Artist who paints with glitter has sparkle in eyes for Taranaki Women's Refuge auction event

Glitter puts a sparkle in Reuben Paterson eye as he preps a floral piece for a fundraising auction for Women's Refuge.
Grant Matthew

Glitter puts a sparkle in Reuben Paterson eye as he preps a floral piece for a fundraising auction for Women's Refuge.

The artist who planted a glitter tree in Pukekura Park two years ago has put down his own roots in New Plymouth. 

Reuben Paterson - the artist who planted a 4.5 metre high, gold-glittered tree - fell in love with Taranaki and made his artistic residency a permanent one.

Though Paterson moved here about two years ago, the creative muse for this year's World of WearableArt (WOW) thinks he's New Plymouth's best kept secret. 

"I'm not yet known here, so this is an outing and a shouting," he said. "An outing for me and a shout out to the Women's Refuge's event."

Paterson is painting a new twinkling piece worth upwards $17,000 for the Taranaki Women's Refuge Art Auction in October, but thinks he could raise more if people were familiar with his work.

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Paterson left  Auckland after he fell in love with New Plymouth during his artist residency in 2014.

"There is such a community spirit here that does not exist in the city," he said.

"I had such a connection to the area and the people."

And when the gigantic golden tree went up, Paterson was officially rooted to Taranaki.

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"Govett-Brewster bought the piece and I used the money to buy my house here in New Plymouth.

"Trees symbolise life and growth and it's just so symbolic how everything came to be."

Paterson chases the shimmer in nature, which is evident in his twinkling designs.

"Nature is just naturally glittery and I think that's one of the links to my work."

And Back Beach's sparkling sand reminded him of his childhood in Piha.

"The sand there was so black and had beautiful streaks of purple."

Nicknamed 'Reubicorn' by friends, Paterson said some people pictured unicorns and rainbows when they thought of glitter.

"Every exhibit, I try to prove that materials are not limited to what we think they're limited to," he said.

"That's why I love glitter. I can prove there's more to it than we allow." 

The Women's Refuge event on October 7 will be at the Novotel Hotel, but Paterson plans to hang the glittering lilies before the official date.

Event coordinator Sherryl Henning said they would take bids before the official auction.

"His work is beautiful and 'feel good' so it's very special to have this piece from him."

 - Stuff

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