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Signing off . . . Timaru artist Raymond Bransgrove settles down to sign some of the prints he will exhibit at the South Canterbury Art Society's annual exhibition and awards. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

Timaru’s Raymond Bransgrove is a busy dad, polytechnic tutor and freelance designer, but when time allows, he loves being able to do his art.

So the invitation to be one of three guest artists at this year’s South Canterbury Art Society exhibition provided him with the impetus to carve out some time and crank up the press to create a series of prints for the event.

Mr Bransgrove began his career as a photographer, then moved into video and design, and became an art director for a local newspaper.

He built up a client base and now runs a small freelance business from home with a few loyal clients, and this year has begun teaching at Ara in Timaru.

“I’m very passionate about design, I love it and enjoy it very much. But as time allows, I definitely love doing my art.”

His prints are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, with titles that play on words, and include some social commentary – he likes to make people think.

He begins with an idea, comes up with the graphics, and then comes the task of producing it from hand-cut woodcut and linocut.

“Then you ink up everything, put it through the press, peel the paper off and see what you have got. It can be incredibly frustrating, because it’s all hand-done, and you’ve got to take your time.”

Mr Bransgrove said that while the limited edition prints must be accurate, they are not computer-created so there is always some variation.

“I like that. It brings in the human aspect. Every print is not exactly the same, you will find a slight variation, and there’s the hand of the artist.”

Mr Bransgrove has entered the South Canterbury awards a number of times, exhibited in Geraldine, and was part of an exhibition of polytechnic tutors a few years ago. He has also won the Telecom Art Awards, which had winning artworks gracing the cover of local phone directories.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be invited to be a guest artist. I’m just really happy if people like my prints and get to take them away. That’s the thrill.”

Mr Bransgrove said a goal for the future was to focus on entering some of the national art awards, and perhaps hold an exhibition of his own.

The 67th Alpine Energy Art Awards and annual exhibition will open tomorrow at the Aigantighe Gallery.

68 entrants, exhibiting 177 pieces of work in the categories 3-D, oil/acrylic, watercolour, mixed media/works on paper, and miniatures.

The show features three guest artists, all of whom have links to Timaru.

As well as Mr Bransgrove, they are Judy Newton, of Greenheart jewellery, and Gus Leen, a design student specialising in lighting and design. The exhibition runs for two weeks, closing on Sunday, November 10.