20 Oct 2016

A celebration of amateur art

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:40 pm on 20 October 2016

Like many people, Amelia Harris loves op-shopping for treasures. She spent the past year scouring North Island op shops for amateur art works for a collection now on show in Auckland.

Click here for the full-size gallery

In Amelia’s view, 'amateur art' is made either purely for the love of it and/or by someone “a bit inept”. What amateur artists specialise in, she says, is the depiction of pure joy.

And the feeling seems to be contagious.

“I think that joy the people are getting is a testament to the work of these amateur artists and a little bit of my scrubbing-up work.”

Amelia's has always had an eye for original art in op shops (the most she'll pay is around $14). When the works started piling up in her hallway she realised a collection was developing. It was then time to work out the names, titles and descriptions, but in many cases she got nowhere.

This gave the self-described “detective-cum-art historian-cum-philosopher-cum-artist” a degree of curatorial freedom she describes as a "total luxury".

"I would take each of them as a little mystery and try to figure it out."

Next up, Amelia is thinking about seeing what the South Island op shops have to offer.

Amelia’s exhibition 'Amateur Love' is at Depot ArtSpace until 2 November.