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The colour and the shape

Adrian Jackman in his Carterton studio. PHOTO/Lynda Feringa/Aratoi

He traded Auckland for Carterton, and now artist Adrian Jackman is set to unveil his first Wairarapa exhibition, writes Seamus Boyer.

“A lot of people who are artists have a day job,” says Carterton artist Adrian Jackman, who has a day job at Aratoi, the Wairarapa museum of art and history.

“Which makes things tricky, because the big thing for an artist is time.

“You need that time to not just paint, but to develop the works for exhibition, to put proposals to galleries.

“All of that takes time.”

Jackman, 46, has worked a range of jobs – all connected with painting and art – from house painting to fine art retail work, to painting murals for Auckland City Council.

When he’s creating, he treats his art as a job like any other.

He sets out his day, assigns hours and breaks, and spends his “work day” painting in his garage studio.

“You’ve got to put yourself in the mindset, and I think you need to treat it like a job.

“Because it is essentially a job, it’s a bit like being a writer.”

He says that inspiration happens “through the work”, and that nothing comes without effort.

“It’s about working hard.

“Can we use that old cliché? It’s about 90 per cent hard work and 10 per cent talent?”

Jackman was born in Te Kopuru, south of Dargaville in Northland, and went to school in Kerikeri before moving to Auckland in the early 1990s.

There, he attended the Auckland Technical Institute (now AUT), before completing his Master’s Degree at the Elam School of Fine Arts at Auckland University.

He moved to Carterton in January 2016 with wife Lisa Rushworth, a graphic designer, and eight-year-old daughter, Zoe.

Auckland was becoming less and less affordable, and Jackman had spoken about Masterton to Wairarapa’s Dame Robin White – Aratoi patron – at an Auckland show.

“So it was on my radar,” Jackman says.

“We came down and had a look around at Masterton and at Greytown, and then we were driving through Carterton and thought, ‘This is a really nice little place’.

“So we ended up buying a house unseen and moved down.

“It was just a really exciting time for us.”

Jackman works part-time at Aratoi as exhibitions manager, a role which becomes fulltime when it’s time to change what’s being exhibited.

As part of that he will install his own show (“with assistance of course, it’s a team effort”) which has its opening on Friday.

‘Minimal Wave Revisited’ runs from May 5 to June 17, and features 11 pieces created from 2009 to 2016.

The works, all different sizes, include acrylic on paper, canvas and linen.

All are bold and colourful, and have been “aired” previously at different galleries around the country.

“I see [the exhibition] as a looking back on the development of a style,” Jackman says.

That style he describes as “overlapping lines, and defined areas of flat colours”.

Sequential Circuits, from the upcoming ‘Minimal Wave Revisited’ exhibition. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

His work is “in the modernist genre”, with similarities to Bridget Riley, Gordon Walters, and early New Zealand poster art.

Jackman says he likes to have a few pieces on the go at once.

“It’s always good to work on more than one work at a time – work on three.”

He also says that plans change and develop, which is part of the artistic process.

“The painting tells you where it’s going.

“But sometimes you’ve got to tell it.”

Often he starts his work by taking digital photographs, then uses the editing software Photoshop to “extract then re-create” the colours, while also simplifying the lines and shapes.

Jackman says his work has been influenced by an interest in 1970s synthesizer music (the ‘minimal wave’ of the exhibition title), and that comes through in his work in its repetitive, minimalist elements.

“I’ve also always been interested in maps and mapping, whether it’s coming through the lens of Google Earth or if it’s about the information highway online and how it links everything up.

“It’s something that’s always interested me.”

‘Minimal Wave Revisited’ opens at 5.30pm on Friday, May 4, at Aratoi in Masterton. On Saturday at 11am Jackman will give a talk of his work. The exhibition runs until June 17.

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