Thirteen years ago I spent some time in Los Angeles, California and it had a huge impact on my painting. Whilst in Los Angeles I visited a number of art museums, including the Getty, LACMA, and the Simon Norton Museum in Pasadena. But it was the differences in culture that really struck me and influenced my paintings. It was quite a change from Auckland, New Zealand, where I had been working as a graphic designer in an advertising agency and painting in the evenings.
The following year I visited again and stayed for some weeks. Some of these paintings originated from that second visit. I started collecting some of the odd and extreme advertisements from the LA Weekly and headlines from the crazy Weekly World News. The works touch on some of the darker themes in the surrounding culture, such as extreme plastic surgery, drug use and America’s “war on terror”. I was also inspired by some of the American abstract expressionists I was seeing in the art museums, artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. The works had a raw feel, utilising bright colours and collage elements.
LA Triptych. In these paintings I used elements of Christian iconography to comment on the values and celebrity worship that I encountered in Los Angeles.
Immaculate Conception, 2003
Patron Saint of Hollywood, 2003
A New Look for a New You, 2003
Are you Lonely?
Weapons of Mass Delusions,
Giant Space Spiders
Space Spiders detail
Acrylic on Board