Monday, December 07, 2009

God's Gift

13 days until my exhibition and I've been hard at work creating velvet paintings; saving Jesus until last. You might be interested to see how a velvet painting is realised, so here are the steps (after I hand cut the board to shape, stretched velvet over it and backed it with felt). I just have his hair to finish and a bit of a starburst on his chest on which to place the velvet flaming heart.

So why velvet you ask? The very essence of 'low art'.

It goes back to viewing an exhibition at Te Papa in 2006 of Bernard Roundhill's work. Roundhill was an airbrush artist- in fact THE airbrush artist in New Zealand; he led the way. As a graduate from Wellington Polytechnic Design School in the early 80's, I did quite well with an airbrush myself. It was my main tool for illustration (oh the fruit I have illustrated for yoghurt cartons!) I was tickled to see that Roundhill painted velvet for a hobby, yes, stags on mountain tops, that sort of thing. I wondered if there was a more artistic way of using the medium, so I dusted off the old airbrush and played around with velour. Two successful exhibitions later, 23 pieces of velvet art sold and I'm hooked. I like to think of my work as an appropriation of low art- finding the humour within the medium... and in creating 'Jesus' I found it ironic just five minutes ago to find on google that Bernard Roundhill had been an enthusiastic Scientologist. There, he and I part artistic and spiritual company.

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