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Harrison's Story – As an Artist living in Tweedheads NSW

At the young age of 14 Harrison left home, and started his training as an apprentice chef in New Zealand. After 28 years, his reputation as an international Chef grew. But he'd always harboured a dream - to give form to his many other artistic skills. So Harrison finally took that tremendous leap of faith many of us long to do. He swapped professional security for creative fulfilment. And after three long years, it paid off. In late February 2007, Neki Designs was launched on the international market.

Of course all dreams need funding, so a day job had to be found. For Harrison, it was the mining industry. But the surprise bonus was the awe-inspiriting atmosphere of working Underground.

With no experience in the mining industry, how did you get your start?
Training was provided on site, which I thought was fantastic. So I dived in and after two weeks I was driving 100 ton trucks Down Underground. Wow. What an adrenaline rush. That certainly provided the challenge I was looking for! This is the first series of your collection, named Comic Mining Art 'Underground DownUnder'.
How did you to create these Characters?
When Underground back then, there was times when you have to hold and wait for other trucks to be loaded; or other mining delays. During these wait periods you have to shut down until all is clear before you move on again. That's when I would use the back of my trucking sheets as a sketch pad, and start drawing what I saw and felt around me. With time, my work evolved, to the point where I began to imagine the drawings in 3D and thought what if.....?
Is that when you started to sculpt in clay?
Yes. I worked with Super Sculpey as it had to be easy to transport able to hold its form. On breaks from being underground I would touch up the sculptures; bake them in a normal oven, then rewrap and take it back to site to be painted.

You have ten characters in the First Collection plus one of you?
That's correct. I have shaped and named the Characters based on nicknames and characters of the miners that I've had the pleasure working with.
Your Characters in the beginning were launched in Sydney (GHA Australia) Gift Fair in late February 2007?
Yeah...after much hard work, late nights and I must say, some sacrifice – it was amazing to see my work and dreams being unveiled and showcased for the Australian and now the World Mining Industry
So, you're already designing your next collection? Do you have a name for the new designs?
Yes. This Second series will again be based on the mining industry and it will be called 'Down in the Pitz which is due to be released.
The release of” Down in the Pitz” series which includes the Loader – along with the newest lines of mining caricatures including the lamp as seen on my website, Also the latest of my very newest works” Rugby Union trophies” another side line yet to be released and very similar to the Firemen, Golfing and fishermen series . I am looking for word to the release of all new and old works in early 2016 along with “Down in the Pitz” series.

Will there be other designs in your Collections?
Sure thing! I have designed and planned to create a third series which will include A Jumbo, Truck, Fitters Ute, Troop Carrier, and Service Crew IT crammed with servicemen and more Rugby trophies. Keep an eye out for these newest items, I am so excited and can’t wait to start creating again.

Harrison, thank you and we can't wait for the relaunch and your latest releases to arrive.