Pablos Art Auction a chance to give back
26 September 2918
By Keith Reeves
“I like watching the sky: the clouds moving, the contrasts of colour and shape and shade.” Rosemarie, an artist at Pablos Art Studios in Wellington for the past three years, is talking about the artwork she has donated to the Pablos Art Auction on Friday 26 October.
She continues, “I like to work with collage and so this year the piece I’m putting into our auction is a skyscape that I’ve built up from fragments. But it’s all wrapped up ready for the auction so I can’t show it to you.”
The well-known Pablos Art Auction is the creative space’s major annual fundraising event. This year it will be held in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery on Friday 26 October, with viewing from 5pm and the auction beginning at 6pm.
Deidre Dahlberg, Director of Pablos, says the auction is a big deal for Pablos. For its artists, it’s a chance to give something back to the organisation that offers free access to an art studio, materials and tutor support for people who have experienced mental ill-health or become socially isolated.
Getting alongside well-known artists
The auction also provides the artists with a chance to get work displayed alongside well-known artists such as Michel Tuffery, Dick Frizzell, Nigel Brown and Matt Gauldie, and to promote their work to buyers and other guests.
“Some big-name artists donate artworks,” Deidre says. “Mental health and wellbeing is something that touches the lives of many people and artists are often keen to support an organisation like us that has the recovery and maintenance of mental wellbeing at its heart. And it goes without saying that we are very grateful for the generosity of these artists.”
The evening is divided into two parts: the silent auction and the live auction. For the silent auction people bid against each other on a sheet of paper alongside the displayed artwork. The live auction is good fun and interactive, thanks to the auctioneering skills of Ian Paterson Real Estate, a long-time supporter of Pablos Art Studios.
Across the studio from Rosemarie, Soren’s piece for the auction still stands by his table, glowing with light and colour. He describes the complexity of its growth into the striking piece it now is.
“I like the processes of making: experimenting and discovering new things about those processes even if they are ones I have used before.”
Last year Soren’s design for the auction poster was used to advertise it. “I think that was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done here. It was great seeing my design propagate although in the end perhaps I saw it a bit too often!”
Companionship and support
Soren has been working at Pablos for four years and attends three or four days a week. When he first came he was at a low point. “I’d become very isolated, I was not getting out of the house. Days passed and I had done nothing. Here I have companions among the other artists and the art tutors are a great support.”
The artist on the desk behind him, Nyx, agrees. “There’s a lot of support here. If you want a serious critique of your work, they will give you that but generally they work alongside you and help you develop your skills. They’ve supported me to hold solo shows of my work and even to take workshops for other students here to teach them skills that I had mastered.”
Nyx’s desk demonstrates some of those skills. There’s a gothic castle, complete with yawning portcullis-fanged gatehouse, an uncompleted diorama, an as-yet headless dragon (“Wire mesh, paper and clay,” Nyx confides) and unattached wings.
Rosemarie also describes the help that she has had from the art tutors. “They encourage you to keep your options open, to try new subjects, new ways of making. But there’s flexibility so that we are pushed at our own levels to do what is right for us.”
Soren should perhaps have the last eloquent word about the value of Pablos Art Studios. “It’s a bit like singing in a choir. Here, if you fluff a line or two it’s not the end of the world. You can pick yourself up, join in again with the other artists and get yourself back on track.”
Pablos Art Auction on Friday 26 October is at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. There will be around 120 works at the auction. You can buy your $20 tickets online.