Ivan Hill-Joanne Lamond series-Picking Flowers 1980 Horse-Darnleys Flight


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Ivan Hill-Joanne Lamond series-Picking Flowers 1980
Horse-Darnleys Flight
Oil on panel measuring 470mm x 510mm $490.00

Article from 2010.
Ivan Hill looks like anything but an artist.
But the dapper 76-year-old has forged a reputation as a leading New Zealand naive or primitive painter.
"I started painting late - when I was 32 - and I've been doing it for 44 years now," Hill says
"I'm quite an old person to be painting fairies," Hill says, with a twinkle in his eye.
"The fairies idea came to me seeing a young girl dancing along the street with her parents.
"If you want to see a fairy in real life, just look at a 7- or 8-year-old girl with her parents in town.
"You see them dancing and spinning around.
"There have been tremendous amounts of beautiful fairy illustrations and stories over the last couple of hundred years.
"A lot of clever artists have painted fairy stories.
"I used their ideas to help with my ideas."
Hill was born in Dunedin in 1933 and educated at George Street and Dunedin North Intermediate schools and King Edward Technical College.
However, his early education was affected by a congenital hearing defect, which remained undiagnosed until he was 9.
"I was born with no high hearing.
"I've been stone deaf in the high level all my life.
"So I couldn't get a decent job," he explains.
"I learned lip-reading at school.
"That helped me pick up the sounds I can't hear.
"In conversations, I'm guessing sometimes, but I'm not usually too far off."
Hill left school at 15 to work at Woolworths, before spending most of his working life in seasonal occupations - he toiled in shearing sheds and freezing works before gaining employment at Mosgiel Woolen Mills and New Zealand Railways Hillside Workshops.
He took up painting as a hobby in 1965, taking night classes for seven years at Otago Polytechnic and The Taieri High School.
Hill spent the next seven years researching naive art and became involved with the Taieri Art Group and Dunedin Painters Workshop.
In his first solo exhibition, 18 of the 26 works he exhibited sold and a career was born.
"Up until then, I was quite depressed, in a way.
"It had been about five years and I'd only sold one painting.
"In fact, I gave up painting several times, but somehow got myself going again."
A theme in Hill's paintings is his use of friends and artist contemporaries.
His 2008 exhibition, "Witches of the Leith Valley", featured caricatures of artists Ralph Hotere and Jeffrey Harris as pirates.
"I know Ralph and Jeffrey well and put them in lots of my paintings.
"Painters like Rembrandt also used to put his friends in his paintings.
"I use regular people in images from stories.
"I put all my lady friends in my 'Witches' series and they loved it.
"But, I don't paint people unless I have a feeling for them."
Other works have included a naked Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner and Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
"I've done a lot of outrageous things in my art career, like being commissioned to paint a picture of the Highlanders naked in the showers after a match."
Hill works predominantly in thickly-applied oil on primed canvas, but also produces works in coloured pencil.
"I've only ever done one acrylic work - of Barry Crump shaving with an axe.
"Paul Holmes bought that one," he says, with a hint of pride.
His works are represented in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Te Papa, in Wellington.
"It's a matter of keeping getting ideas to keep going.
"If you lose your ideas, your painting loses its vigor and fire," Hill says.
"A lot of fairy tales are grim stories and I like to invent my own happy version.
"It's just something I like doing.
"There's enough grimness in the world.
Ivan Hill-Joanne Lamond series-Picking Flowers 1980
Horse-Darnleys Flight
Oil on panel measuring 470mm x 510mm $490.00