In-your-face, boldly coloured farm animals star in the new exhibition at the Mandarin Tree in Gordonton.
Colour Me Wild is the work of local artist Clinton Christian who describes his series as Rural Pop Art.
“These are farm animals, in portrait style, that dare to stand out from the usual with their boldly contrasting colours.”
Six large acrylic paintings and a small series of six abstract works comprise the series.
Clinton lives on a 2.5 acre block in Horsham Downs, with wife Treena and their three sons. He has lived in the country most of his life, from which he gets the inspiration for his work. “I just love nature and animals.”
His first painting on the journey of rural pop art is called ‘Ewe-nique’. “It shows that even if we feel just like a sheep, we are so much more.”
‘Just the Two of Us’ was created during lockdown and reflects how he was feeling at the time – “I was so grateful I had my life partner with me.”
There is James 007 – who was a bit too sheepish for the latest Bond film. Chickens and alpacas also feature in a range of gift cards.
Clinton’s work can be found in five Waikato galleries, and he attends art shows as well. But the Mandarin Tree was the first gallery he ever approached.
“I’ll never forget the day I decided to take a painting into the Mandarin Tree. My eldest son went to primary school with Claudia’s daughter, so I thought she would be honest about my work and whether it was good enough to show in a gallery.
“She was so positive and encouraging that soon we had arranged a solo show in 2018 which 100% gave me the confidence to go for it.”
Busy being creative
He paints full time from his studio, which he built himself when he decided to take his art seriously after 20 years in the building industry. He is also considering studying art – “I am self-taught, I feel it may be helpful with creativity.”
The next few months will be busy creating work for the Auckland Art Show at the Cloud in September.
“Long term I hope to create work on a really large scale, maybe move into mixed media and own my own gallery.”
He says fledging artists should be prepared for the occasional disaster – “Yes, I’ve had plenty of those, but in that painting there may be a brush stroke, style or shape that gives you an idea for your next favourite piece.
“Although I received top grades at school it was only recently I realised life is too short to not be doing what you love, and with support of others, was able to go for it.
“I think this is what I was born to do, even if it’s a real roller-coaster at times.”
“Colour Me Wild,” a selection of colourful Pop Art pieces by Clinton Christian, is at The Mandarin Tree, Gordonton Village, until Tuesday 28 July.