Creative frustration inspires award-winning art

02:14, Feb 10 2013
James Ford
CREATIVE NAUSEA: Newtown artist James Ford, reflected in his award-winning artwork Mirror #6.

A Wellington artist whose creative frustration made him sick to his stomach has been awarded for an artwork that mirrors that feeling of nausea.

Newtown artist James Ford has won the inaugural Tui McLauchlan Emerging Artist Award for his artwork made with crayons. The winning work, entitled Mirror #6, comes from the series ''Regurgitation'' and features a mirror covered in what looks like vomit.

Ford took his inspiration from a lack of inspiration - after struggling to come up with ideas for a piece centred around ''life, the universe and infinity'', Ford said he was presented with infinite possibilities.

''I spent months and months thinking up loads and loads of ideas - none of them felt right and I ended up feeling nauseous for doing nothing so I decided to make a piece about that feeling and the place I was in.''

Using the inspiration of a piece of ''naff art'' found online featuring crayons melted with a hairdryer, Ford set about making his own version by chopping, melting and throwing crayons at a mirror.

Ford says the process mimics humanity's relationship to food - chewing, digestion and expulsion.

Ford describes the constant themes running through his work as a consideration of ''how we spend time on Earth and the absurdity of life''. 

In 2010, Ford secured funding to smash a ''lemon'' of a car he bought on TradeMe for $2000.  Members of the public who registered on the "Smash N Tag" website got a minute to inflict as much damage as they could on the car with a weapon of their choosing, as long as it was given the OK by Ford.

Weapons included a sledge hammer, an axe and a softball bat - chainsaws or anything that could cause sparks or flames were not allowed.

Ford also has a new exhibition beginning tomorrow at the vacant space left by an old BNZ cash machine on Courtenay Place, again dealing with the absurdity of life.

Road To Nowhere is the first of three pieces to be exhibited in the space over the next three weeks and features a pull-along toy on a working treadmill illustrating the human condition of people being stuck in situations they can't get out of.

Mirror #6 will be exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Art for four weeks, alongside other nominees for the Emerging Artist Award.

Contact Matt Stewart
Weather, science and environment reporter
Twitter: @smatape


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