30 August 2016

The Bushman's Son

Grey Lynn portrait artist Terry Fergusson captures the many aspects of human emotion in a raw and unrehearsed manner. His portraits are successful in that they remind the viewer of what it is to be human.


share

He aha te mea nui o tenei ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata…What is the most important thing in this world? The people, the people, the people…

This significant Maori proverb encapsulates the spirit embedded in the works of Grey Lynn portrait artist Terry Fergusson. Through his creative practice Fergusson connects to people in a deeper sense; his works pay respect to his tipuna (ancestors) and they capture many aspects of human emotion in a raw and unrehearsed manner. They are successful in that they remind the viewer of what it is to be human.

The youngest of six, Terry Fergusson was born in Tokoroa, Aotearoa where his dad worked as a bushman. Although Tokoroa was his birthplace, the Fergusson name has ties that whakapapa (lineage) directly to Nga Puhi in the Whirinaki Valley located in the heart of South Hokianga. This is where Fergusson’s tipuna now rest; it’s this deep set connection that Fergusson says is at the heart of what he does creatively.

Terry Fergusson connects with 'Papa' a portrait of his Papa and 'Strength' a portrait of Papa's mother, Elizabeth Leaf of Hokianga.

Terry Fergusson connects with 'Papa' a portrait of his Papa and 'Strength' a portrait of Papa's mother, Elizabeth Leaf of Hokianga.

We see this connection deeply embodied in the portrait of his Papa (Fergusson’s great grandfather) and the portrait of Papa’s mother (Fergusson’s great great grandmother) Elizabeth Leaf of Hokianga. It is these faces of the past that are a living link to Fergusson’s tipuna, of their interesting lives and all they stood for. “After all,’ says Fergusson, “without them I wouldn't exist. Kia mau ki to Maoritanga!” (Hold fast to your culture!)

"I believe portraiture captures emotion perfectly and I love to direct it in such a way that people feel that emotion leap off the canvas at them!”

Fergusson always pursues themes that evoke raw emotion. “My early works were very dark and moody,” he says, “however over time I have lent toward using more colour to show stronger even happier human responses; a good mixture of both really.

Just how did Fergusson get started on this creative journey? The real motivation came from visually capturing members of his family, living or deceased, and reproducing these images through mixed media, using photography and paint. He always starts with a photographic base and he will either use an existing older image or he will take his own photographs. He then manipulates the image to the look and feel he wants and then on canvas he paints it out. Using this mix of mediums allows him creative licence without losing the spiritual essence of the subject.

A collection of Terry's more colourful works.

A collection of Terry's more colourful works.

“Right from my very first pieces I sought feedback from friends and family,” he explains, “and their comments encouraged me to push forward, to experiment and further develop my practice.  I realised that while working on these early pieces I had found a style and creative technique that was uniquely mine. The results are lifelike and fascinating and each piece I complete excites me; it’s what keeps me moving forward to create the next!”

Pop Art has always fascinated me, so I guess one could say that I'm inspired by the works of Andy Warhol and those of Freda Kahlo. I simply love the way Kahlo used self portraits to reveal her emotion, pain and happiness. I'd like to think I'm a bit of a mixture of both of these exciting artists.”

Fergusson has had his fair share of memorable responses to his works. He recalls his first exhibition opening. “It was mind-blowing, not only was the gallery completely full but the positive responses to the works hanging on the walls and of course the sales that followed… well I can only describe the experience as surreal.

Earlier this year Fergusson won People's Choice Award at The Adam Portrait Awards held at the National Portrait Gallery in Wellington. It was the beautifully rendered and touching portrait of his parents titled ‘Still Mine’ that afforded him this award.  Now Fergusson is working on a new body of works, again he is using his own photographic imagery as well as reproducing some older images of lost generations from his family’s past. These latest works are poised to reveal yet a different set of emotions! This is exciting stuff for the artist and ultimately for the viewer.

'Still Mine' People's Choice Award at The Adam Portrait Awards, National Portrait Gallery in Wellington.

'Still Mine' People's Choice Award at The Adam Portrait Awards, National Portrait Gallery in Wellington.

With a long advertising and media career under his belt, Fergusson understands the power of advertising and how it builds brand awareness. This has greatly influenced the way he works his career as an exhibiting artist.  “Advertising is about creating an image or painting a mind picture, one that transmits an emotive message to influence and shape a response,” says Fergusson, “so I guess through my work I have the knowledge and capacity to not only create art, but to also create the brand behind it ‘THE BUSHMANS SON.’

When it comes to setting long term goals, Fergusson has aspirations to have his brand so well known that he will be invited to exhibit internationally! In the meantime he continues to work from his Grey Lynn studio and soaks up creative stimulation from this lively and vibrant location.

“Ponsonby and Grey Lynn are filled with an amazing mix of people, it's different every day. The cafes, eateries and shopping attract all walks of life and I love to just sit and watch.

Fergusson believes art inspires people and it plays an important role at home, at work or wherever we are. “The fact that we can purchase pieces and take them home to hang on our walls is fantastic as these chosen pieces become part of who we are, as well as an investment. What is even more exciting is that the art market is always changing, much as fashion does and this is what gives it life and diversity... thank goodness otherwise we'd be surrounded by a lot of old masters and tired looking landscapes.”

Self Portrait at Exhibitions Gallery, Newmarket.

Self Portrait at Exhibitions Gallery, Newmarket.

“I see my role as an artist as definitely having a positive influence within a community. A local artist can reflect life within that community and solidify and capture its existence as a snapshot through its buildings, its moods and its people. 

So if you are out and about in Ponsonby or Grey Lynn having coffee or a glass of wine and you see this man Terry Fergusson, aka The Bushman’s Son, it would be fairly safe to say he is out there connecting with the people and their surrounds and drawing inspiration for future works of art.

As Fergusson puts it… “It is people that inspire me!”

 

 

share

Return to blog

More recent posts

7 February 2018

Dynamic Duo


Two top performers join the burgeoning team at Ray White Mt Albert, bringing with them a wealth of experience and a refreshing and positive attitude to real estate sales.

More
2 November 2017

Vintage Fix


Long gone the tarnish of second hand in a one stop shop department store that celebrates timeless quality and the notion of recycling.

More
19 October 2017

A Natural Progression


With the full support of Ray White Damerell Group, its neighbour Ray White Mt Albert is in now in a great position to take advantage of the expected growth in this burgeoning suburb.

More
24 July 2017

June Market Wrap


Although there’s been a decline in the number of properties for sale this month, this has led to stiffer competition for buyers and a slight increase in the median price.

More
20 July 2017

Change Maker


Hell-bent on realising the full potential of Auckland’s Unitary Plan, energetic Generation Zero hustler Leroy Beckett discusses the group’s latest agenda.

More
6 July 2017

Modern Twist


With more than thirty houses to his name, Cameron Ireland can reasonably call himself a specialist in the art of converting small, draughty villas into edgy family homes.

More
30 June 2017

Compliance & Contracts


From listing through to settlement, Tom Horrocks makes sure that we do our absolute best to protect the legal interests of both buyers and sellers.

More
29 June 2017

Over the bridge and far away…


After a long week in the office, head to Birkenhead and start the weekend with one of many energising walks.

More
22 June 2017

Thoroughly Eco


An innovative and inspiring energy-efficient home shows the many ways we can go green in the city for all sorts of benefits.

More

Contact Us

Are you interested in knowing more about one of these articles? Please fill out the form below to get in contact with us.