Artist Lew Walsh with his exhibition and a portrait of the
Chills singer Martin Phillips (right), which he painted in two hours. Photo by Peter McIntosh
A portrait he painted of his father shortly before his
father's death inspired Dunedin artist Lew Walsh to stick
with portraiture, and his interest in music and pop culture
inspired him to take it somewhere a little different.
''With my father's portrait, it outlasted him and I thought:
`This is going to outlast me'.
''It sparked my interest in portraiture, and continues to do
Walsh, who took up artistic painting about seven years ago,
had his first exhibition at the weekend as part of the
Dunedin Fringe Festival.
The exhibition, titled ''Ex-Cons and Icons'', includes some
of his more unusual and involved portraits of famous Dunedin
musicians, as well as pieces he has painted live in two-hour
sessions around Dunedin during the festival.
Walsh said he got the idea of speed-painting live in public
from YouTube clips, and found the experience of painting fast
and in situations where the artist interacts with the public
''scary'' but great and was pleased with the work he had
The exhibition appeared in Dunedin's Community Gallery over
It featured Dunedin musicians, including Chris Knox (Toy
Love), Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) and Tristan
Dingemans (HDU, Mountaineater), in a series of works of their
faces created using hundreds of words that both described and
formed the subject.
Walsh, who has been involved in the music scene since the
1990s, playing in bands in Dunedin and Auckland, said he had
been building up a portfolio of images of family, friends and
Portraiture satisfied his love of drawing and painting, his
social nature and his interest in culture, pop-culture and
the ''coloured past'' of some of the people who influenced
and interested him over the years.
He had no formal art training, although he studied design and
had always been interested in graphic novels and looking at