150 helps make art work

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

ART exhibitions based around a num­ber have been done be­fore but few take the con­cept to the lengths a group of cen­tral Auck­land painters are.

Ev­ery as­pect of El­liott O’Donnell, Gary Silipa and El­liott Fran­cis Ste­wart’s One Fifty ex­hi­bi­tion on Septem­ber 15 will re­volve around the num­ber 150.

All of the 150 works will be 150 mil­lime­tres by 150 mil­lime­tres in size and for sale for $150.

Only 150 peo­ple will be al­lowed through the doors to the 150-minute dis­play, which starts at 1.50pm and is be­ing held at 154 Pon­sonby Rd.

The three artists are tak­ing their theme to the next level by serv­ing only 150 glasses of wine, 150 bot­tles of beer and sell­ing 150 mini cup­cakes for $1.50 each.

All three men are for­mer mem­bers of renowned graf­fiti crew TMD but their lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion is very much a dis­play of fine art.

Mr O’Donnell, who goes by the tag­ging name Askew One, is still very ac­tive in the graf­fiti art scene and has achieved an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion tak­ing part in street art in the United States and Ber­lin.

His fine art is also at­tract­ing a strong fol­low­ing and in March he held his big­gest ever solo ex­hi­bi­tion called Smoke Sig­nals in the cen­tral city.

Mr Silipa is the new­est to the fine art scene.

He gave up graf­fiti art for a ca­reer in IT and in 2011 switched to por­tray­ing lifes­to­ries, chal­lenges and per­sonal suc­cesses on can­vas to keep him go­ing and true to his path in life.

Mr Ste­wart is also no longer in­volved with graf­fiti art.

He is now a well-known Grey Lynn il­lus­tra­tor with a style de­scribed as be­ing very rem­i­nis­cent of the 1950s.

None of the three have any for­mal art qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

They say the 150 theme for their ex­hi­bi­tion is about open­ing their work up to a wider au­di­ence as well as ‘‘cre­at­ing a buzz’’.

‘‘A lot of art, even some of my own pieces, can be $3000 or $4000 a piece. It isn’t re­ally af­ford­able for peo­ple my age,’’ Mr O’Donnell says.

‘‘$150 is quite an af­ford­able amount. Peo­ple spend $150 on a pair of shoes and don’t think twice and they could have a piece of art.

‘‘A lot of gal­leries have used the for­mat but they haven’t taken it is as lit­er­ally as we have.

‘‘It did be­come a bit of a run­ning joke to see how far we could take it,’’ he says.

The men have only just be­gun their paint­ing de­spite the open­ing be­ing less than a fort­night away.

‘‘The plan was al­ways to turn around a show in two weeks,’’ Mr O’Donnell says.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Novel for­mat: Artists El­liott O’Donnell, left, Gary Silipa and El­liott Fran­cis Ste­wart are tak­ing their 150 themed ex­hi­bi­tion con­cept to the ex­treme.

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