Whanganui artist Brit Bunkley is heading for Paris this weekend to show his work at an international festival.

Best known for his three-dimensional work, Bunkley created the Hear My Train a-Comin' brick sculpture that sits on the Whanganui riverbank behind Taupo Quay.

However, the Paris festival - Les Rencontres Internationales - is all about film, and the artist is delighted to have his video Oil Petals (Pillar of Cloud) selected for inclusion at the festival this year.

A still from the film that earned Brit Bunkley a sought-after place at a French film festival.
A still from the film that earned Brit Bunkley a sought-after place at a French film festival.

"Last year such notables in the art world such as Ryan Trecartin screened at the festival and I haven't been selected for five years - when my video screened at the Pompidou Centre in 2010 - so I'm excited about his one.


"They are also helping to fund my trip to Paris this time around."

Oil Petals was shot while Bunkley was a resident artist in Los Angeles during August and September last year.

"Although I am from New York and spent many years living there before immigrating to New Zealand in 1995, I had never spent time in Los Angeles," he said.

Bunkley said he explored the "utopian and dystopian" architecture and landscapes that he saw there and the video was the result of him chasing dust devils around the hot desert valleys.

"There were abandoned towns, gas stations and oil pumpjacks and I had the idea to throw flower petals into the swirling dust and film the results."

He did not manage to capture the tall, swirling columns of petals he had hoped for as the dust devils were too small and too quick to achieve the desired effect. "I imagined spilling flower petals into the path of a dust devil so that it would create a colorful vortex of swirling petals."

The images that he managed to capture were impressive enough to earn him a place at the prestigious art video-film festival and he leaves for Paris on Sunday.