Local artist makes a bold statement

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RIVERTON artist Christopher Flavell’s striking 1600mm by 1200mm acrylic on board artwork made the judges’ decision easy in this year’s ILT Art Awards.
He was named overall winner at the awards in a unanimous decision, City Gallery public programmes manager Hope Wilson said.
‘‘They were really struck by the colours. I just think it had a lot of impact.’’
About 130 artworks were entered in the annual awards, she said, all created by Southland artists.
Flavell said he entered the competition every year and while he had won several prizes before, this was the first time he had been named overall winner.
The artwork was part of a series, he said, based on the old kodachrome film. He said he was interested in replicating the bright colours and vivid photographs it produced.
‘‘That’s the track I went down with that piece, just to make it really bold and mix in so much colour.’’
Flavell said he wanted to experiment with colour after being inspired by his friend, artist Ewan McDougall, who also painted very bold, colourful pieces.
The panelled kodachrome system was quite challenging, Flavell said, as it required a complete painting as a base, which was then layered to created a textured look.
‘‘[That is] what you get with oils, but with acrylics it’s really hard to get that effect. But I’ve figured out a way to do it.’’
He said he usually worked on about three paintings at a time so had a choice to make about which to enter in the awards.
‘‘I had them lined up for about a week looking at them and thinking ‘which one am I going to pick?’ I initially went with another one, and then when I was packing the car up I thought no… and I’m glad I did.’’
He has also just had two larger works from the series accepted into the national Wallace Art Awards in Auckland, and another won an award at a recent exhibition in Dunedin.
Although the works in the series were similar in structure, no two were the same, he said.
‘‘You have an idea of what you want to do, but every piece comes up different.’’
Flavell has studios in Riverton and Dunedin and the selftaught artist is also an accomplished sculptor.
‘‘I learn everything through my mistakes, and if I see a technique or something that I like I’ll ask the artist.’’
His artistic journey began in 2006. By the next year he had decided art was what he wanted to do, but it all began by chance. He was asked to critique another artist’s work and his reply garnered an indignant response.
‘‘[She] said ‘you give it a go then’, so I did. I just picked it up and six hours later I had this [artwork] in front of me and I was going, ‘well that’s pretty neat’.’’
And 10 years later he hasn’t looked back. Looking ahead Flavell, will have an exhibition at the Dunedin Railway Station Gallery in November, and an exhibition next year at City Gallery as part of the ILT awards prize.
Í For more information go to Christopher Flavell Art on Facebook. The ILT Art Awards exhibition is on until Saturday, September 3.
ILT Art Awards
Overall winner: Christopher Flavell — Kodachrome Southland Art Society members’ prize: Annie Bourque — Trophy Heads
Sculpture first prize: Hannah Johnston — Haul-In Second prize: John Wishart — Alter-piece Third prize: Ma-ra Mu¨ller — Diaspora 4 Year 11-13 pupil first prize: Sharla Clynes, James Hargest College, Red
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