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Balcony sessions, fashion shows, and clay making. Sector 22 are the mates you didn’t know you needed. Hannah Mahon meets the creatives at 22 Garrett Street.
At school, we dreaded “group projects” knowing how ugly collaborating can get: people taking sides without offering solutions, and work being held hostage by someone else’s effort (or lack thereof). But a group of creatives is showing us that despite some unavoidable drama, working collectively can lead to success.
Sector 22 is a Wellington hangout spot for artists who differ in age, ethnicity, and skills. It provides an affordable space in the CBD to work on projects, collaborate, eat some yakitori and benefit from the encouragement of like-minded creatives.
1. Elaine & Zuyi Woon
Coffee roasters and connoisseurs
It’s hard to slow down in a fast-paced world, but for Elaine and Zuyi living an analogue life means taking their time and appreciating the process, especially when it comes to making coffee and yakitori. They believe that beauty comes from flaws and imperfections. The manual coffee brewing aficionados and owners of Pour and Twist, on Garrett St, are working towards launching their own brand of coffee beans.
2. Stef Muyco
DJ “Stefrose” and photographer
“Always a student,” is a line that resonates with Stef, who believes there is always more to learn. Observing other DJs motivates them to improve and stay on top of their game. In their portrait photography, their aim is to represent the people of her BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) community and to give them more visibility.
3. Breanne Gillespie
Painter who dabbles in sculpting with air dry clay
Painting is a way for Canadian Breanne to distract herself and focus without feeling stressed. Having reached a point where she can dedicate all her energy to doing what she loves, she says she has knuckled down to become the serious artist that her young self never believed she’d be good enough to be.
4. Bailey Gibson-Hood
Co-founder of Sector 22 and vintage hat seller
After losing his favourite hat in the Marlborough Sounds, Bailey went on a rampage and before long had purchased four hundred hats online. With more hats than he could wear, he started his vintage hat sales business Hookitupcuz. Having found a studio with lots of extra space, he proceeded to round up a group of interested friends, and Sector 22 was created.
5. Coltraine “Cole” Bowden
Graphic designer and co-runner of New Life Studios
Cole’s father is a graphic designer and maker of television commercials, so it is no surprise that Cole has chosen a creative field. He experiments with various design mediums and also runs New Life Studios which encourages collaboration with other artists and designers, and provides an environment for them to develop and thrive in.
6. James Warrender
Artist, painter and co-runner of New Life Studios
Achieving the “wow factor” and leaving “people wondering what they’ve seen”’ is James’ goal when creating art. His expressionist work tells stories about life and current events as he sees them. His other project New Life Studios is a platform for helping young designers to collaborate and network. They produce fashion shows that showcase local fashion designers.
7. Peter Lai
Peter uses the studio as his office, a good place to get things done while connecting with others. Budding entrepreneur Peter says working alongside others in the building has helped him understand what he wants to do and how he’s going to get there. The optimistic, risk-taking ethos of creatives helps balance his more logical-thinking self.
8. Aeron Balgemino
Designer and co-founder of Sector 22
Aeron likes to showcase fashion as an art form. Making high-quality pieces made from leather, wool, linen and other natural materials, Aeron is working towards his first womenswear collection. He grew up in the Philippines, which he aims to reflect in his work by marrying pre-colonial-era and modern-era clothing. He’s interested in branching out into other design areas such as upholstery, furniture, and music.
9. Fergus McClellan
A little bit of everything; furniture maker, rug puncher, graphic designer and t-shirt maker
Rather than hone in on a single area of design, Fergus prefers to have his fingers in lots of pies. Wet Paint is his brand name for his pieces of art and new and upcycled furniture. Paint is an acronym for Providing An Interesting New Tomorrow. He sees it as merging industries to create new products for the future.
10. Jack Ritchie
Lockdown created many babies, including Jack’s blooming business. After tumbling down a YouTube rabbit hole at home in Mount Cook, he discovered the joys of jewellery making. His new hobby gave birth to 1921 Jewellery, which he sells online and in stores.
11. Joshua ‘Shush’ Crosland (not pictured)
Photographer, videographer, producer and DJ
Thanks to a mispronunciation, Josh became Shush, and his nickname has become a personality and stage name for his creative work. He enjoys transforming his ideas into reality and says he is interested in the journey rather than concerning himself with the destination, just as long as he gets New Zealand on the map.