Four friends wearing four different Surface Active New Zealand nature t-shirts in a studio. L to R: Adelie penguins, Jewelled gecko, Kiwi icon light, Treefern.

Surface Active New Zealand nature tee stores

November 2021
Dear Surface Dweller,

We’re excited to announce our two e-stores, the Surface Active global store and the New Zealand-based store! To celebrate this significant stage in the development of our clothing brand we are rewarding our customers with a bonus.

🛍 NZ-based store: Sale price: The price of all the goods in the NZ store are 10% discounted.
🛍 Global store: Use code: “PERFEC” for 5% off your Global store purchase, storewide.

Global store: Adelie penguins, Jewelled gecko, and Kiwi iconic, light colour variant and Silver treefern/punga
NZ-based store: Adelie penguins, Jewelled gecko, and Dolphins leaping, Kaikoura.

Actively yours,

Shaun Waugh (boss), Chrissie Terpstra (bossier)

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Birds-eye view portrait of Surface Active t-shirt’s design pARTners, Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh, wearing Harlequin and Jewelled Gecko tees, against a white background, shot in a studio in 1996.

Surface Active: Making waves in a sea of sameness

Retrospective: Surface Active 1986–2003— t-shirts in the spirit of fun.

By Shaun Waugh, Surface Active—New Zealand wildlife art t-shirts | 29 September 2021
Shop for men, women and kids at our New Zealand-based store or our U.S./Europe-based worldwide store.

Surface Active well made in New Zealand t-shirt neck label.

Surface Active well made in New Zealand t-shirt neck label.

Back in 1986, as an illustrative graphic designer; I was a design pARTner with Chrissie Terpstra in our ‘auto printmaking’ garment screenprinting studio and clothing brand, Surface Active Artwear.

We learned over the next 17 years together aboard the good ship Free Enterprise, in what began as a shared hobby screenprinting on the kitchen table, that hand-pulled screenprinting is the medium of the hard labouring graphic artist. From the drawing board, to the darkroom, to the shirtfront with squeegee in hand, to folding great drifts of cotton, employing up to four people, manning our stalls at the weekend Christchurch Arts Centre Market, The Waiheke Island market and The Great New Zealand Craftshows from Cape Reinga to Bluff… busy, busy, busy.

Overview

Of course we were big fans of the humble t-shirt. By the mid 1980s they had become hot promotional items, garments on the outskirts of fashion, and a relatively new medium for the Graphic Designer’s art. What had for a long time been considered a poor medium for Graphic Design grew to an almost essential one.

All you have to do is walk down the street anywhere in the world since the early 80s to see what a ubiquitous promotional vehicle they have become.

Back in the day, if you mailed out 100 potential clients a direct mail brochure perhaps 200 people will see it. But mail out, or better yet, sell 100 T-shirts, and assuming they’re at all decent looking, you launch 100 walking billboards.

Keep on reading!

Tree fern, New Zealand t-shirt

Feel like a walk in the forest downunder? It’s hard to avoid the familiar sight of tree ferns, or punga, no matter where you go in New Zealand. Cool and bushy, this attractively umbrellarific all-over printed t-shirt design is repeated on the shirt back. Available in adult sizes XS–3XL on forest green or black shirts.

Shop using this link to the treefern design in our store to receive a 10% discount, use promo code: “ARTYKIWI”.

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Weta New Zealand. Insect dinosaur.

Celebrate your love for nature and wildlife with this art print featuring New Zealand’s largest native insect, the weta. Don’t say “oooh!”, say “aaah!” for this is one of the best-looking weta you’ll ever see. The recently rediscovered Bluff weta can be found in scree and on rocky bluffs at Mt Somers in North Canterbury, and all over this t-shirt.

Designed by Chrissie and I and printed in the USA and Europe. Available as an ‘all-over’ teeshirt design for adults, and a two-sided placement print design version for adults and kids.

All purchases storewide made using this link to the weta design will receive a 10% discount that is applied automatically at checkout. Promo code: ARTYKIWI.

For our New Zealand customers we have established this Digitees Surface Active store so your weta t-shirts can be printed in New Zealand, with a fast turnaround, shipping in 3–5 days + courier, and bulk order discounts are automatically applied if you order more than five items.

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Spotted shags are the best kind

Storewide 10% off, shop here, use promo code “ARTYKIWI.”

This t-shirt wildlife art print features a trio of Banks Peninsula spotted shags during breeding season, when nature gets heavy-handed with blue-green makeup and punk hair-dos. It is a multimedia design featuring a woodcut portrait of the birds and an airbrushed sky.

With their distinctive spotted feathers, bright blue-green colouring and tufted crests, these spotted shags/parekareka are thinking of romance (and fish.) What else does a shag do in it’s pre-nuptial plumage?

Shop for the double-sided version here with the big print on the back, and the single-sided version here with the big print on the front.

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Awesome New Zealand nature inspired t-shirts

Surface Active storewide 10% off, storewide, here, use promo code “ARTYKIWI.”

What a way to spend lockdown! As Surface Active’s graphic designer I built this new collection of awesome New Zealand Nature Inspired T-shirts from a mix of our legacy drawings, photolitho artwork and some new hand-rendered digital illustrations.

To celebrate the launch of Chrissie and my new store we’d like to share a storewide 10% discount offer. You can shop here https://surface-active.myteespring.co/?pr=ARTYKIWI to get your Surface Active teeshirts, use promo code “ARTYKIWI.”

The jewelled gecko is available here, and the kiwi is available here.

Surface Active: making waves in a sea of sameness.

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Orana Park Chapman’s Zebra screen prints on front and back of a navy T-shirt

Wildlife Park T-shirts for Africa

Our 1992 competition winners, a range of wildlife art t-shirts that celebrate an international wildlife conservation success story: Orana’s African savannah top five


ORANA WILDLIFE PARK, MCLEANS ISLAND, CHRISTCHURCH


The retail market of the garment trade is tough, for an open range zoo like Orana Park, with one foot in the quality recreational experience sector and the other in the tourism sector, trading is highly seasonal. The competition for the customer’s discretionary spending dollar and the fact the park is a charitable trust that generates 95% of its income from gate takings and their ‘Trading Post’, demanded that the very best way of developing the Park’s new T-shirt range be used for this custom T-shirt design and print project.
Keep on reading!

‘Jewel Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric.

Jewelled Gecko: lifelike graphics make a vivid impression

Surface Active | Making waves in a sea of sameness.

Hyper-real graphics like the Jewel Gecko make a vivid impression. Why? Because people relate to them! Dramatic lifelike renderings of wildlife produce a prompt and typically positive response in a person’s mind. People relate to real things and enjoy them most. It is the route to why people relate to many of our eye-catching and impactful “SurfaceActive” wildlife-art-to-wear designs.

How did we do it? The technique of colour separating this design by hand involved breaking it down into eight separate designs, from which the screens are made. The separations are printed over each other, in layers to create the original hand screenprinted design. This crafty route is the only way to achieve the unparalleled vivid impression of the design.

It helps that beauty is permanent

Fashions come and go, then come around again, but the fundamentals stay. The inspiration for the designs came from getting to know superlative alpine/wildlife photographer Colin Monteith, and renowned wildlife photographer Rod Morris. We visited their image libraries to cherrypick the most beautiful jewels in their amazing archives that we could see had the potential to be developed into hand-separated wildlife art screen gems.
Keep on reading!

‘Tuatara - Sphenodon Punctatus’ portrait T-shirt front

Fuss, fuss, fuss: How this Tuatara drawing evolves

This terrific Tuatara illustrative design work evolves by focussing on the details, this is quite common

Surface Active made in Aotearoa, T-shirts main neck label.

Surface Active Wildlife art – making waves in a sea of sameness.

To make digital art of New Zealand’s Tuatara, that has the look and feel of a natural line drawing, the editing, fussing process can take hours and while it isn’t easy it is a great deal of fun. I take pleasure in design and I enjoy using the computer to draw with the stylus, inking over the scan just as easily as I would with traditional pen and ink. The production of design work is an incredible drill when you are doing your utmost to make it terrific. I do my utmost to make sure that every design project I work on is mega.
Keep on reading!

portrait with the fetching Stronger Chrischurch ballerina backdrop in Armagh Street, May 2015.

The rise & rise of Christchurch street art

Watch This Space logo design contest entry

Popular Urban Art or vandalism of private property? That thorny contention was settled unequivocally in post-quake Christchurch 2011. What now is considered pro-social and broadly popular urban art has morphed out of counter culture to become one of the totems of the fine art world. The gallery showcases my comp entry and a selection from my Stronger Christchurch, and Rise street art photo libraries.

Front cover Watch This Space logo presentation document

The front cover of my Watch This Space logo presentation document depicts the logo visualised screenprinted onto the back of a woman’s red hoodie garment.

Since the 2011 earthquakes Street Art is emerging all over the central city of Christchurch, like life it finds a way to vitalize empty sections and animate the bare walls that dominate the landscape with vibrant colour and youthful design.
Keep on reading!

Jewelled Gecko Giclée on white background, A1 size. Illustration, New Zealand wildlife art.

Lifelike gecko wildlife art print

Jewelled Gecko limited edition large format art print

Surface Active garment label embroidered

Surface Active | Making waves in a sea of sameness

Surface Active is an auto-printmaking design pARTnership established in 1986 by Shaun Waugh (boss) Chrissie Terpstra (bossier). Between 1986–2002 we were committed to producing original & indigenous designs of the highest design and screenprinting standards.

The technique of colour separating this design by hand involved breaking it down into eight separate designs, from which the screens are made. The separations are printed over each other, in layers to create the original hand screenprinted design. This crafty route is the only way to achieve the unparalleled vivid impression of the design.
Keep on reading!