BEN HO 1962-
Ben Ho was born in Canton, China. At just twelve years of age he exhibited at the Canton-Tiajin Children’s Fine Art Exhibition, and in 1977 at the Haichu District Cultural Gallery in London. He studied at the Canton Fine Art School from 1978-1984, and completed his post-graduate studies in 1988. His earliest influences were the European Impressionist, in particular Van Gogh and Monet.
Ben immigrated to New Zealand in 1988 and is now a permanent resident living just outside of Queenstown with his Artist wife Mary Mai and their son .
Since 1991 Ben has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand, winning numerous awards including the Otago Regional Award, KG Frazer Award and the Gold Medal Award at the Royal Easter Show. Ben is a working member of the N.Z. Fellowship of Artists.
Working in an impressionistic style, Ben’s aim is to show the essence of his subject matter, be it still life, landscape or the human form. Spontaneity and an instinctive approach to painting, without much preparation allows Ben the opportunity to capture his feelings and mood on canvas. Highly skilled, Bens works with four dominant features, colour, light, brushwork and design.
I paint in watercolour and in oils - I think of watercolour as a poem and oils as telling a longer story. Whichever medium I am using, I never worry about the end result. I enjoy the process. I just let it happen. I paint what I feel. That’s what is important. – Ben Ho
An interview with artist Ben Ho
Walking into the Central Art Gallery in Queenstown, and you’re instantly lost in walls of colour. Rolling hills in changing seasons, Fiordland painted in astonishing detail, moody snow-capped mountains… this gallery not only showcases the talent of our local artists, but redefines the beauty of New Zealand.
One artist whose work cannot be ignored in the gallery is Ben Ho, who has been capturing the local landscape for over 20 years. Originally from Guangzhou, China, he moved with his wife Mary Mai (also an artist) to Auckland in 1988.
Ben has since won numerous prestigious art awards and in 1999 was chosen as one of five artists to represent New Zealand Art in the World-Wide Millennium painting competition in London. We catch up with him to find out how those awesome landscapes come to life...
From our first visit here, we fell in love with the place! We’d been living in Auckland for 20 years, but we finally moved here in 2008 and opened our studio in Lake Hayes.
What’s your painting style?
It’s quite diverse, ranging from traditional to abstract pieces. I like to work with different media too, such as watercolour and oil. I think each painting should exhibit their own story and the philosophy of life and nature.
What inspires you?
I think the beauty of the backcountry lifestyle of Central Otago and the local history is very inspirational. But it can also be small things, like a thought, a story or when the sun shines and creates a unique shadow. These factors encourage me to express, capture and paint.
What do you try to achieve with your art?
I want to capture a large variety of subject matter within my work. I love to experiment and try different approaches.
You have another artist in the family…
Yes, my wife and I have been full time artists since 1993. We both loved to paint when we were children and met in the art school in China. We have similar ideals and perspectives in regards to painting.
What do you do when you’re not painting?
More art! Both my wife and I have been teaching painting for over 18 years in New Zealand now. We mainly do watercolour and oil classes to national and international students.
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