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Michael Springer - Aotearoa Artist
Michael Springer

Michael Springer - Aotearoa Artist

I was unhappy with my cycle of meaningless employment when an artist girl-friend dared me to come up with a painting in one week – so I painted an abstract work on an old roll up canvas window blind, outside on the concrete veranda of my run down ancient inner city villa in Christchurch.
As I was doing this, the wind blew up briefly and the still wet painting was covered with needle-like leaves from an overhanging Totara tree, these stuck to the surface and looked great to my untrained eye and it felt significant as my childhood was on a farm called Totaradale. When the week was up I blindfolded and led her into the room where the painting was hanging and her reaction was just the impetus I needed, the beginning of my belief. I sold my house and gave it my full-time attention.
I had to move towards something that at least (if clumsily) attempted to tap into some authenticity. The idea appeals to me on many levels, anything I do or say, wear or collect can be excused because there is societal acceptance of eccentricity for artists. I can attempt to stand outside, disrobe or investigate the masks I, and others wear. I have friends who are writers, who can express themselves through words, ideas and feelings. From me, it just sounds clumsy. But with paint, sculpture or whatever, I can use intensely felt but abstract, even to me, concepts and put them out there to be reacted to or ignored by the viewer. It’s an opportunity to remind others and mostly myself of what has been forgotten, which is pretty much everything.
I live at the edge of Banks Peninsula beside Lake Wairewa (Forsyth) The land our home and studio sits on - Te Mata Hapuku - was part of a Maori settlement, and out the kitchen window, across the lake is Oruaka Pa. It’s a windswept volcanic landscape that has witnessed a long pre-European settlement with all its joys and troubles. This and the accumulation of all my past experiences has seeped in and oozes out onto my canvas, in ways that I can’t, to my satisfaction, verbally express, but I can at least try to do so with paint.

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