Welcome to the website, I will be posting upcoming events and exhibitions as they become confirmed. In this section are articles and items of interest in a chronological order from top (newest) to bottom (older posts).

Pocket Edition - new works

15/11/17

‘Pocket Edition. Small Works for Large Walls’

10 new small works exploring the Pestfree movement in New Zealand.

NorthArt
27 November – 21 December
Opening Sunday 26th 4pm -6pm
Norman King Square, Ernie Mays Street, Northcote, Auckland 0627, New Zealand

NEW PRINTS

15/11/17

A range of 14 new prints are here!
Just in time for Chrissy, some imagery of kiwi life for kiwi people, by a kiwi bloke.
Have a look and see what there is... did I mention that Christmas is just around the corner!

new 2017 prints

New Website layout

15/11/17

Time to dust off the website and give it a new lick of paint. I've moved things about a little, to hopefully make it easier to use. Along with some new sections it has been simplified.

Please let me know if you stray across any issues and I will bring them into line smartly.

Isles of Dreams

6/11/17

Good contemporary realist art should tell us something more than photography can do. Paradoxically, there are several types of realism, such a photorealism, hyperrealism and surrealism. I am most keen on the later, because it allows room for the viewer's own dreams and imaginings to join those of the artist. So, when I saw Barry Ross Smith's new paintings I got very excited. His past work depicting animals, people and objects has been highly competent, but somewhat too close to the photographic for my taste. Now his ability to paint anything has enabled him to produce a remarkable set of fantasy islands, impossible but totally convincing. The perspective is uncannily accurate. Some, like the one illustrated, are holiday havens. How we would love to step ashore from a dingy onto these scenic gems! Others are covered improbably with urban villas. Access to these is more difficult - one senses that uninvited guests may not be welcome.


by Warwick Brown in the NZ Home & Garden November issue

Tim Winton book covers

2/06/17

Penguin Random House Australia approached me with a request to use a few of my paintings for the second editions of Tim Winton’s 3 non fiction titles, The Boy Behind the Curtain, Island Home (pictured) and Land’s Edge.


He writes: Tim came to me with your beautiful piece The Bach as a suggestion when I started out on the project. He loves your work, and I could see immediately how it resonates with his writing. I’m not sure how (or even if) familiar with Tim’s work you are, but much of it is based on the Western Australian coast (where Tim still lives), and The Bach seemed a wonderful fit. As I developed concepts for the other 2 books, it just seemed logical to try a set of concepts using your wonderful art, which, thoroughly unsurprisingly, everyone (by which I mean internally here at Penguin…publishing, sales, marketing, and more importantly, Tim) has fallen in love with.

You can buy these books here:
Island Home
The Boy Behind the Curtain
Land's Edge

Art of the Week

11/03/17

Art of the week mention in the NZ Herald by T J McNamara.


The segment reads:
The archetypal New Zealand colonial house, with bay window and gabled front, has fascinated many painters. In the Village, Barry Ross Smith has created a surrealistic variation.
All surrealism contains the sharpness of detail characteristic of a dream and here the isolation, the sunset and light in the door and window emphasise the dreamlike atmosphere. There is a hint of Belgian artist Magritte but this is a very local image.


T J McNamara

Archipelago - solo show at NKB Gallery

22/02/17

10 new paintings along the theme of small islands
archipelago

: a sea or stretch of water having many islands.
There is a saying; you can’t enter the same river twice because new water is always flowing.

You could also ask, what makes an island, an island? Is it the vast expanse of ocean that surrounds it, its location next to a larger continent or the land itself protruding above the tide-line? The ocean that surrounds us has currents that encompass the entire globe, and all of the land and islands that we can see and inhabit, are connected by the earth itself, the earth beneath our feet.


This series presents a variety of isolated islands, surveying a range of wild and domestic habitations. In each painting the oceans differ - the sky, the environment, the inhabitants, the time of day - all vary. They are a string of islands in flux; connected by change, demand and the relentless course of history and culture. The paintings can be viewed as theatrical tableau, reflective spaces, which highlight mankind’s communion with land, beast and the encompassing ocean.




photo courtesy of artsdiary.co.nz.
 
NKB GALLERY
photo: artsdiary.co.nz

100 Days Project 2016

24/08/16

It's happening again.....
The 100 Days Project is simple.

Choose one creative exercise, and then repeat it every day for 100 days.

Record each daily effort and see what evolves in the work and in the self over time.

In 2011 Emma Rogan decided to start a 100 Days Project after reading about Michael Bierut’s ‘100 Days of Design’ class at Yale. She invited others to join her and word of the project spread. Since inception hundreds of people have participated in the project.
The project gives anyone a framework and the permission to be creative. It challenges you to dig deep into your creative reserves, to rely on your readiness to work in order to achieve creative breakthrough. It can be an end to procrastination, and the development of resilience. It takes a lot of energy, and yet the rewards can resonate for a long time after the 100th Day is over.

Here is the 100 Day Project website

PA Issue #70 (50 Memorable Painters)

21/12/15

End of the 2015 year issue of Poets & Artists, curated by John Seed and Didi Melendez.

Here is a link to the issue, which you can have a look at online or it is available for digital purchase There are some of my favourite contemporary painters, along with examples of their works.

Hibiscus & Bays Art Award win

30/11/15

I managed to win the premier award for this painting of my daughter. The judge was T J McNamara - art critic and writer for the NZ Herald.
The painting is after Jacques-Louis David's paintings titled: Napoleon Crossing the Alps, with my daughter in the lead role. I painted it as a gift, not just for my daughter, but for her children, and their children. setting up a continuity and family history. Now, what am I going to paint for my other daughter!

I painted it to reference my daughters innocence (she is eleven years old) just as she outgrew such things. The Napoleon reference I think plays with her personality (Napoleon was the subject of David's five paintings of him) and the Neapolitan ice-cream is a pun with his name.
Here is the image

Image Vault burns in suspected arson attack

29/11/15

Image vault has been holding my prints for the past 12 years. Sadly all of their stock has been destroyed.

Arsonists shoved a flaming object through a mailbox slot at a Christchurch business before it was razed by fire, its owner says. Image Vault owner Carl Collins and his partner Nicola Church's Ferry Rd business was "completely destroyed" after a fire about 4.10am on Thursday, Nov 2015. A security guard discovered the fire in the two-storey building. It was the second business to be destroyed by a fire in Christchurch in two days after a blaze ripped through trailer building company Brian Ford Engineering early Wednesday.

Link to Stuff article

Adam portrait award - 2014 peoples' choice award

22/05/14

I was privileged to win the peoples' choice award and used the opportunity to fly down to Wellington with Leanne and spend the day together, without the kids.see the show. We had a great time tripping round Wellington, shopping and seeing the sights. The exhibition holds a very interesting collection of characters evoked in paint.

The Adam Portrait award was won this year by Henry Christian-Slane. I was privileged to win the peoples' choice award and used the opportunity to fly down to Wellington with Leanne and spend the day together, without the kids.see the show. We had a great time tripping round Wellington, shopping and seeing the sights. The exhibition holds a very interesting collection of characters evoked in paint.

My entry is of one of my oldest friends, Terry (detail pictured above). He grew up on a farm in Otorohanga and has allowed me free access over the years to study, take notes and photograph the daily farm life. He is a good keen man that is overflowing with information about rural life in New Zealand and he is also, like many of these types, private. I wanted to capture a portrait of someone that wasn't completely comfortable with having that much scrutiny focused upon them and attempted to expose a little of that discomfort in the work. You can see the full painting of Terry here

Here this link to the Adam Portrait Award winners
Or here, for the entire exhibition

100 Days Project

20/08/13

The 100 Days Project is simple.
Choose one creative exercise, and then repeat it every day for 100 days.
Record each daily effort and see what evolves in the work and in the self over time.

In 2011 Emma Rogan decided to start a 100 Days Project after reading about Michael Bierut’s ‘100 Days of Design’ class at Yale. She invited others to join her and word of the project spread. Since inception hundreds of people have participated in the project.
The project gives anyone a framework and the permission to be creative. It challenges you to dig deep into your creative reserves, to rely on your readiness to work in order to achieve creative breakthrough. It can be an end to procrastination, and the development of resilience. It takes a lot of energy, and yet the rewards can resonate for a long time after the 100th Day is over.

The exhibition was the first time that my project was assembled in its entirety, Here is my project
This year, 780 people signed up for the 100 Days Project.

Pukekohe High School Student wins

10/07/12

Grace Pickford, a Year 13 student from Pukekohe High School, Auckland was awarded Excellence, Scholarship and Top in New Zealand for Painting, 2011. Grace contacted me last year wanting to use some of my writing and visual research to develop her school project.

Amiria Gale has an online help and advice blog for art students and teachers. She wrote to me about Grace: "I have just published an article on my blog that I thought you might be interested in. It is about the work of Year 13 student Grace Pickford who studied you as one of her artist models last year. She was awarded the best Painting submission in NZ last year - so I thought you might find it awesome to know that she studied your work! Amiria :)"

extract from the blog: Grace begins with material that is fraught with difficulty: photographs taken by others. Grace’s photographs, however, are not flat, second-hand images: they are the subject. They are the essence of a still life; rich in their imperfections, creases, stains and tears. They are a tiny collection of memory: a depiction of something that was before and has now been imbued with layers of time.
Grace’s work is a reminder that gaining an exceptional result is not just about meeting learning objectives, showing development or demonstrating a high level of technical skill (although Grace excels in all of these areas): it’s about communicating something that really matters. It’s about making art.

Here is the full blog about Grace on Amiria's website

Article selections reprinted with kind permission

Odd Jobs 2 - Creative Communities Scheme assessor

13/03/11

March 2011
I have joined the assessment team for the Creative Communities Scheme in the Hauraki District ward. This means being able to connect artistic groups and individuals involved with activities in the community with funding to help them realize their goals.
I have joined the assessment team for the Creative Communities Scheme in the Hauraki District ward. This means being able to connect artistic groups and individuals involved with activities in the community with funding to help them realize their goals.

- With my recent move out of the Waikato, I had to let go of this position.

Artist and Agri company in union

23/09/11

Front page article in the Peninsula Press 22nd September 2011
In a brilliant piece of creativity combining two of NZ’s iconic symbols, rugby and the dairy industry, Paeroa Agricultural suppliers AgriSea lead the country with an innovative marketing initiative.
Their powerful marketing campaign - ‘Staunch Supporter’ - featuring a defiant line up of half-man, half-bull rugby players performing the ‘haka’ ... so perfectly captures the spirit of kiwi rugby that requests have been pouring into their offices for copies of the poster.
AgriSea director Tane Bradley said that as soon as he saw the fantastically powerful painting “Rise Up’ by talented local artist Barry Ross Smith, it brought to life the full force of what rugby means to New Zealanders.
“Although the image captures the determination and charisma of kiwi rugby players, it’s also about the passion of all the countries taking part in this world tournament. For us, the image encapsulated NZ so perfectly ... it may also help promote our company to the international rugby audience currently in our country.”

Acclaimed international artist Barry Ross Smith works from a studio in an elevated abandoned building in Paeroa with views of the local hills and farmland. Surrounded by a rural landscape dominated by the dairy industry, it was a short leap in artistic licence to combine the imagery and power of bulls with the iconic ABs.
Although ‘Rise Up’ draws on the ancient myth of the Greek half-man/half-bull ‘The Minotaur’, the image perfectly captures that mix of farming and rugby that NZ projects to the rest of the world.
Barry says that with each new work “... I endeavor to express fresh ways to represent ideas about relationships and connections with my environment, the inside thoughts combined with outside influences, for ‘Rise Up’ it was the rugby world cup.” He said that what matters to him as an artist is that the initial mental idea, made physical by painting, is then transformed into thought by the viewer. “In the fulfillment of this process the artwork develops, alters and, if the artwork has a pulse ... lives.”

Rise Up (detail)
Rise Up (detail)
The AgriSea marketing campaign, which includes billboards, car-stickers and posters, has been launched all over the North Island. The multi-award winning company AgriSea, with offices in Paeroa and Gisborne, produces quality nutritional seaweed products for soil, pasture, garden and animal health. It epitomises a family run NZ business working in and for the community. Sponsoring projects both locally and nationally, they, as their poster says, are ‘staunch supporters’ of grass-roots rugby from junior through to senior grades.

by Norman Jones

Staunch Supporters campaign

6/09/11

RISE UP - Agrisea media release

Greenlane, Auckland
Greenlane, Auckland
AgriSea is a New Zealand owned, family company. We feel very privileged, when asked to sponsor local and national programs, projects and people. It is important for us to be able to assist with growing the nation, its identity, and our place in this beautiful country. Combined with this aid, we are also staunch supporters/sponsors of grass roots rugby - from junior's right through to senior grades.

After great success with taking the rural prints of professional artist Barry Ross Smith to the Mystery Creek Field-days in Hamilton - where they were much sought after prizes on the AgriSea stand for farmers - we are proud to collaborate with him on our next venture. When visiting Barry's art studio recently, we felt his latest artwork (titled: Rise Up), perfectly articulated how we at Agrisea, felt about our land, our people and our game. The Staunch Supporters campaign was developed as a way to share this position with like-minded rugby lovers. AgriSea is working on Billboards to launch the campaign, bumper stickers for our farmers to show their support and posters of the 'Rise up' image are also available directly from the artist.

New North Road, Auckland
New North Road, Auckland
Barry's 'Rise Up', evokes the strength and passion we feel about our national sport. The defiant half-man/ half-bull figures challenge all-comers with the haka and the image brings alive the full force of the teams determination - to play to win!
'Rise Up's' strong appearance fuses the New Zealand passion for rugby with our pastoral farming and livestock heritage. Although the figures are derived from the Greek legend of the Minotaur, the image remains quintessentially 'kiwi'.

Rise Up prints are available in the buy a print gallery

Check out Agrisea for a great range of products


Ellerslie billboard
Ellerslie billboard

Growing from layers of ideas

31/08/11

August 2011
“The impetus always starts from an idea, long before I pick up a brush and begin to paint.”
Article in Waihi leader by Sharen Watson

Barry Ross Smith tries to explain what motivates and inspires him to “... stand alone in a room for hours at a time, applying small smears of oil paint to cover the surface of a stretched canvas”. Describing himself as a “tonal painter”, Barry works in oils in the traditional method of the Masters and is inspired by such artists as Titan and Velasquez. The first coats define the form and tone and multiple subsequent coats extend that initial idea. In this way the image is built up with multiple thin layers of paint (glazing). Barry regards each individual layer as an idea, an experiment in subject matter, technical approach and expression.
“One of my painting interests is masculinity as an archetype. As a New Zealand male I am interested in exploring my interior impulses as well as exterior environmental influences such as labels like the “typical kiwi bloke”, and how these cultural stereotypes both define and exclude me”.

In January 2011 Barry completed a Master of Fine Art’s Degree at Whitecliffe College of Arts in Auckland. “Having been self-taught in the technique of applying paint to canvas it was interesting to move into the analytical experience of a Master’s degree. At first the critiques were quite crushing and intimidating. You’re putting yourself out there for direct personal feedback from a room full of strangers and it can be daunting. But there is no right or wrong answers. What matters is that the initial mental idea, made physical by painting, is then transformed once again into thought by the viewer. Those strangers have become friends with valuable insights that can be shared by all; I guess it’s a collective growing experience. At the end of this process the artwork develops, alters and, if it has a pulse ... lives. “
“I’m still processing that degree but it has allowed me the freedom to take concepts and ideas from any time period and genre. One of which is Greek mythology and the Minotaur. I feel a connection between this half man- half bull, born from pride, and myself as a kiwi male.”

rise up


The painting “Rise Up” is a line rugby players performing the Haka portrayed by Greek Minotaur’s. It is a concoction of cultures yet still seems to be quintessentially “Kiwi”. This combining of cultures was previously utilized by Barry in an infamous painting of Queen Elizabeth with a Maori Moko, titled “Heritage”. The date of the Treaty of Waitangi signing appears in Roman numerals next to the monarch. Barry was surprised that the image created so much dialogue. "Conceptually, it could be read either ironically or as solidarity, depending upon your viewpoint. The treaty was designed to give us sovereignty from England, to create a new hybrid race from a combined people - a marriage of cultures, so the Queen of that new nation would need all of the dressings of power from each culture". The work created media attention on tv and radio in NZ and Australia with mainly positive but also some volatile negative public feedback.

In the studio, there’s a work in progress that’s a most unusual family portrait. It depicts a group photo of a fatherly Minotaur married with a Huia bird-woman and two children (a self-portrait of Barry as a boy and a calf/girl holding a weasel). They are standing in a typical New Zealand photo opportunity spot; the back yard. Over the picket fence, the wild native bush encroaches.
It hints at our colonial past and, with a hedge of gorse and a stray possum stranded half-way up a tree, perhaps the unfortunate misguiding’s of some of the colonists. In describing the work Barry explains that …“We are each accountable, not only for the history we create in our own time of living, but also for the privileges bestowed, and mistakes made, by our ancestors”.

“I don’t mind if people aren’t picking up the themes that I relate to in my work, they may be mine alone, and the viewer may see their own narrative, it’s all good. Art describes our place and our time and we all have something to contribute to that”.

Currently under negotiation is a solo show of 10 new artworks to travel to Shanghai at the end of this year. The works are farming themed and designed to display the New Zealand connection with the land and livestock.

Sharen Watson
Freelance Writer
buy a print of Rise Up here

penduline press article

11/12/12

Penduline Press is a Portland-based literary and art magazine that seeks to create a presence for emerging as well as established graphic artists and writers of sudden fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry and short stories.

They contacted me regarding an interview and using some of my images for a spread and the cover of their 7th issue.
thanks Sarah and Bonnie,it looks great!

Click for a link to the article.
or here for the interview.

Odd Jobs 1 - Hikutaia School Mural

13/01/11

January 2011
Over the past 6 months I have been working with some kids from Hikutaia School in the production of a mural for the front wall. Firstly the 5 to 7 year olds sketched surrounding features (cattle, farming machinery and birdlife) from their environment.

After many drawings and coloured sketches they came up with designs that they were happy with.
The designs upon paper were then enlarged and cut out from marine plywood playing close attention to the shapes that the children created and including the characteristics of their particular style. Then I split the 15 children into two groups, some working upon the background scene while others painted their cutout shapes.
The 10 cutout shapes were then attached to the surrounding buildings and face of the 480 x 120 cm mural background.
The final result is a mural that the kids designed and excuted and I'm very happy with their results. It goes into the Resene school mural competition this year.

Queen with moko draws complaints

22/12/09

December 2009
This article appeared in the Manawatu Standard just before Christmas 2009 and began an interesting online discussion.

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with a traditional Maori tattoo has raised the ire of Palmerston North residents who believe the image is insulting to both Maori and the Queen. The print, at the Downtown Art & Framing store, features a young Queen Elizabeth with a moko on her chin and lips.
The date of the Treaty of Waitangi signing appears in Roman numerals next to the monarch. Palmerston North Maori warden Nola Te Papa, of Tuhoe, said she was shocked when she first walked past the print on Tuesday.
"I shouted: 'what an insult to the Queen'. To sell that for $500 – no way. He needs to get that wiped. "I love the Queen. People don't like her because of what's gone on in the past, but it's not her fault."
Resisting the urge to kick the print, Miss Te Papa walked into the store and gave the owner a piece of her mind.
"Those are only worn in Tuhoe by people in the chief's bloodline," she said.
"These artists are getting too carried away with the Maori moko, that's abusive. They are just printing it anywhere."
The print was a breach of tikanga (Maori custom), which could result in bad luck for family members of the Queen and the artist, Miss Te Papa said.
"It doesn't matter that it's a picture because the Queen is a real person."
Moxons Gemtime Jewellers employee Bev Blackwell said it was an insult to Maori culture and the Queen.
"I think it's disgusting and offensive. It should be destroyed and taken away."
Paeroa artist Barry Ross Smith, who created the artwork last year, said it was not intended as an attack on anyone.
"It was a way to show as a country that we have self determination from England.
"We actually built an entirely new race by signing the treaty, so the Queen of that new race would need a moko."
Mr Smith also did a self portrait in which he has a full facial moko – a statement about the merger of two equal cultures. He said the portrait of the Queen was a celebration, and the response had been overwhelmingly positive. Mr Smith had received negative emails about the print, but they were mostly from people with separatist beliefs. Downtown Art & Framing store manager Cameron Autrobus said at least one copy of the print has been sold. "To be honest, the whole time we've had it we've only had two complaints. If you don't like it, then don't buy it."

By JONATHON HOWE - Manawatu Standard

Click here for a link to the article which has over 100 comments.
Click here for a link to the TV3 News item