Friday 10 April 2015

Robert Ellis and Billy Apple

Robert Ellis visited the Gallery this week to view Billy Apple's exhibition The Artist Has To Live Like Everybody Else for the first time. I had earlier gone on a tour of the show with Billy where he told me about the genesis of many of the artworks. The public enjoyed meeting him as we were walking through.

During the mid 1950s, Billy attended night classes at Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts on Great North Road. In 1958, he met senior lecturer Robert Ellis and they put together an art portfolio of Billy's figurative drawings and design work which was then submitted with Robert's support to London's Royal College of Art.

In September 1959 Billy started the College's graduate Diploma course in graphic design. He was assisted by a New Zealand government bursary under the aegis of the National Art Gallery, Wellington.

During the last year we hosted Robert Ellis' Turangawaewae exhibition, which coincided with the publication of a major monograph on his work.

For a superb and long-time selection of artist photographic portraits I recommend those taken by Jim Barr and Mary Barr on their Over the Net Studio site. They have made freely available one of the best sources for artist portraits in New Zealand.

– Ron Brownson, Senior Curator, New Zealand and Pacific Art

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