Guitar a fusion of art and craft

Dunedin luthier Peter Madill with a guitar he made that became a canvas for Auckland artist Shane...
Dunedin luthier Peter Madill with a guitar he made that became a canvas for Auckland artist Shane Hansen. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
The guitar made by Dunedin man Peter Madill was already a work of art.

It has a neck crafted from South American mahogany grown in Fiji and a body made from tanehaka. The result is an instrument of some beauty.

But the work of Auckland artist Shane Hansen takes this guitar to another level.

Hansen is one of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists, behind the design on the bike given to Prince George when he visited this year, and one of five Maori artists to provide designs for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

He has painted the guitar for an exhibition at the Allpress Gallery in Auckland in October, which takes beautifully crafted objects and combines them with art.

Hansen did a Google search of luthiers (stringed instrument-makers) and found Mr Madill, who had made guitars for the original Split Ends, when the band's name was spelt that way.

''It tied in quite nicely with the idea of making something - their music influenced my guitar-playing,'' Hansen said.

''Finding Peter and seeing his craftsmanship and the beauty of the objects he does, I kind of wanted to take one of those and add a little piece of my own stuff to that.''

Hansen said he wanted the finished product to be an artwork someone could use.

''That's the reason I wanted to use someone of a high quality. For me, it's actually got to serve the purpose, and sound beautiful, and be a beautifully crafted instrument.''

Mr Madill said getting the request for the guitar was ''a great thrill for me''.

He began making guitars 40 years ago in Dunedin, working at the DIC by day, and making guitars at his flat nearby at night.

He moved to Auckland in 1973, but returned in 2007.

Mr Madill made the guitar for Hansen and sent the body north to be painted.

It was returned to Dunedin to be finished.

''Once you know, it's easy.''

The guitars cost about $4000, and Hansen said the finished work was expected to sell for close to $7500.

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