Artist aims to create illusions

CREATIVE BENCH: Artist Derek Ball with one of the sculptures he has made for Puzzling World in Wanaka.
CREATIVE BENCH: Artist Derek Ball with one of the sculptures he has made for Puzzling World in Wanaka.

In a Ruby Bay backyard, a Nelson man is bringing illusions to life.

Sculptor Derek Ball may call Nelson home, but his sculptures are not destined for local parks.

Ball has been commissioned to create sculptural illusions for Wanaka's Puzzling World, which plans to open a sculpture garden by the end of the year.

An impossible bench and a 3-D vase, which creates the illusion of a silhouette, are among some of the sculptures Ball has been making in his garden workshop.

However, after years of planning, designing, and creating the sculptures, he was still unsure whether they would create illusions.

"It's interesting to try to achieve that effect.

"I always enjoy things if they work, which remains to be seen."

Ball is no stranger to creating illusions, he created the Hall of Following Faces at Puzzling World before being approached for their latest venture.

The latest sculptures are a lot bigger than the life-size faces he previously created.

One of the pieces, which is a group of balusters, with the illusion of human figures between each one, is three metres high.

The artworks have taken hundreds of hours to make, and while he enjoyed making them he said it was "not a laugh a minute".

Working with plaster and chicken netting to create the moulds was messy, he said.

The commissioning of the pieces has a flow-on effect into the community with Ball able to give some business to Richmond Fibreglass, which is making fibreglass castings of the moulds.

He is pleased to be able to use local businesses for his work.

"It's a good thing for the community," he said.

Ball said it was hard to find work locally as a sculptor, as it was a "sad scene" for art galleries at the moment and the last two local sculpture commissionings had been given to people outside of the region.

"There's not a lot of work available locally. I am happy to be working for someone, somewhere else."

The Nelson Mail