All Blacks, Dan Carter and other rugby stars will feature in a rugby-themed art exhibition to open in Christchurch later this month.
A leading young New Zealand pop artist, Aaron Tomlinson of Christchurch, has incorporated All Blacks into his works partly because of the country’s strong support for the national game.
The exhibition will open at the Miles Toyota new car yard in the city on July 31 and close on August 14. The event will be a highlight during the Bledisloe Cup week with Robbie Deans’s Wallabies taking on the All Blacks at AMI Stadium on August 7.
A number of All Blacks and noted rugby players are likely to visit the exhibition at some point. Tomlinson said today his works tied in with Canterbury’s strong rugby associations.
``I can remember watching rugby with my dad as most kids have. We have such a strong rugby culture in NZ and it often dominates the news and attitudes of the country. Rugby has always been a part of my life, although has never extended beyond watching it, either live or on TV. Living in Canterbury takes it to another level as I believe Canterbury produces some of the best rugby players on Earth.
``The old school rugby players are etched permanently into my mind: Sean Fitzpatrick, Zinzan Brooke and Grant Fox etc. These days I am inspired by people like Dan Carter, someone who comes from just a small town but ends up having such a huge impact on the game internationally. To me he is one of the most recognised faces of rugby – hence including him in the pop art images.
``Most of the pieces are a parody in some way or another – for example, taking the typical comic heroine character and adding something that indicates she has a deep love of rugby, or that she needs to leave because the game is about to start - that concept just seems funny to me.
``There isn’t that much rugby-art out there, which seems strange to me because it is such a huge part of our culture; so in a way these paintings are a way of honouring the game as part of our heritage in a contemporary style.’’
Tomlinson was initially influenced to become an artist painting by seeing the works of UK street artist Banksy, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. He grew to love the concept of pop art. Taking popular themes or topics and using them to create a work of art was almost like a snapshot of time, showing current trends, people and what influenced culture at the time, he said. Tomlinson said he had no ambitions to become rich or famous like a rugby player.
``In fact I love the anonymity – something that Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and co must miss at times. I just want to be able to make a simple living off producing art, which is my passion in life. I think Kiwis, and particularly Cantabrians, can be a little one-eyed when it comes to art and will only consider purchasing a landscape for their living room wall. I would love to inspire the public to be a little more open minded and consider something a little less traditional and edgy,’’ Tomlinson said.
For further information, comment, interview or photos please contact Aaron Tomlinson on 0211 435 428 or Kip Brook at Word of mouth Media NZ on 0275033855
Photo attached of Aaron Tomlinson – with some of his rugby-art works, to be unveiled on July 31.
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