Famous New Zealand Artists

The landscapes of New Zealand are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the entire world. They are perfect for inspiring artists. It should therefore not be too surprising to learn that so many well-known painters, sculptors and conceptual artists come from this country. Several of them have established themselves as genuinely skilled and innovative. This, in turn, has given them a good level of fame. Their works are varied and often highly unique, reflecting their individual personalities.

Lisa Black

The work of Lisa Black is relatively unusual and macabre. She utilises taxidermy specimens and animal skeletons. Her main goal is to create contemplations on mortality and the fleeting nature of beauty. Black sometimes mixes organic matter with technology. This modification can be seen as a juxtaposition between nature and modernity. A good example of this is Fixed Fawn, which focuses on the imperfection of the natural world. Interestingly, Black prefers to place antique components into her work. Doing so gives it a steampunk edge.

Kushana Bush

Kushana Bush is one of the youngest well-known artists in New Zealand. She creates pictures of loose-limbed humanoid figures. Her paintings have a contrast of complicated patterns and subtle hues. Art lovers and collectors in Scotland particularly appreciate her work. This may be because Bush has been inspired by British artists such as Stanley Spencer and Alasdair Gray. The art community has particularly praised Fool’s End. The painting shows a bunch of people and dogs bundled together in disharmony.

Darryn George

The art of Darryn George is very much rooted in the Maori culture of his ancestors. This heritage is very important to him. His colour palette mimics that of traditional native paintings. George also likes to incorporate Maori symbols that have a deeply spiritual meaning. In 2013 George created his Personal Structures exhibition. It served as a tribute to victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. To many art critics, it is still considered George’s most important piece of work.

David McCracken

Fans of fairytale imagery will get a lot out of David McCracken’s work. The bulk of his career has been in sculpting. Metalwork is featured prominently. It is hard not to engage with his designs. He likes to use mirrors so that the artwork literally reflects back at the viewer. For Diminish and Ascend, McCracken created a gorgeous aluminium set of stairs. It was meant to represent his own idea of what a stairway to heaven would look like.

Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond originally had a career as a toymaker. This experience helped to give him a fantasy-based imagination. His paintings are joyous and clearly inspired by childhood. However, they also have a biting political edge. The danger to New Zealand’s environment from humans is a recurring theme. Hammond regularly features images of endangered local birds. His paintings also have deep natural colours and anthropomorphic characters. Images from the Maori culture are sometimes used by him for inspiration.

John Badcock

John Badcock was born into a famous family of artists. He mainly works with oils, which he applies in thick layers. His best paintings manage to capture the beauty of nature while at the same time conveying a sense of unease. In Figure in Landscape, Badcock accomplishes this by not giving his human subject a face.