Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Prior to moving to Singapore in December 2009 I only wrote as a hobby, with the dream of being an author.  Instead I was an artist that did paintings for exhibitions and galleries as well as commissions.  Though, making a living from being an artist is very hard.  You don't get paid a lot even if your painting looks like a photograph.  Like authors you will do hours and hours of work just to get your name out there: To get recognised.
I chose competitions and acquired commissions with the hope that one day my work would be put into art history books, regardless of how much I got paid.  In doing this I won competitions.  The one that pleased me the most was from a painting of two New Zealand officers interacting with Afghanistan refugees (Unfortunately I don't have the photo with me in Singapore to show you).  Not only was the prize very good, but the recognition was even better.  I also sold the painting, plus the person who bought it acquired one of my other military works, the painting of TGCrib (the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan) performing the Haka.  

 Here is another image that I won a prize from (which eventually was sold to Hon. John Banks, who was the mayor of Auckland at the time).
But my biggest commission was the four paneled painting that I did for the Dalmatian society in Auckland, New Zealand (the size of a queen-sized bed)  Out of all my works, I believe that this is the one that will get put into New Zealand Art History books.  And it's also my only painting that brought people to tears (it was unveiled at a large event, where the Prime Minister of New Zealand and other officials attended).  I'm a photo-realisic painter (as well as a compicturistic artist), and because of this relatives recognised their loved ones in my work.  Some of the people depicted where fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and uncles and aunties that have long since passed away. That is the beauty of painting, it keeps people alive in our memories.  Plus, several people standing in the audience were also in the painting, my father and daughter among them.

In the first image from this painting you can see when the first Dalmatian person arrived in New Zealand over 150 years ago on the ship.  From then onwards I've depicted iconic images relating to the Dalmatian people (people from the Croatian coastline) living in New Zealand.  The second image is of a gumdigger.  My great uncle came to New Zealand to dig gum up North in Dargaville, a town where a lot of Dalmatian people chose to settle.  In the third image is a wine-maker.  Often Dali (Dalmatian) people in New Zealand have their own wine cellars.  Dalies were known for their wine making skills.  I remember crushing grapes as a kid for my father, and often swiping a handful for myself.  The last image from this panel shows stonemasons.  My grandfather made a very good living as a stonemason and owned his own business.  There were stone quarries in many different locations in New Zealand, but the one in Mt. Wellington, Auckland held the most significance for my family.

In the second panel I depict a fruit grower, fishermen, a Dalmatian man standing outside of his fish and chip shop, and the traditional barbecue with men holding the long sticks.  In the third panel we have the Yugoslav ship the Radnik being farewelled (we are no longer known as Yugoslavs).  In the second image from this panel I have the traditional Dalmatian dance called the Kolo (which I danced in as a child) and the first Dali football team in Auckland, forming the club "Central."  My father is the goalie here.  And it's nice to know that my daughter inherited his skills as a goalie.  She has represented the top Auckland team in her age group and also the Australian and New Zealand team in Singapore.

In the last panel you will see an iconic image of the Dali picnic where the married men are going up against the unmarried men in a tug of war.  My father, plus two of my uncles as well as my brother-in-law, are depicted in this scene along with many other people.  This picnic is held every Sunday on Auckland's Anniversary (the last weekend of January).  I have also painted other scenes from the Dalmatian picnic at Long Bay.

In the middle, of the final panel, is the Orchestra and my daughter dancing in the children's Kolo (the round dance). The last image is of bowls, a very popular game with older Dali men.

Here is another depiction of the "Tug of War" done as a separate painting.

 Below are two more scenes from the Dali Picnic done in my compicturistic style.
The March of Summer.

Long Bay.

More of my paintings.

Pippi Collecting (at Marsden Point)

 To The Point (at Marsden Point)
("To the Point" was also another prize winning work.)

Tahuna Torea (Point England in Auckland)

1 comment:

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