Phoebe Tims City Buzz

  • Tauira / Student
    Phoebe Tims
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Sonya Withers
  • School
    Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, Massey University

City Buzz is a printed textile collection that examines a lack of awareness around our urban wellbeing. Through a visual celebration of the city buzz, these textiles offer a new perspective on the often overwhelming experience of living in urban city environments.

This collection was created in response to a brief asking to identify and respond to issues of wellbeing through printed textile design. My focus on urban wellbeing examines the unique impact that cities and non-rural dwelling can have on inhabitants.

In my local Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington experience, I often see and feel an absence of awareness and understanding of urban wellbeing. Noisy, dense, a lack of nature, constant stimulation - the fast pace of city experiences can often be stressful. Urban wellbeing is increasingly relevant with more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas. We need to strengthen our understanding of how to care for ourselves and how to thrive in urban environments.

Through visual research of form, colour, texture, and pattern in the city, I came to be reminded of why I love urban dwelling. Despite stressors in city spaces, there is also so much to enjoy here! This collection confronts this tension. City Buzz is a visual and tactile reminder to care for our urban wellbeing, simultaneously celebrating the joys of the city and reminding us to care for our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing amidst often stressful urban environments.

Drawing on the array of shapes and colours found in cityscapes, I have interpreted these forms through a Bauhaus textile-inspired painting approach. Maximal colour, shape and scale in the collection’s key design illustrate urban energy. This abstract city construction captures the essence of a city without directly depicting it. Meanwhile, the coordinating designs offer a balance of other city aspects. Lively patchworks exist in unity next to calm, spacious, rhythmic designs. This playful and visually stimulating collection is united by strong repetition, bold geometry and colourful media.

Through the use of illustration and advanced repeat design methods for digitally printed textiles, City Buzz captures an optimistic lens on the bustling energy of city life. We are visually reminded to embrace the chaos as well as the creativity and opportunity found in cities and urban spaces. These textiles simultaneously acknowledge urban stress and shed colourful new light on how we can experience all that the city has to offer.