HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THIS TYPE OF WORK AND WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR EARLY EXPLORATION OF IT?
I was lucky enough to go to West Lake Boys High School, where there were several brilliant art teachers, Lyndon Smith and Dugald Page and Ralph Hotere would come on a Wednesday and gave us an art lesson as well. So that is when I really started to spend all my time painting and sculpting, making pottery. I also helped to build a kiln. I spent more time at school than at home.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED AND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT FACTORS DO YOU THINK AFFECTED THIS?
In the beginning I was influenced by other artists. I went to England and Europe in my early 20’s and visited as many art galleries and museums as I could to absorb the huge history of art that they have in Europe. I worked at the Auckland City Art Gallery for many years as an exhibitions Technician, which meant I set up all the exhibitions. This was an ideal job as I got to see the best and in my opinion the worst in art. In my late 30’s I spent some time in Los Angeles which was an amazing experience. Death Valley and The Grand Canyon are two places of awesome proportions. In my 40’s I went on several trips to Japan and this again was huge inspiration for me. The incredible age and beauty of Japanese culture compared to the newness of NZ. But over the years I have developed my own style which I call ‘Pacific Expressionism’. I think my style is a conglomeration of all I have seen and experienced in the last 63 years.
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHERE YOU WORK FROM? WHAT DO YOU FIND SPECIAL ABOUT LIVING OUT WEST?
In about 1992 my wife and I discovered a 10 acre property for sale off Lone Kauri Rd over looking the Tasman Ocean & that was it.We sold our house in town and moved to Karekare. We built a house and for the first time I had a proper studio, down a 100 metre track from the house where I can paint in complete peace, uninterrupted. I am surrounded by acres of native bush, with visiting Kereru drinking from a water container on my deck and flowering Clematis hanging in bunches from the giant Kanuka that surround my studio. I can sit on my deck and listen to the surf eternally pounding away on the West Coast beaches.
When I have had enough of painting I head out on my bicycle. Often I will ride over to Piha carry my bike up the track to Anawhata, then loop back to Karekare. Riding my bike is an ideal way for me to unwind but also absorb the landscape. In a car you don't get the sounds of the birds and the smells of the bush and you don't tend to stop and look at the view or head off down a track just to look at a giant Kauri. This is how I get my inspiration.
WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT TO SEE WHEN THEY POP BY YOUR STUDIO DURING OPEN STUDIOS WAITAKERE?
When people come to my studio I will be working on a painting. I also have numerous other works hanging up in my studio which I will happily talk about and also I have my many collections of things that interest me, too numerous to name, but I do like a good chat. Also my son Rudi, who does bronze casting and works with copper has his studio open and my wife Helga who makes jewellery will display her work for those who are interested.
NAME YOUR TOP 5 SECRET SPOTS YOU LIKE TO VISIT IN THE WAITAKERE RANGES?
Pararha Gorge is one of my favourite places. You can either walk in along the coast or start from Zion Ridge Track or Odlin’s Track, but remember this is a wild life sanctuary so no dogs. Another favourite place which is off Zion Ridge, is a giant fallen Puriri. This tree has fallen over many years ago but continued to grow and its root system is now vertical. There are many amazing waterfalls in the Waitakere Ranges, all of them are worth a visit. A lot of them you have to go off track and go up stream. I have ended up in some of the most magical places this way, but you have to have a good sense of direction. Sometimes I have been crashing around in the bush all day until I finally find my way out onto a recognisable road or track.