Kathy Cunningham, Adrian Hailwood, Hamish McDoaull, Billy Apple and Sarah Williams

Kathy Cunningham, Adrian Hailwood, Whanganui mayor Hamish McDoaull, Billy Apple and Sarah Williams

More than 80 pieces of art were entered in the competition to be on the cover of next year’s Artists Open Studios publication. Judges Billy Apple and Adrian Hailwood chose Amy Fitzgerald’s embroidered piece, William, from a pool of twelve finalists at an event at New Zealand Glassworks.

Here are some takes on  the winning piece.

New Zealand pop and conceptual artist Billy Apple:

It’s an incredible work in embroidery. What I said last night is it’s someone learning to ride a bike. Three wheels, then you go to two wheels – so it’s quite a nostalgic photo. There’s pictures of myself when I was a kid in a peddle car and I’m sure every family has a picture of a kid in pram or something. It’s an iconic sort of thing. But what I liked about it is in terms of a printed publication about things that are happening in Whanganui, and remembering Whanganui’s famous for its Boxing Day Cemetery Circuit motorcycle race, there he is in training. That’s what did it for me. The references are all there. It’s Whanganui.

Continued below.

William by Amy Fitzgerald

William by Amy Fitzgerald

Artists Open Studio coordinator Sarah Williams:

What we really wanted was that a piece of art to be on the front cover, but for it not to just be a pretty picture to market the event but something that had substantial conceptual content to it as well. And the winner’s actually quite a perfect mix of fine art and some of the other mediums that feature in the event. I’m pleased with the winner they’ve picked. It covers all bases and it’s really strong. It’s an iconic image that a lot of people can relate to their own childhood or their own children growing up. The texture’s going to be really nice in terms of an overall background.

Amy Fitzgerald – the artist: 

It’s a portrait of my son. Basically, as a mother who wants to create art you don’t want your children getting into your paint so you find a medium that you can shove under the couch and sit and care for your children while you potter away on it. So, I supposed it’s got a lot to do with being domesticated. I work from my own photography and put them into a computer and turn it in to a grid and then start to stitch it. I think it’s quite nostalgic and I think it’s something that people can relate to. That type of bicycle I think all of our toddlers have had. It’s one of those red, yellow plastic ones.

Whanganui Events Trust chief executive Kathy Cunningham:

When Sarah and I started talking about how we wanted to position Artists Open Studios in Whanganui we both agreed immediately and have been unanimous on making sure the art is the hero, art is the focus and the reason why this event exists. It’s essential and important to have a piece of art on the cover. I am excited about this piece being a textured textile almost. Every piece of art is hand crafted but this is just something from my perspective, because I’m not an artist, that is unexpected. It’s absolutely beautiful.