The Surface Active wildlife art of Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh

Since Chrissie and I were a kids we have been enthusiasts of the natural world and as design pARTners since 1985 our New Zealand nature wildlife art designs are an expression of this.

I finished four years of study in Graphic Design at Auckland Technical Institute in 1983. After a five year career as an advertising art director in Auckland, Christchurch, Hong Kong and Reykjavik I was equipped through illustration, graphic design, drawing and painting to achieve our aim of creating a variety of stimulating visual images that originate from the experiences and knowledge of the natural world that Chrissie and I bring to our collaborations. We create wildlife art of native birds, reptiles, mammals, insects, trees, plants and landscapes at locations all over New Zealand that I photograph, and we research the image libraries of renowned New Zealand wildlife photographers in search of reference for iconic imagery.


The Surface Active range of New Zealand nature t-shirt designs has been developed since the year 1985 when we first started screenprinting on the kitchen table in our flat, with frequent updates of new designs between 1988 to the present. We display our latest limited edition wildlife art prints using specialist room mock-up software. Please revisit every few weeks, I’m sure there will be some fresh images for you to look at. As full-time professionals 1988–2003 Chrissie and I designed over 100 original wildlife art designs with New Zealand, Antarctica and African “big five” megafauna themes. Since 2003 we have continued creating new designs and during lockdown 2020 and 2021 we created a new design every few weeks.

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Photo of a young man with a cup of coffee engaged in art print production with a red-billed gull, New Brighton pier sunrise composite illustration on the computer monitor of his iMac alonside a matching large format framed poster of the same print sitting on his desk. The headline is on the dark navy blue background of the wall and reads: “Let's celebrate our passion for New Zealand… on your wall. Surface Active wildlife art prints. Canvas & specialty papers available.”

Surface Active Wildlife Art Gallery Prints

Surface Active design pARTners Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh welcome orders to reproduce fine art prints from our collection of wildlife artworks, linked here. We provide archival/fine art quality reproduction prints of our works—perfect for your walls or as a gift. your walls or as a gift.

Our offering of limited edition wildlife art prints celebrating New Zealand nature is founded on two strong foundations:

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Three friends wearing Surface Active New Zealand nature t-shirts pose for a selfie beside New Brighton pier. Left to right the designs are Adelie penguins, paua and red-billed gull.

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.

November 2021

Dear Surface Dweller,

We’re excited to announce our two e-stores, the Surface Active <a

href=”https://www.surfaceactive.nz/?pr=PERFEC”>global store and the <a

href=”http://surfaceactive.digitees.co.nz/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>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.

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 5% discount, use promo code: “PERFEC”.

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A boy in a studio posing in a terracotta coloured weta New Zealand t-shirt.

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 5% discount that is applied automatically at checkout. Promo code: “PERFEC”.

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. Sale price: The NZ-based store prices are 10% discounted storewide.

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A woman wearing a dolphins leaping New Zealand t-shirt with her hair all over her face.

Dolphin watercolour print

Designed by Chrissie and I and printed in the USA and Europe. My new absolute fav dolphin watercolour ‘all-over’ teeshirt print. All purchases made using this link to the global store will receive a 5% discount, use promo code: “PERFEC”.

Or shop at our New Zealand-based store: Sale price, the price of all the goods in the NZ store are 10% discounted.

The colourful print of four common dolphins leaping is brought to life with a watercolour splash. Common dolphins (Delphinus delphus) are seen in Kaikoura mainly in the summer time. Kaikoura is one of the best places in New Zealand to view marine wildlife and rated as one of the best in the world to swim with dolphins.

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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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My kind of shellfish

Just for you a Paua Pacific t-shirt 10% off link is here, use promo code “ARTYKIWI.”

These black and navy tees with the double-sided Paua Pacific print are perfect for the summer. For a 10% discount use the promo code “ARTYKIWI” here:

Cool, clean Pacific waters produce the bright iridescent colours of the paua shell—a watery treasure of New Zealand to keep you cool. 

This art print is a composite of a charcoal drawing and hand-separated paua shell pattern printed in 6 colours which gives the paua design a shimmering quality. Illustration based on a photo by Rod Morris.

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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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New Zealand wildlife art t-shirt store

Celebrating the Surface Active artwear store launch with a sweet launch offer—10% off storewide

To celebrate the launch of Chrissie and my new collection of Surface Active New Zealand wildlife artwear t-shirt store we’d like to share a permanent storewide 10% discount offer. You can shop here to get your Surface Active teeshirts. Use the promo code “ARTYKIWI”.

So Chrissie and I have run our New Zealand wildlife art screenprinting company and clothing brand since 1985. Our brand is Surface Active—Artwear from New Zealand. As design pARTners we create wildlife T-shirts in the spirit of fun. Our subject matter is native flora & fauna, landscapes and Kiwiana—designs that celebrate some of the unique and beautiful assets of New Zealand, our country that we love.

We have had many requests to make our most popular T-shirt designs available again. So I made it my lockdown project to complete the job of launching our brand new Surface Active Teespring store.

From whales to wetas, paua to penguins—please browse through our store to see if there’s something for you.

All the best,

Design pARTners: Shaun Waugh (boss), Chrissie Terpstra (bossier)

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Mario, wild Orangutan, Borneo

The opportunity to capture wild Orangutan portraits was a rare treat


CAMP LEAKEY, TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK, BORNEO


ORANGUTAN ARE AN ALMOST exclusively arboreal species, so the glimpse we got of this teenage male named Mario, early in the morning from our riverboat before leaving the National Park, dipping in the river and posing like Tarzan on the ground just a few metres away, this was an extraordinary treat.
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