A documentary with Napier connections, showing at the New Zealand International Film Festival tonight, details the life and works of one of New Zealand's most "underrated" artists.
Sculptor and collage artist Don Driver and the documentary's director Paul Judge attended high school in Hawke's Bay, but it was not until both ended up in New Plymouth, that their paths crossed.
"He was originally born in Hastings and lived in Napier until he was 14, I'm a Napier person, I went to Colenso College for most of my formative years," Mr Judge said.
"The origin of the story is that I became aware of his work thanks to an art teacher at New Plymouth School, were I spent half a year; [Driver] was an important artist working in the pop medium at the time."
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Touted as the country's foremost assemblage sculptor and collage artist, Mr Driver drew on the visual richness of his rural "gothic" environment, while incorporating sophistication of modernist movements in international art.
Although he passed away in 2011, his work continues to be displayed in major galleries and collections throughout New Zealand and is sought after by international collectors.
Through his film studies, Mr Judge was given an opportunity to meet and document the story of this colourful character.
"I got a small grant in 1998/1999, so I was able to get a lot of footage, which I sat on for a long time. I gradually added to the material, I never intended to be the one to make a biopic on Don, but no one was doing it and I had all this material from 1999, when I had incredible access to him in his studio, so that is the basis for the film."
Pulling all the archive files he could find on Mr Driver, he set about forming a comprehensive timeline, from early works to late works and everything in between. He called the finished project Don Driver: Magician.
"I pieced together a narrative on his debut as an artist, essentially it's an historical art narrative to do justice to the value of his work. He's a major figure but I think that he was not appreciated as someone like, say, Ralph Hotere, so hopefully this film addresses that."
Don Driver: Magician is screening at Napier's MTG Century Theatre at 6.15pm tonight. Tickets available from Ticketek.