Artist Andy Turner is a self-confessed bibliophile, so it’s fitting that his new exhibition is being hung in Leigh Library. He’s largely a self-taught painter – even though he managed to spend a lot of time hanging out at Elam in his teens, it was mostly in the library. In fact, libraries around the world have featured largely in his life.
Andy is from Scotland originally, but came here with his family (via a couple of years in Dubai) in his mid-teens. His dad was then the world champion Highland Pipe Band drummer – quite the superstar in those circles – and was here to teach. Andy did his last years of high school in Wellington, where he was lucky enough to have a super-inspiring high school art teacher, Rob McCleod, who has continued to mentor him at certain periods throughout his life.
He washed up later, a bit of a bad boy, in Auckland. His first exhibition, aged 18, was at DKD behind the Civic in Auckland. Through night-club contacts, including well-known musician Soane (then a bouncer), he found himself painting murals live in clubs; painting visuals for Salmonella Dub and Pitch Black, painting huge murals anywhere he could (he’s passionate about public art) – and partying hard. He crewed on yachts around the South Pacific for some time out. And spent as much time as he could in libraries.
He credits many books with life-changing literary influence – including Zen Flesh Zen Bones by Paul Reps, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Lanark by Alastair Grey, The Time Traveller by HG Wells. All of these spoke to Andy of other worlds and inspired him deeply. Painterly influences include Marc Chagall, Diego Riviera, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, NZ cubist painter Louise Henderson, and cubism generally.
Andy’s own art is a wonderful, tumbling melée of colour and form, angles and lines. He sees complex landscapes; he hopes you’ll see another world, too.
Exhibition: Leigh Library | Opening October 4 5pm-6.30pm drinks and nibbles | To end January 2017 | www.boosted.org.nz/artist-profile?id=5516