Nelson's Art Expo paints impressive picture of local creativity
After a three-year absence, Art Expo Nelson returned to the Trafalgar Centre this weekend, showcase the best of Nelson and national art creations.
The three-day showcase filled the revamped facility with more than 1000 pieces of portrait, sculpture and crafts from 116 artists – 50 of which had come from outside the Nelson region.
Project manger Nic Foster said the return to the Trafalgar Centre had so far been successful after a temporary residency at Saxton Stadium, in terms of numbers through the door and the quality of art on display.
By the end of the first day, more than 1000 people had attended the expo.
"This is our sixth year and we are really pleased to be back – I think a lot of the artists are pleased as well - it's just a great venue," Foster said.
Foster started the event with a small team in 2012 as a way of celebrating Nelson's reputation as an arts centre.
The expo's evolution in the years since has seen the show join major art shows in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington as one of the country's main arts attractions.
"It makes sense to have one of the most significant art shows in NZ in the regions – we're one of the big four now and with all the artists in the region, people love coming to Nelson and this is a real reflection of that," Foster said.
"There is so much great work that blows my mind and I'd like to take home myself, but I think the whole [thing] is testament to the sum of the parts – it's fantastic overall."
Among the exhibited artists was Nelson's Barry Driver, who has created and sold his acrylic works since joining the local art scene in 2005.
"Whenever I'm a bit stressed I tend to get the paints out and lose myself a bit," he said of his creative drive.
Using eye-catching colours painted on glossy photo paper to enhance the effect, Driver said the public response to his work had been positive.
"I had a woman come in yesterday complaining that she wished she hadn't seen [a certain art piece], because it was going to haunt her."
"She obviously wants it, so hopefully it gives her nightmares and she'll be back to buy it tomorrow."
As well as the art on display, a talk by international art hunter Will Korner was scheduled for 7pm on Saturday evening.
Part of the London-based Art Loss Register, Korner's work sees him search for and identify missing or stolen art pieces around the globe.
Foster said the lecture offered an insight into the art world's shady dealings and daylight robberies.
"He's got catalogues of works and famous paintings from all over the place that have been stolen, burnt or destroyed that they then go and find - things that, for example, the Nazis or the mafia stole."
Local artists were among the six awards presented to those artworks judged best at the expo. Nelson's Fiona Sutherland won the Pomeroy's award, while Upper Moutere artist Katie Gold won the top Art Expo Nelson award and $1000.
The expo continues until Sunday afternoon.