Tricking the eye in murals
■ 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.
Rotorua’s Marc Spijkerbosch with one of his trompe l’oeil artworks.