A Taranaki artist has swapped paint for pixels and paintbrushes for a tablet and stylus.
Murray Hill is showcasing Gnu and planet Gnoo at the Fenton Street Art Collective this month. The exhibition features 13 pieces of art work created using a virtual studio.
"I work in a virtual digital studio mediated by Photoshop. Instead of a canvas I use the Wacom tablet which is connected to a computer. Everything you use in a painting studio is available on Photoshop."
The 13 art pieces will be laid out in a sequence, following the narrative of the first chapter of a graphic novel he is working on.
The story line of the novel is inspired from a conversation he had with his step-daughter Nuutea, 20.
"My step-daughter Nuutea and I came up with the idea of the novel a couple of years ago. The story follows Nuutea who crashes on an alien planet inhabited by Gnoos. She is rescued by these creatures.
"At the start the planet appears to be a vast desert but once she goes through an initiation and becomes Gnu, she can see the beauty of the planet."
He says the story symbolises how people need to see Earth's beauty.
"We need to fund new ways to see our wonderful Earth. Like Gnu, we need a fresh way to look at things and acknowledge how beautiful the world is."
Murray says he has been interested in art all his life.
"My mother was an art teacher so I've been drawing and paining my whole life. I made the change to digital because I had a change of lifestyle. Having a paint studio takes up a lot of room, but a digital one only has the basic set of gear."
He says as well as taking up less space, there are a number of other benefits in a digital studio.
"There's a lot of advantages for creative people. The art is instantaneous as you don't need to wait for it to dry and scaling the size of things is much easier. It is not as difficult to make something bigger or smaller."
Murray says creatively speaking, the level 4 lockdown gave him the time he needed.
"Although we had the idea years ago, I never had the time. Lockdown gave me the time I needed because graphic art was a new way of drawing for me so I had to learn how to do it. Graphic art is different to painting pieces."
The works will be displayed using high quality prints with archival papers and inks.
"These are designed to go in a gallery. Derek's Darkroom in New Plymouth are developing the prints for me."
Although this isn't his first exhibition, Murray says it is the first time his exhibition will feature graphic art.
"I'm really enjoying it. There's a real discipline to it. When working on the pieces, you are reliant on the hand-drawn line."
■ The exhibition runs until September 10 at the Fenton Street Art Collective.