Artist full of anticipation

01:25, Feb 14 2013
NZPPA People’s Choice winner
Last year’s NZPPA People’s Choice winner.

Six Waikato artists stand to win one of New Zealand's most prestigious art awards before their work goes on display to be judged by the harshest critic - the public.

For one finalist, that's the most exciting part.

Despite just starting out in his artistic career, Andrew Simmonds is a finalist in the awards and has works on display at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville.

The 24-year-old started out painting realism but found his "heart is really in abstraction", focusing on composition, angles and perspective.

He designs his work digitally, testing compositions and colours before starting actual painting, favouring foresight rather than trying to make changes in hindsight.

"Winning would be huge, especially this early in my career. It's really exciting. I can't wait to show my work to the public," he says.


Simmonds is still studying towards a Bachelor of Media Arts at Wintec and has the Gordon Harris Award for Excellence in Contemporary Art (third year) under his belt.

"I think I've just been lucky, really. But I'm so excited. If I won I'd probably put most of it towards furthering my work towards a collection and getting into galleries."

Another Hamilton finalist, Barbara Smith, was chosen for her work titled Tiny, Silent Events.

"The concept is that, within a society, change may occur through sudden events happening or alternatively, through a series of change by smaller degrees. These quieter events, while not as noisy or obvious, are indicators that there is ongoing change," she said.

"They often pass unnoticed, especially to those not directly affected."

About 50 works from around the country will be judged and a winner announced by judge Blair French, a curator, writer, teacher and current executive director of Artspace in Sydney.

As one of the features of the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival, the exhibition will open with the festival, marked by a gala opening tomorrow.

There, the winner of the top prize and $20,000 will be announced and for the next two weeks, the exhibition will be open and free to the public, who can vote for the people's choice award.

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