then reemerging in different layers, colours and
contexts. Beings so different from us, plants, giant mushrooms,
energy fields, organic patterns, cultures; they make one wonder
where she might be from.

Each work is an important code, symbol or map that guides us
intimately closer to the invisible and mysterious world that only she
has knowledge of.

Jeff Dixon

Jeff’s art is a messenger compelling us to open our minds and look beyond the prognosis of a medical disability assessment. Give him a crayon and he will draw a train like a kid. Give him a computer with sophisticated design software and the dormant graphic designer will ignite like fireworks leaving viewers awestruck. He does not create art for anyone except him self, but takes great delight when others are touched by his talent.

Access to digital media that match and challenge Jeff abilities drastically transformed his short attention span into a dedicated work ethic.

His popular prints of trains and ‘trains of trains’ adorn many kids rooms. His graphic designs are worn as hip limited edition T-shirts.

Francis Crosbie

Ask Francis Crosby to choose a colour and he will say “grey!”. So we gave him grey, until we discovered that he calls all colours grey. We now ask, “which grey Francis?”, to which he replies by pointing to the colour of his choice and saying “this grey”.

Francis draws letters creating poetic patterns rather than a language that communicates thought.

Scale is no issue for him, creating work that range from miniature scripts to 6 meter long scrolls. Give him a spay can and he would happily graffiti the entire city.

His work has been used for graphic design purposes in a government policy document.

Emmet Dale

Emmet has a full-time job. Once a week he is an artist playfully creating and reworking abstract fields of colour. It was a rare figurative image that instantly elevated Emmet from a regular guy to a much appreciated artist/designer. His simple expressive ‘volcano’[sic] image became one of the most popular T-shirt designs of our collection.

It was snapped up by tourists as a souvenir, by locals as a gift from New Zealand or proudly worn by themselves. The ‘volcano’[sic] is now traveling around the globe representing our country, making Kiwis, including Emmet, proud.

Damian Milizewski

Damian’s process of self-discovery gained momentum when the option to digitally manipulate images of himself was made available to him. The process extracted emotions he had difficulty expressing. Instead of living his life vicariously through the lives of his super-wrestling heroes, he is now acknowledging his experience of life as a valid one.

Images, symbols and words representing fragments of his life were brought together in a collage. The process strengthened his sense of self, self-esteem and artist identity. A rich and intriguing representation of Damian emerged that placed him at the centre of his own life. The collage of his past presents a way forward not just for Damian, but also for those who share his life.

Details of his collage became the foundation for a T-shirts design
popular with young males.

Daniel Philips

“Happy/calm and positive and relaxed, no stress anyone is not annoying me anymore, no worries. I like being in the 30’s, 31, 32 ,32 ,34 ,35, 36, 37, 37, 38, 39, 40’s, Birthday and I like everything I am so good on everything. Melissa will not annoy me anymore. Called a pattern/design, zigzag and shapes.”

Daniel captures the world as he perceives it. He is quick, driven, and seems to know exactly what it will look like when it is finished.
Naming his art is essential and very much part his creative process.

He has won an award in the IHC/Telecom national Art Awards.

David Barnard

Clay, pencil, water colour, Photoshop and Illustrator are David’s favourite media to explore an equally interesting variety of topics such as trains, Lighthouses, snake charmers, nightclubs and pretty girls. He really excels on the computer that allows his creative intelligence to come to forward.

David summarises his work with great titles such as ‘The dark haired chick in the blue hazy nightclub’, or ‘ Jaffa Nightclub’. Whether it’s the gazing eyes of a woman, glowing amber sunsets, electric storms or exotic flutes, David has a tale to tell as if he a wise old man who has traveled the world and lived an epic life that most of us only dare to dream of.

Claire Hargreaves

Claire takes art seriously. She uses art to document her past and present feelings, her experiences in life, and expresses her appreciation of beauty in flowers, gardens, shells, beaches and an array of animal life.

Claire visually relays her experiences of her interactions with these subjects with a sense of delicacy and care. Through her careful choice of media she captures the quality of her experiences; soft pastel colours relay her delicate experiences, bold stokes with a paintbrush the time she got an electric shock.

She used to paint art on furniture at a successful workshop in England before she came to New Zealand. She sure would welcome an opportunity to do so again.

Amy Szostak

Rape, Morten Harket (lead singer from 80’s euro pop sensation A’ha), Edward Moench’s ‘The Scream’, Viking pillagers, Lesbians, Michael Jackson, Sex Slaves! Most artists would find it very difficult to tackle these subjects with such an unsubtle humour.

Amy’s knack for shocking her audience without leaving a nasty taste in the mouth is her gift. Her art is both beautiful and crude, sad and funny, dark and joyous. Fantasy, biography, autobiography and historic tales are layered with humour in the stories and songs she writes and illustrates. Her style is without doubt unique.

She has twice been an IHC/Telecom national finalist. With numerous TV appearances, media attention, her own radio show and a book in progress, she is a star in the making. She is a greatly admired outsider artist who has a following of collectors.