“Have you ever tried skydiving? You should. It’s an absolute sensory overload! I want my work to be like that,” Ian Anderson says, as he puts the ‘billy’ on at his studio in Warkworth. Originally from Western Australia, Ian has been living in New Zealand since the 1970s.
“At that time you could jump on the boat and easily pop across to meet the cuzzies.”
Back then Ian was a product of the hippy counter-culture and fled to New Zealand to escape arrest warrants on drugs charges. The Police in Western Australia took a dim view of his cannabis cultivation whilst at art school.
“I went back and sorted it all out, but at the time I was an angry young man searching for meaning,” Ian says.
Ian is now an award winning photographer and graphic designer, but it is oil painting that he finds most satisfying.
“I’m a multi-medium artist, but working in oils makes me feel like a fine artist and I have a passion to be a genuine oil painter in the tradition of the great masters.”
Ian decided to become a full-time artist last year and transformed his second story office, which overlooks the Mahurangi River dam and bridge in Warkworth, into a gallery and studio. His latest piece is entitled, It’s a Rich Life, and contains Aboriginal, Maori and Native American influences. It hints at the divine and pays homage to Salvador Dali. Dali is one of Ian’s heroes, along with Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Saint Francis of Assisi. Like many of us on the Matakana Coast Ian is not overly fond of wearing shoes, apparently neither was Saint Francis.
Ian has used indigenous symbolism because of its primary function to convey meaning and a pictorial narrative. His own story of spiritual enlightenment and his Christian faith forms the heart of much of his work. He is currently gaining a foothold in the lucrative American market, where his work is reproduced on an array of different mediums including shower curtains.
Ian draws inspiration from nature, in particular birdlife, and has recently returned from Tiritiri Matangi. He was grateful for a cyclone that left him stranded on the island for an extra three days. He used the time to absorb the islands natural wonders and has already started work on a painting, and a coffee table book based on his experience.
“My gift is to get people to see past the ordinary and into the extraordinary.”