Friends of Te Papa’s visit to Jack Trolove’s busy paint-splattered studio in the old Officers’ Mess at the former Shelly Bay Air Force Base was a feast for the eyes, and a morning of laughter and delight. Friends were privileged to be invited into Jack’s studio as he prepares for a big opening as Whitespace Gallery’s featured artist at the Auckland Art Fair opening on May 23 at the Cloud on Queen’s Wharf in Auckland.

With self-effacing humour, the ebullient Jack regaled us with many tales, including how he established his remarkable style portraying huge close-up faces, which usually start with the “scaffold” of a real person, but which evolve into depictions of moods and emotions. He uses layers of oil paint to create three dimensional textures – almost sculptures on canvas. It took him a long time to create his technique of bringing his paintings to life, and his epiphany occurred when, after much frustration, he angrily flung a glob of paint at the painting which was the cause of his immediate distress and promptly left the studio. Once composed, he returned to the studio to discover the extraordinary result of his creative meltdown – a beautiful depiction of the emotion he had been trying so hard to evoke. Thus was born Jack’s technique of layering on paint with large palette knives, mixing colours on the canvas, and creating vivid, raw emotional portrayals. He uses such an amount of paint on his canvases that it takes between 2 and 20 years for the paintings to completely dry.

All those who attended what amounted to our own private vernissage expect to hear more about this talented young artist as his career continues to unfold.

Text and photo Kathleen Willis, Committee

Feature image: L-R,  Jack Trolove, Derek Kane, Frances Kane, Susi Lang, Ann Trotter and Anna Williams