Trick­ing the eye in mu­rals

Rotorua Weekender - - Arts Corner -

■ How long have you been an artist and how did it start?

At some point dur­ing high school I had a defin­ing mo­ment and dropped ac­count­ing and maths to take up art.

I at­tended Fine Arts School at Can­ter­bury Univer­sity, but ended up play­ing the gui­tar in the street where I learnt more.

As a painter, I’m largely self­taught.

Fi­nally grad­u­at­ing in English, I was meant to be a high school teacher, but on re­turn­ing home to Ro­torua I ac­ci­den­tally painted a mu­ral on a water tank on Tarawera Rd, and the hobby got way out of con­trol. I fig­ured I’d roll with it and ended up paint­ing full-time for 25 years.

Rais­ing three chil­dren while cre­at­ing art has been an ab­so­lute bless­ing and I’ll al­ways be thank­ful for the time this ca­reer gave me to spend with my young fam­ily.

■ What me­dia do you work with? I work mostly in acrylics. De­signed to with­stand the el­e­ments, mod­ern paint sys­tems are a mu­ral­ist’s dream.

■ Where do you get in­spi­ra­tion from with your work?

I started out in­spired by and paint­ing New Zealand scenery, imag­in­ing the per­fect life would be six months in the wilder­ness and six months in the stu­dio.

Be­fore too long I could al­most paint Mt Tarawera with my eyes closed!

There had to be more, so af­ter a while I moved into trompe l’oeil (trick the eye) spe­cial­is­ing in il­lu­sions.

Peo­ple love to be tricked — and I love the chal­lenge of do­ing just that.

Once a small boy ran into a faux stair­case I was paint­ing, and I hear a few peo­ple have been fooled by the il­lu­sory fig­ures in our re­cy­cle cen­tre mu­ral.

■ What do you en­joy about cre­at­ing art?

Il­lu­sion mu­rals are a great way to ex­plore and present higher con­cepts and nar­ra­tives.

I es­pe­cially en­joy work­ing with com­mu­ni­ties — re­search­ing, cap­tur­ing and telling their sto­ries us­ing the il­lu­sion genre.

As a trompe l’oeil spe­cial­ist I do a lot of trav­el­ling and en­joy meet­ing peo­ple from all walks of life.

I have clients through­out New Zealand and have been for­tu­nate to paint a num­ber of works in In­dia, Aus­tralia and the United States.

I love the phys­i­cal­ity and fresh air of large scale paint­ing, and the con­tri­bu­tion a mu­ral can make to the cul­tural and phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

Prop­erly painted, they of­ten be­come icons.

■ What do you have com­ing up/ what will you be up to in the near fu­ture?

There’s al­ways pro­jects sim­mer­ing away in the stu­dio and I hold paint­ing classes over the odd week­end — I re­ally look for­ward to those.

The next big­gie is an in­ter­na­tional mu­ral com­pe­ti­tion in Tasmania where I’ve had a few wins in the past.

I’ve just learned that I’m in the fi­nals again, so we’re head­ing over next year to wave the Kiwi flag and hope­fully de­fend the ti­tle.

Photo / Sup­plied

Ro­torua’s Marc Spijkerbosch with one of his trompe l’oeil art­works.

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