Ian Anderson with IT’S A RICH LIFE (2019)
What is your background and how does that inform your art? I have always dreamed of being a creative but due to misadventures in my youth and misaligned educational process of the 50s and 60s, I lost my way. According to my mum I may have been an ADHD kid. Dealing with lifelong clinical depression, mood swings and withdrawal symptoms my inner torment (secrets) led to some significant failures and then numerous spiritual experiences dramatically altered my perception of the future and approach to art. On the journey out of those dark places I had visions and dreams which woke a hunger for the supernatural and a deep desire to touch base with my maker. Obviously, all this is now part of the metaphor in my creative inspirations. I spent numerous years learning various art and craft skills, honed in the alternate hippy drug culture of Australia and New Zealand. After my "aha" moments I faced the past in Australia and came back to New Zealand in the 80s. I was given an opportunity to illustrate and design in a friend’s commercial art agency and was quickly elevated to join the commercial world of Christchurch and Wellington newspapers working as a graphic artist, campaign designer, and illustrator and editorial cartoonist. The positions included being an Assistant Art Director, Creative Director, fashion illustrator, editorial illustrator, political cartoonist, campaign director, and general artist, designer, illustrator while learning the twists and turns of an industry traveling speedily from drafting boards and pencils to digital skills on computer. Additionally, I developed hobby photography skills photographing natural scenery, and earning numerous awards on the way. This led to people and wedding photography. In 2016 the combination of these skills turned a corner and morphed into a lifelong dream to be a fully competent artist.
What does your art aim to say? This work "One Blood Speaks – All Lives Matter" was started before Covid-19 was a name and Black Lives Matter became a media narrative. I delved into the narrative and decided I would tell a real-life story from my medical doctor friends in Southern Sudan to countermeasure the fears and hatred we see in our media today. The baggage of the past is a poisonous thing if we don’t learn how to forgive and not pass on our prejudices and bitterness to the next generation. These kids are a fine example of enjoying their differences without hatred. This work is still in the making and I am hoping to finish the painting before November this year as I juggle between other commitments.
Ian is currently working on ONE BLOOD SPEAKS: ALL LIVES MATTER. A work in progress which he hopes to complete by November this year. You may be lucky enough to check out his progress of this work at the upcoming Trail.