Mark’s slice-of-life art wins again
Mark Warner’s ‘slice-of-life’ drawings of people have earned him the top prize in the IHC Art Awards for the second time.
Mark, an artist working at Hōhepa Auckland, is the only artist to have the won the first prize of $5000 twice. His intricate pen-and-ink drawings first captured the judges in 2006 and did again this year.
In his 2022 drawing titled Meeting everything is highly detailed, from the decorative clothing of four figures under a tree to the tree branches and foliage and the sky beyond, which is filled with activity.
Mark works quickly but only completes a work once he has researched the subject matter. He says the people in Meeting are talking about serious things. “The people talk about life and death.
”This year Mark was one of 412 disabled artists who entered the competition, which was judged by actor Libby Hunsdale, sculptor Simon Lewis Wards and Chief Executive of the Student Volunteer Army Sam Johnson.
“I liked this work for its detail and thoughtful display of the complexity of life,” Sam says.
Mark’s 2006 winning drawing was also a very detailed piece that the judges at that time – artists Dick Frizzell and Andy Leleisi’uao and arts facilitator Louis le Vaillant – said revealed an incredible amount of skill, particularly his ability to capture the people around him.
Hōhepa Auckland art tutor Ester Saporito says Mark might spend up to 10 hours a week on his art. “He is a natural talent. He didn’t have a specific training, or school, it’s just inside him.”
Mark, 54, has been attending art classes at Hōhepa Auckland since the centre opened in 2008.He was born in England and his family emigrated first to South Africa and then to New Zealand. He arrived in Auckland as a teenager. His mother lives in Auckland too and he has a sister and two nephews living in Sydney.
Sarah makes her mark
Sarah Holten, 28, won second place and $3000 with an ink-on-paper drawing titled Serious Strokes.
Sarah is a Māori mixed media artist living with Rett syndrome whose work is grounded in expressive mark-making techniques. Having very limited use of her hands, Sarah employs a range of techniques, including a head pointer, to create her work.
The head pointer gives Sarah freedom of movement to create sweeping marks of expression, and mood. Sarah is also skilled at making purposefully delicate marking details by hand. These are always unique to her particular range of movement.
Passion for music
A passion for music is proving inspirational and successful for Te Kuiti artist Emma White. This year the 40-year-old artist won third prize and $2000 for her acrylic painting Portrait of Lorde. In 2021 she also won third prize for her Portrait of Amy Winehouse.
She researches the musicians online, downloads their photographs and then paints their portraits. Her works have included Lady Gaga and Prince. Emma says she found painting Lorde’s portrait “quite tricky … because of lots of layers and colours in the hair”.
Emma learns all the lyrics of her favourite artists. “We can be driving along, and she will know all the songs,” says her mum Diana White. She travels to Hamilton each week and spends Wednesdays and Thursdays doing art at the IDEA Services Sandz Gallery.
Double win for youngest artist
Helena Brocklebank from Kāpiti might be the youngest of the Art Awards winners but has come away with two prizes. The Paraparaumu College student won the $2000 L’affare People’s Choice Award in online voting for her cartoon-style pencil drawing Angry. The work also won the Youth Award and a further $1500.
Helena, 13, spends many hours a week on her art. “At college I sketch. At home I do mainly digital art, using ibisPaint.”
She says a lot of her work is cartoon style and, while she mainly uses pencil, she would like to learn to paint. Helena is hoping for a career that involves art. “I am still thinking about what I want to be. I think I want to be a storyboard artist or maybe something to do with animation.”
The IHC Art Awards, supported by major sponsor The Holdsworth Charitable Trust and L’affare, has been running since 2004. Previous winners have gone on to exhibit their work throughout Aotearoa and overseas.
Art Awards Ambassador and IHC New Zealand Patron Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet paid tribute to the families, art tutors and support staff for encouraging artists, and to the artists for the brilliance and versatility on display.
Caption 1: IHC Art Awards winner Mark Warner at work on a new drawing at Hōhepa Auckland.
Caption 2: Mark’s winning work Meeting.
Caption 3: Sarah Holten, Serious Strokes - second place winner.
Caption 4: Emma White, Portrait of Lorde - third place winner.
Caption 5: Helena Brocklebank, Angry - winner of the L’affare People’s Choice Award and Youth Award.
This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.
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