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.
* 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.