Cre­at­ing sto­ries through fan­tasy art


From work­ing 17 hours a day at Weta to study­ing art in Italy, Hutt artist Sacha Lees has found her niche in fan­tas­ti­cal art.

Lees has al­ways been creative. She ar­rived at Weta Work­shop in 1998, just be­fore the com­pany se­cured the con­tract to work on The Lord of the Rings film tril­ogy.

She started off as a sto­ry­board artist and was the only woman in her team and one of the youngest, at 20 years old.

‘‘It was a re­ally big, lifechang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I was in my el­e­ment.’’

She worked on crea­ture de­sign, air brush­ing and pros­thet­ics, help­ing make movie magic. The hours were de­mand­ing and while work­ing on Lord of the Rings, she found her­self run­ning back and forth be­tween sets and some­times work­ing 17 hour days.

Six years later, she re­alised she was burn­ing out. ‘‘I needed a change.’’

She found that change in Italy. At an art course in Florence she spent a year study­ing the tech­niques of the mas­ters from the 18th and 19th cen­turies.

‘‘We drew, we copied draw­ings to the point where they had to be per­fect. We had to over­lay them on the orig­i­nal and every­thing had to line up,’’ Lees said.

When she ar­rived back in New Zealand, she ded­i­cated her­self to her art, cre­at­ing pieces in a fan­tas­ti­cal style.

‘‘I think I cer­tainly don’t aim to fit in with what other peo­ple are do­ing. My art is a type of art called Fan­tas­tic art, which is big over­seas.’’

The style was fan­tasy-based but used a mod­ernistic ap­proach. She also in­cor­po­rated her clas­si­cal train­ing from Italy to cre­ate her pieces.

Lees will be dis­play­ing her fan­tasy art in her sec­ond solo ex­hi­bi­tion, Va­grant Mind. A se­lec­tion of her oil paint­ings will be shown at the Ex­hi­bi­tions Gallery in Welling­ton.

‘‘I’m ex­cited to put the works out there and hope­fully peo­ple will en­joy them.’’

Ev­ery piece of her art con­tains a story, she said, one that was open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion by the viewer.

Va­grant Mind

* opens Oc­to­ber 26 and runs un­til No­vem­ber 25 at Ex­hi­bi­tions Gallery, 20 Bran­don St, Welling­ton.


Lower Hutt artist Sacha Lees is pre­par­ing for an up­com­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of her fan­tasy paint­ings, in­clud­ing, inset, Cle­mency.

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