Tanya Marriott

Tanya Marriott

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Tanya Marriott is multidisciplinary designer who works in a variety of media including interactive design and play, character and toy design, experience design and animation. Her work seeks to build meaningful experiences and storytelling opportunities between digital and tangible activities.

She in an internationally recognised figurative sculptor in the area of doll and toy design, and is the President Emeritus of the National Institute of American Doll Artists and an alumna of the Pictoplasma academy.

Tanya teaches concept design, toy, play and game design, animation and illustration, and is program coordinator for the Weta Workshop School at Massey University. Tanya has just started her PhD “Wild Play” An exploration in character toy play within natural environments.

  • Expertise

    Concept design, Character design, doll and toy design, experience design, play theory, game design, animation and industrial design.

  • Research Highlights

    Kakatrope (2015)

    Kakatrope, an innovative 3D printed Zoetrope, explores animated storytelling through kinetic sculpture. Immersive storytelling is applied to a moving object through character performance and allegory within tangible animation.

    The work seeks to build public awareness of the New Zealand island reserve, the interventionist role of pioneering conservationist Richard Henry in Kakapo conservation, and the history of wildlife predation in NZ. Kakatrope was commissioned for the Pictoplasma All Stars exhibition in Berlin (Germany).

    The work was selected by Scientifica, in collaboration with the London Science Museum, for inclusion in the Future of 3D printing exhibition, Brasov, (Romania) The Prague Doll Festival (Czech Republic); and Aotearoa Fantastical (NZ)

    The Moose of Fiordland (2016)

    The Moose of Fiordland explores the doll as a storytelling device for eco-fiction narratives and references a pop-surreal design schema, where the work itself forms a critique on our human perception of nature and questions our assumptions around the representation of wildlife.

    The doll visualises a dual narrative: a moose in Fiordland shown as a displaced cryptid, contrasted with Richard Henry, a pioneering conservationist self- tasked with saving the Kakapo, as a discourse on dual disrupted ecosystems. The work was exhibited at the Dolls as Storytellers exhibition in Petaluma (USA) the Riga Professional Doll Festival (Latvia) and throughout New Zealand. Published in journals Fabricate, Art Doll Quarterly, and Creative Quarterly and NZ fantasy art anthology White Cloud Worlds.

    The Rakiura Quest (2017)

    The Rakiura Quest explores the doll and toy as a storytelling device for eco-fiction narratives, and references a pop-surreal design schema in which the works themselves form a critique on our human perception of nature and ask us to question our assumptions around the represented creatures.

    Ecosystems once prevalent within New Zealand are now overrun with predators and the trappings of human infrastructure. The resulting 3D printed toys and dolls were created in response to New Zealand's canonical story of Kakapo conservation.The work was selected for exhibition by Stranger Factory toy makers of planet earth exhibition (USA) and published in NZ fantasy art anthology White Cloud Worlds.

    The Journey of Richard Henry (2017)

    The Journey of Richard Henry is an exploration into Automata as a storytelling device, using contemporary digital fabrication and 3D printing techniques as methods of making. The tangible engagement between user and automata exposes a narrative within the rituals of movement which activate the object.

    The automata were created in response to Aotearoa New Zealand's canonical story of Kakapo conservation, with each automata focusing on key moments found in Richard Henry's journals while on Resolution Island, including the collection of Kakapo, re-establishment of populations, and the perils of predation.

    The work was selected by Scientifica, in collaboration with the London Science Museum, for inclusion in the Future of 3D printing exhibition, Brasov, (Romania). The work was also exhibited at Pictoplasma (Germany), and the Prague Doll Festival (Czech Republic)

    TweetMe (2012)

    TweetMe is an interactive forest which seeks to create a dialogue about New Zealand bird ecology with members of the public, through the use of augmented technology. Interaction with digitally augmented tangible artefacts provides alternative forms of playful experience generation and storytelling. TweetMe has been exhibited at Makertorium at Te Papa Tongarewa and Wild at New Zealand wildlife week at Pataka. TweetMe was awarded Bronze in the 2012 DINZ Best Awards and a Red Dot Concept award in 2016.

  • Qualifications

    BDes (Massey University)
    Grad Dip Illustration (Massey University)
    MDes (Massey University)

  • Professional Affiliations

    National Institute of American Doll Artists (president)
    White Cloud Worlds (artist member)
    War History Heritage Art and Memory Research Network (WHAM) (founding member)
    Member of the Society of Animation Studies (SAS)